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They're not mad scientists, but they are science fair winners

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By Jesef Williams

Thedangerspeoplefacefromcigarettesmokehavebeenlongpublicized.Buthowharmfularecigarettestoplants?Onestudent’scuriosityaboutthosedangersresultedinatopfinishintheLancasterCountySchoolDistrictsciencefairlastweek.NorthElementarySchool’sHunterFunderburkwonfirstplaceamongallthird-gradeentriesatThursday’sdistrictwidefair,heldattheBradleyArtsandSciencesBuildingattheUniversityofSouthCarolinaatLancaster.Therewerealsofirst-placewinnersinfourothergrades.TheyincludedNorthElementaryfourth-graderKatePetit,McDonaldGreenElementaryfifth-graderTaylorJoyce,SouthMiddlesixth-graderHannahKnightandAndrewJacksonHigh10th-graderCarolineHowey.Thoseprojectswereamongnearly50ondisplay.USCLprofessorsjudgedtheentries.“Thisisagreatopportunityforstudentstobepraisedandacknowledgedfortheiraccomplishments,”saidDonnaParsons,aschooldistrictinstructionalspecialistwhohelpedorganizethefair.“We’reveryproudofalltheparticipants.” Thefirst-placewinnerseachgota$50giftcard.Thosewhofinishedsecondgota$25giftcard,andthird-pacewinnerseachgota$10giftcard.Eachstudentwhoplacedalsogotamedalwitharibbon.Allparticipantsreceivedabutton.Funderburksaidhedecidedtodohisprojectoncigarettesmokewhenthinkingaboutthenumberofpeoplewhodiebecauseofsmoke-relatedillnesses.Hewonderedwhateffectitwouldhaveonplants.Hetooktwoidenticalcontainersandplantedthesamethreeplantsineachofthem.Oneofthecontainerswasexposedtoalitcigaretteforabout20minutesadayfor10days.Attheendoftheexperiment,theplantsexposedtothesmokedevelopedbrownspotsandbegantowitheraway.“Sincepeoplearegettingsickfromcigarettes,Iwaswonderingifplantswould,too,”hesaid.FunderburkandKnight,whodidherprojectonsoilerosion,alsotookhomehonorsinaseparatejudgingconductedbytheLancasterSoil&WaterConservationDistrict.Thedistricthandedoutawardstothetopelementaryandmiddleschoolstudentswhohadprojectsrelatedtonaturalresources.Knightchoseherprojecttopicafternoticingthedifferentkindsofsoilfoundinnearbyditches.Shetestedfourtypesofsoilstodeterminewhichwouldhavethemostrunoff.Knightknewtherewasachanceseecouldwinintheregularjudging,butshehadnoideaabouttheconservationdistrictawards.“Iwasn’texpectingthis,”shesaid.CarolineHowey,asophomoreatAndrewJacksonHighSchool,wasthelonehighschoolstudenttoplaceatThursday’ssciencefair.Shewonfirstplaceforherprojectthattestedtheeffectsofcertainbrandsoforangejuiceonbloodsugar.Theassignmentwasquitepersonal,asherfather,RobertHowey,sportseditoratTheLancasterNews,isadiabetic,andwasthesubjectoftheexperiment.Afterhemeasuredhisglucoseleveleachday,hedrankabrandoforangejuiceandthenmeasuredhisbloodsugar20minuteslater.Hedrankfourdifferentbrandsoforangejuiceduringtheexperiment,andeachwasconsumedonceeveryfourdays.TropicanaLightandHealthyprovedtobethehealthiest.“Iwastryingtofindsomethingtomakehimmorehealthy,”Howeysaid.“NowIknowwhat’sgoodforhimtodrink.”

CompleteresultsHerearealltheresultsfromtheLancasterCountySchoolDistrictsciencefair.Thedistrictwidefairwasopentostudentsingradesthreethrough12.Ifagradeisn’tlisted,itmeansthatgradehadnoentries.

THIRDGRADE-Firstplace:HunterFunderburk,NorthElementary,Doescigarettesmokeaffecthouseplants?-Secondplace:SavannahHayes,KershawElementary,Youngandsoft-Thirdplace:LakoriaMcIlwain,NorthElementary,Whatcolorwillyouget?FOURTHGRADE-Firstplace:KatePetit,NorthElementary,Brainpop:Boysvs.girls-Secondplace:JordanReeves,ClintonElementary–Whatgumblowsthebiggestbubbles?-Thirdplace:ToddGreen,NorthElementary,Ohman!Noumbrella!FIFTHGRADE-Firstplace:TaylorJoyce,McDonaldGreenElementary,Howmuchwaterwillwoodabsorb?-Secondplace:JoshGregory,McDonaldGreenElementary–Canwaterbesupercooled?-Thirdplace:DavidJewell,NorthElementary–Whichtypeofbandagesticksbestwhenwet?SIXTHGRADE-Firstplace:HannahKnight,SouthMiddle,Soil...Standingitsground-Secondplace:DarbyNoblitt,IndianLandMiddle,Isitcleanordirty?-Thirdplace:EffieSpears,A.R.RuckerMiddle–Relief..FastSEVENTHGRADE(Nofirstplace)-Secondplace:KededraStrain,SouthMiddle,Takeittothelimit(Nothirdplace)10thGRADEFirstplace:CarolineHowey,AndrewJacksonHigh–TheeffectofOJonbloodsugar(Nosecondplace)(Nothirdplace)

TheLancasterSoil&WaterConservationDistrictalsohandedoutawardsThursdayforthetopprojectsthatdealtwithnaturalresources.Winnerswerechosenamongtwogroups–elementaryandmiddleschoolentries.THIRD-THROUGHFIFTH-GRADE-Firstplace:KerriganMullis,Whichtypeofwateristhebestforgrowingplants?-Secondplace:HunterFunderburk–Doescigarettesmokeaffecthouseplants?-Thirdplace:TaylorJoyce–Howmuchwaterwillwoodabsorb?SIXTH-THROUGHEIGHTH-GRADE-Firstplace:HannahKnight–Soil...Standingitsground-Secondplace:AdamWhetson–Whatmaterialswillbestcleanoil?*Nothird-placeaward

ContactJesefWilliamsat283-1152orjwilliams@thelancasternews.com