Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TOP STORY >> Science winners impress judges

Leader staff writer

The fifth-grade science fair winner, who also won first place honors as a third grader and a fourth grader, so impressed one of the judges, an engineer from First Electric, that he offered the 11-year-old a summer internship.

That was an added bonus for Madison Holmes to go with the blue ribbon, a $15 gift card and a chance to compete in the regional science fair at the University of Arkansas Little Rock come Feb. 24.

In fact, all the fourth- and fifth-grade winners from the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District’s first science fair will advance to regionals.

Nearly 90 science fair projects, the best from each of the district’s elementary schools, filled two meeting rooms in the Jacksonville Community Center on Thursday. Students test the size of bubble-gum bubbles, the taste of bubble gum, stained teeth, the effects of music on memory, rainbow colors, candy canes, the amount of iron in cereal and delved into what in taco sauce makes it such a good penny cleaner.

The young student scientists stood by their projects that morning as judges came by, rated the experiments, the presentations and peppered the students with questions, testing their science knowledge and vocabulary.

Later that evening the winners were announced in front of a crowd of parents, students and well-wishers.

So what was this project by fifth-grader Madison that impressed the judges so much? It was called “The Heat Beneath Our Feet” and tested the distribution and power of energy. Madison said she came by the idea through the Internet. “I found a website that gave you a survey and then matched up science projects based on what you like,” she said. Her answers gave her a number of choices. “This is the one I liked the best.”

Her question that she was seeking an answer to was about how energy was affected by the number of holes or outlets in the foil cover of her energy generator. “I was surprised by the amount of power there was with just one hole. When she placed her geothermal plant on top of it, it took two friends to hold it down.”

When not winning science awards, the honor roll student enjoys art and music. “I like a mix of music,” she said.

The top fourth-grade project also came from Bayou Meto, which netted seven awards in the contest. Fourth-grader Payton Nicholson looked at plant food. “I wanted to see what did best, store-bought food, homemade food or no food at all,” said the young softball player. It turned out the store-bought beat out the homemade concoctions and no plant food at all did not blossom into a good method.

The winners were:

At the kindergarten level, first place went to Lisa Nash’s Arnold Drive Elementary class. Second place went to Paige Dearie’s Pinewood Elementary class.

In first grade, the blue ribbon went to Jamie Platt’s Murrell Taylor Elementary class and the red ribbon went to Kylee Robinson’s Arnold Drive class.

The first place prize in second grade went to the team of Sierra McChristian, Leo Brandt and Cylan Bryles from Bayou Meto Elementary.

Another Bayou Meto team – Annabel Dove, Jackson Hall, Maddison Johnson and Lionel Haynes won second. Both had Rhonda Pool as their teacher.

At the third-grade level, Delores Meadows from Warren Dupree placed first. Delancy Wilkins from Bayou Meto took second. Mariah Gipson from Tolleson garnered third, and Carson Schmeizer from Bayou Meto took home an honorable mention.

Among the fourth-grade competitors, Payton Nicholson from Bayou Meto garnered the top prize. Ethan Dixon from Pinewood was second, Savannah Minor from Tolleson was third and Averill O’Neal also from Tolleson received honorable mention.

The top prize in fifth grade went to Madison Holmes from Bayou Meto. Lanna Rogers from Arnold Drive took second place. Amelia James from Bayou Meto was third, and Devin Skelton from Warren Dupree received an honorable mention.