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Young scientists compete at Mount Carmel Elementary

March 13th, 2009 12:00 am by Jeff Bobo

    MOUNT CARMEL — Dillon Kenkel didn’t take home a blue ribbon from Thursday’s Mount Carmel Elementary Science Fair, but thanks to his project, the environment may be the big winner.

    The Mount Carmel Elementary School fifth-grader focused his science project on recycling. To simulate a landfill, he buried various common garbage items in a planter for 35 days including a can, a glass bottle, plastic and newspaper to demonstrate how long it takes for these items to decompose.


 


Kenkel said he and his family didn’t recycle prior to his experiment. Having looked at the data, however, he said they are now on the recycling bandwagon.

    Mount Carmel Elementary hosted its 17th annual science fair Thursday afternoon in the school cafeteria.

    It was good practice for Mount Carmel students because when they graduate from fifth grade and begin attending Church Hill Middle School, participation in the science fair will be mandatory for all three years of middle school.

    Participation in the Mount Carmel Elementary Science Fair is voluntary, and this year there were 49 projects total. Computer lab teacher Teli Marshall noted that the participation was down a little this year due to the flu, but those who did compete came up with some interesting experiments.


 



 


    For example, third-grader Addison Byrd discovered that like most people, flowers prefer a cold drink of water over a drink of warm water. She placed one flower in cold water dyed red, and another in warm water dyed green.

    Petals from the cold water flower had turned red, while the warm water flower only had the slightest hint of green.

    Fifth-grader Marshall Overbey won the blue ribbon for the fourth- and fifth-grade age group with his project, which likely would have given the middleschoolers a run for their money. Overbey’s experiment was titled “Riding on Air” and involved the construction of three differently shaped hovercrafts.

    Using a leaf blower to propel the crafts, Overbey learned that a square hovercraft will fly better than a round hovercraft. The worst shape for a hovercraft, however, is a triangle.

    The fair was judged by volunteers from Eastman Chemical Co., with awards given in three age groups.

    “For kindergartners and firstgraders, the judges want the children to be able to explain what they’ve done, and they’ll ask them some questions and see if they did it or if someone else did it,” Marshall said. “In second and third grade, they want them to be able to explain their projects, and in fourth and fifth grade they expect them to be able to tell them beginning to end.”

    Winners Thursday were:
   
• Kindergarten and first grade: Winner Nicole Carvagno; second place Laken Greene; third place Quinn Brooks; and honorable mention Zoe Bartles.

    • Second and third grade: Winner Abby Hensley; second place Emily Maples; third place Tre Mullins; and honorable mention Aaron Gilliam.
   
• Fourth and fifth grade: Winner Marshall Overbey; second place Logan Markham; third place Rebecca Barkley; and honorable mention Sydney Ross.

• Best of Show went to fifthgrader Tony Carvagno.

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