Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 15, 2013

Science fair projects run gamut from serious to light-hearted

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Just because a science experiment didn’t work out, because your bread didn’t grow mold, or your fingerprints don’t prove inherited whorls, doesn’t mean you didn’t learn.

That was the conclusion drawn by a handful of students at the Drane Science Fair, some of whom came in with “inconclusive” results in their various projects, while others had surprising results showing everything from what food cockroaches prefer for snacks, to whether or not dogs have a dominant paw.

Hailee Ferguson may have had the shortest list of supplies of any of the 69 entrants. Her list consisted of five dogs, 10 treats.

“I have lots of experience with dogs, and I wanted to get to know my dog better,” she explained. She did experiments with the borrowed “test subjects” belonging to family and friends. The work consisted of shaking hands with the dogs, and watching which paw comes first in stepping out. The result? Most dogs are right-pawed.

Whitney Green, on the other hand, couldn’t get the same cooperation from various loaves of bread that refused to grow mold, even though she tried it two different times in two different atmospheres. Thirty-seven days without mold, and the results of her hypothesis that wheat bread would turn green first were “inconclusive.” Green chalked it up to a low temperature in the house and preservatives in the bread.

Lauren Smith used a glucose monitor to show that junk food isn’t good for you, while Sam Guffey showed what kinds of things can inhibit oxidation (browning) of apples.

Devan Lindsey’s project was to determine which kind of baseball bat —aluminum, wood or composite — would hit a ball farthest. It was tough work, hitting balls with a friend until he’d hit three balls with each of the bats, but he made the sacrifice for  science.

“I thought it would be funner and easier,” Lindsey said honestly.

Ashlee Wafer’s mom hates cockroaches, but Ashlee didn’t cringe from her project to prove that cockroaches prefer junk food to health food. Except, the 15 hissing Madagascar cockroaches who were provided by the science department for the project preferred lettuce over potato chips.

“I’ve always been interested in bugs,” Ashlee said, pointing to a photo of a giant bug on a finger. “That’s me, holding one of them.”

The awards ceremony for the Drane Intermediate School Science Fair will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, at which point the parents will have a chance to view all the projects. The top students in the fair will travel to Waco for regional competition, and any students who succeed there will go onto state competition in San Antonio.

    —————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com