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Students and science shine at annual competition


Students and science shine at annual Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Some of Gaston County Schools’ best scientists are headed to the regional science fair.

These students took the opportunity to present their research at the 11th annual Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair, which was held January 4-5 at the Schiele Museum, to qualify for the regional fair at UNC-Charlotte.

The two-day event put the spotlight on experiments from each school level (elementary, middle, and high).  Scientists in grades 3-12 got the opportunity to present their projects to a panel of judges. Each project was displayed on poster boards that stated the hypothesis, research, details of the experiment, the results, and conclusion.  The students also took the time to explain their projects in detail to the judges during a question-and-answer session.

In the elementary division, students were able to compete for the title of overall winner with first-, second-, and third-runner-up positions as well as honorable mentions.  One team was also recognized as the Schiele Steward of the Earth. The overall winner in elementary division was Abigail Stephens from Hawks Nest STEAM Academy. Her presentation was on natural dyes.

East Gaston High School students Hannah Murrow and Kennedy Ballard were the overall high school winners for their “Effectiveness of Dog Toothpaste On Bacteria in a Dog’s Mouth” project.  Other high school projects included athletes testing hypothesis to help them learn more about their sports.

Casey Owenby and Caroline Hill, both seniors and golfers at Forestview High School, tested the effects of temperature on different types of golf balls. Ben Harris and Jackson Harbin, also students at Forestview, tested how a corked bat performed differently than a regular bat.

Belmont Middle School student Avery Davis was named the overall middle school winner for her project, “How Sweet is Your Tooth?”  Davis analyzed the sensitivity of taste buds to sugar and salt as people aged, a project similar to one her mom conducted when she was a student.  Davis found that the older people are, the weaker their taste buds become over time.

“I didn’t know a lot about taste buds, so by doing this project, I knew I could learn more,” Davis said. “I decided to use age so I was able to include age ranges that included my grandparents, my parents, and me.”

While Davis’ hypothesis ended up being true, the middle schooler was already thinking about how she could change her project in the future to make it even better.

Some of the other projects that placed included Belmont Middle School’s Reagan Kaufmann, Joy Jordan, and Grace Fletcher’s project, “Are You Too Cool to Use the Five-Second Rule?” and Belmont Middle’s Genevieve Ziemer, who tested how salt affects plant growth.

All category winners and overall division winners have the opportunity to participate in the Region 6 Science and Engineering Fair at UNC-Charlotte on February 2.

Below is a list of the Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair winners from Gaston County Schools:

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DIVISION

Overall Winner
Abigail Stephens, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy - Natural Dyes

First Place
Amor Polanco, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy - Borax Crystal Growth

Second Place
Abigail Stamey, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy - The Effects of Weathering on Rocks

Third Place
Ryan Price, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy - Is Bounty Really the Quicker Picker Up?

Honorable Mention
Layla Lewis, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy - Which Plant will Survive?
Aubrey Albright, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy - Watch it Grow
Lydia Robertson, Hawks Nest STEM Academy - STEAM Art that lights up

Schiele Steward of the Earth Award
Hugh Sproul and Shloke Sonie, Hawks Nest STEAM Academy - Lemon Powered Car

MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION

Overall Winner
Avery Davis, Belmont Middle School - How Sweet is Your Tooth?

Schiele Steward of the Earth Award
Genevieve Ziemer, Belmont Middle School - How salt affects plant growth

Technology and Engineering Category

First Place
Jay Crawford, Jason Li, and Alex Villarreal, Belmont Middle School - Is WiFi your Ally?

Physical Sciences Category

First Place
Ashton Green, Ian McGinnis, and Aidan Tobin, Belmont Middle School - Temperature Bounce
Second Place
Hugh Glenn, Belmont Middle School - Are Things Really Attracted to Hot Stuff?
Third Place
Braden Duckworth and James Robinson, Belmont Middle School - How Healthy Is Your Water?

Life Sciences Category

Third Place
Reagan Kaufmann, Joy Jordan, and Grace Fletcher, Belmont Middle School - Are you too cool to use the five second rule?

Earth and Environmental Sciences Category

First Place
Ben Leonhardt, Belmont Middle School - Make it Rain, Acid Rain (How Rain Affects Aquatic Environments)

Second Place
Genevieve Ziemer, Belmont Middle School - How salt affects plant growth
Third Place
Spencer Butler, Daniel Harris, and Ethan Dellinger, Belmont Middle - Does Something Smell Skunky?

■ HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION

Overall Winner
Hannah Murrow and Kennedy Ballard, East Gaston High School - Effectiveness of Dog Toothpaste on Bacteria in a Dog’s Mouth

Gaston College SPARC of Genius Award
Jeb Black, Stuart W. Cramer High School - Comparison of Viral RNA Samples from Local and Non-Local Apple Melliferal Variants

Schiele Steward of the Earth Award
Jeb Black, Stuart W. Cramer High School - Comparison of Viral RNA Samples from Local and Non-Local Apple Melliferal Variants

Technology and Engineering Category

First Place
Will Shiflet, Forestview High School - Flippin’ Fun

Second Place
Jacob Wooten and Ryan Cates, East Gaston High School - Acid Rain and Steel Nails

Physical Sciences Category

First Place
Kasey Owenby and Caroline Hill, Forestview High School - How can temperature affect a golf ball?
Second Place
Sophia Raspanti and Becca Cloninger, Forestview High School - A Comparison of the Forces Exerted by Sprinters vs. Distance Runners
Third Place
Ben Harris and Jackson Harbin, Forestview High School - Corked bat

Life Sciences Category
First Place
Andrea Tejada and Erin Jarrell, East Gaston High School - Effects of Anti-Inflammatory Prescription Drugs vs. Vitamin Supplements on Gut Bacteria
Second Place
Rebecca Watts and Kaitlyn Mesimer, East Gaston High School - Bacteria on Cooking Surfaces
Third Place
Holly Mullen and Christina Rogers, East Gaston High School - The Effects of Food Diets on the Breeding Rate of Blaptica dubia

Earth and Environmental Sciences Category

First Place
Jeb Black, Stuart W. Cramer High School - Comparison of Viral RNA Samples from Local and Non-Local Apple Melliferal Variants
Second Place
Mackenzie Fallin, Ashbrook High School - Eco friendly detergents vs. regular detergents effects on the environment
Third Place
Callie Payne, East Gaston High School - Impact of Climate Change on the Diet of Goats