GREENVILLE — St. Mary’s Catholic School held its annual Science Fair. The event featured 33 fifth through eighth grade student exhibits.
Exhibits were judged by eight people from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, through its Educational Outreach. Students are unknown to the judges, making judging completely objective and fair, Math and Science Teacher Robbie Foster said. It was Allen Hall’s first time judging.
“As I see these, I seriously am wondering how I made it through college, because a lot of these are very impressive,” he said.
The judging criteria was based on the following categories from the Ohio Academy of Science: Knowledge achieved, Uses of Scientific Method or Technological Design, Clarity of expression and originality and Creativity. Students could earn up to 10 points in each category. Foster encouraged the judges to write their comments on the back of the judging forms. In the event the students move into the district competition, they are allowed to improve their projects and will use the feedback, she said.
“They know what is expected of them,” she said to the judges. “Some of them did very well and some of them were late. The points they get from you is not the grade they get from me. Some judges feel bad giving low points because they think the student’s grade depends on it, and it does not. If they did not do what was expected of them, don’t give them anything.”
According to Foster, the purpose of the project is to teach students the process of the scientific method. From establishing a hypotheses to the experimentation method to analyzing the results, the students learn all of the steps. The Science Fair requires the students to explain their projects to the judges. Foster said she teaches them not to mumble.
Luke F. Rammel placed First in the sixth grade with his project “Hamster Maze”.
“I have hamsters and I thought the maze would be a great activity for them,” he said.
His experiment was about testing three different senses of the hamster – sight, touch and smell – and which sense helps the hamsters go through the maze faster. He created three mazes that each tested a different sense. In the end, the sight maze yielded the fastest results and the slowest was touch. Rammel was surprised at some of his findings.
“I thought that since they were nocturnal, seeing the light would help them get through the maze the fastest,” he said. “But when I was researching, I saw that their sight wasn’t very strong. When they are babies they are born blind and as adults they can only see a few inches in front of them. Touch and the smell were the strongest senses of the hamster. I had a great time.”
Foster said the project is a long process. She handed out the project assignment to the students, in September.
“Through this project, they learn to see that a science project doesn’t just take a day, and they are done,” she said. “I also teach that if they are doing a project and their project doesn’t work out the first time, that’s fine. That is why we keep doing it over and over, because if we knew everything and we could solve everything the first time, we would have a cure for cancers and every other disease out there. It’s a constant – you have to retry, retry, retry.”
The results of the Science Fair are as follows: Overall Winners – Carmen Badell and Lydia Beisner tied for First place; Roman Dircksen, Third Place; Eighth Grade Winners – Roman Dircksen, First; Aubree Sutherland, Second; Evan Saylor, Third; Seventh Grade Winners – Carmen Badell, First; Madisen Werner, Second; Mitchell Schmitmeyer, Third; Sixth Grade Winners – Luke F. Rammel – First, Kelly Witwer – Second, Mariah Kreusch – Third; Fifth Grade Winners: Lydia Beisner, First; Anne Gibson, Second and Alex Hadden, Third.