What type of french fries will mold the fastest? Kaelynn Spann, a sixth grade student at Klondike Middle School, made that the topic of her science fair project. She filled several jars with french fries and monitored the results for four weeks. She watched for signs of mold on homemade fries compared to those from four different fast food restaurants.
The science fair has been a tradition and excellent learning opportunity for students for more than 25 years.
“Not much has changed with science fairs over the years,” says teacher Sue Nail. “Students pick a topic, research it and come up with an experiment using the scientific method. While the process hasn’t changed much, there is more technology available to collect data, make graphs and design the display boards.”
Students present in their science classes, but have the option to present to community members at the science fair for extra credit.
Nail says students learn critical thinking skills, apply scientific methods, analyze results and use presentation skills to defend their conclusions.
Other student topics: what type of insulation works best for maintaining temperature in a house, what type of straw is the most biodegradable, where is the filthiest place in a house and which bait catches the most fish.
For Kaelynn, she discovered homemade french fries started molding in one week, while fries from fast food restaurants appeared to not decompose after four weeks.