From zapping zits with toothpaste to swabbing lockers for bacteria, scientific discovering at the Cortez Middle School is thriving.
Held on Thursday, Jan. 15, the annual Cortez Middle School science fair, for example, included electrified salt experiments, the use of red cabbage to test acidity, reaction time comparisons between individuals that played violent versus non-violent video games, the distance gained via various ramp angles when jumping a dirt bike, the best terrain for a home-made hover board, a battery made from U.S. coins and the impact of background noise on student concentration.
“There’s a lot of exciting things going on,” Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 board president and science fair judge Jack Schuenemeyer said from the judging floor. “The diversity of the projects from agriculture to social science is just neat.”
Asked to describe which project was most impressive, Schuenemeyer said he eyed multiple electricity generating experiments, endeavors that examined texting while driving and a project that measured the elasticity of rubber bands at various temperatures. Schuenemeyer added that he was “incredibly impressed” with all of the students’ scientific experiments.
“It’s really exciting, and hopefully this will encourage the students to continue studying math and science,” he said.
Stating math was his favorite subject area, eighth grader Jacob Reedy constructed a three-inch tall Tesla coil to wirelessly power a fluorescent light bulb for his science fair project. Reedy said he discovered the 19th Century technology while visiting the library.
“Nikola Tesla made some pretty cool inventions,” Reedy said, citing he too would like to become an inventor.
Reedy said his favorite aspect of the science fair was the ability to share the knowledge he’d gained with others as well as witnessing what his peers were able to discover.
“There’s some cool stuff here,” Reedy said, pointing to a classmate that designed an artificial pancreas that produced insulin.
A baritone saxophone player in the school band, Reedy attributed his scientific curiosity to retired teacher Sam Eckhart.
As a first grader, Reedy was one of Eckhart’s students while attending Manaugh Elementary, and over the years, the duo has constructed numerous gadgets, including catapults and mousetrap vehicles.
“Jacob has progressed a whole lot,” said Eckhart, who also volunteered to serve as a science fair judge. “He has a bright future ahead of him.”
Without question, both Eckhart and Schuenemeyer agreed that the school’s annual science fair restored their hope for the country.
“To see students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade get involved in these projects does indeed reinvigorate my belief in the future,” said Schuenemeyer. “This is what we need.”