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Pennsylvania students explore wonders of science

April 01, 2001

Pennsylvania students explore wonders of science



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Want to know what kind of cheese will grow mold the fastest? How about the best way to store fresh bananas or what genre of music will raise your heartbeat?

Displays from more than 600 science students countywide answered these questions and many, many others at the 19th annual Franklin County Science and Technology Fair this weekend.

Matthew Wolfe knows the best conditions to grow grass, but don't ask him to fill in the bare spots of his front lawn.

The 11-year-old sixth grader at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School studied the effects of different colored lighting on the rate grass grows.

His discovery that red and blue lights promoted the best growth earned him an honorable mention award in the earth science division at the fair.

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"Red and blue light grew the most grass because the lights give off the right amount of heat," Matthew said.

But Matthew said monitoring the small pots with grass seed for several weeks was tedious work - and he's not going to try stringing up red and blue lights around his parents' lawn this spring to make the grass grow faster.

Students from the Chambersburg, Greencastle, Tuscarora and Waynesboro school districts participated in the science fair.

"This was a little larger than normal," said Woody Kadel, principal of Hooverville Elementary School, who helped coordinate the science fair.

This year's fair included technology as a category, in addition to the traditional list of earth, life and physical sciences.

Ten students submitted technology projects that included Web page designs and Power Point programs, Kadel said.

Participants set up their projects at Chambersburg Area Middle School Friday, and judges selected winners that night. Hundreds of awards were handed out during a ceremony Sunday afternoon.

Experiments ranged from the Cheese Quiz, which answered the question, "What cheese grows mold the fastest?," to the best way to grow crystals.

Duffield Elementary School student Brianne Rice determined mozzarella grows mold quicker than cheddar, American, Swiss or Velveeta.

Hanging bananas on a hook will make them last the longest, Grandview Elementary student Laurie Jones discovered with her project.

She earned an honorable mention in the life sciences category for her display, which showed a banana hook was superior to storing the fruit in paper or plastic bags, the refrigerator or a darkened closet.

In one of several experiments with the effect of different kinds of music on people, Chessie Ambrose, a Greencastle-Antrim Middle School student, proved country and rap music increased a person's heartbeat while hip-hop music actually decreased it.

Katie T. Rego and Julie Lake, fifth-graders at Grandview Elementary, garnered an honorable mention for growing crystals.

Katie said they got the idea from a science book.

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