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Smart is cool at Franklin Co. science fair

April 30, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Are you smarter than a fourth-grader?

Taylor Kump, 10, talks easily about viscosity, which is apparently the property of a fluid that can resist force and make it slimy.

For her Franklin Science and Technology Fair entry, Taylor, a student in Lori McNew's Lurgan Elementary School class, noted how viscosity changed in homemade slime when laundry booster was added.

"The laundry booster didn't have any effect on the viscosity," said Taylor, who saw the experiment detailed in a book and thought it looked fun.

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A handy book to have at the 24th annual fair might have been a dictionary, with projects like "The Fibonacci Sequence in Nature" and "Hydroponics." Popular subjects were the effects of music on heart rate and the effectiveness of toothpaste and teeth whiteners.

Many projects sought to answer questions like do colors affect moods (yes), does the Energizer Bunny really last (yes), can caffeine make a plant grow (no) and does age affect the color and thickness of blood (no).

The 2007 grand champion was Troy Boggs, a senior at Fannett-Metal High School. The champion was Caitlyn Hill, a ninth-grader at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.

Fannett-Metal High School took the team trophy in the senior division for the fifth consecutive year.

In addition to displays of moldy bread and model volcanoes, this year's science fair had many projects focused on the environment. Students looked at soil content and water pollutants, and one tested for bacteria in her school.

Andrew Weaver, in his fourth science fair, took home a first-place finish from the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education for his method of mathematically determining a tree's height by measuring its shadow. Younger brother Matthew also was recognized by the gifted education association for his experiment, placing 11 bricks (72 pounds) on eggs.

"We were trying to know how strong two eggs are," Matthew Weaver said. "We put some cotton in the egg cups and put the eggs in" before placing a board between them.

Andrew is in sixth grade at Chambersburg Area Middle School, while Matthew is in second grade at Guilford Hills Elementary School.

Benjamin Bender, in his project titled "Old Skool Night Vision," built an infrared night vision viewer largely using PVC pipes and a flashlight.

"It enables you to see in the dark, but not very well because it's first generation technology," said Benjamin, who is in Melissa Stanalonis' eighth-grade class at Waynesboro Area Middle School.

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