By Scott Robertson
The project titles ran the gamut from “Gummy bear osmosis” to “Short-term effect of soil pH on moss growth rates” to “Mummy madness: the science of the mummification of a hot dog.” More than 300 fifth through eighth graders from across northeast Tennessee took part in the annual Upper East Tennessee Science Fair on the campus of East Tennessee State University Saturday, a competition of intellectual curiosity and vigor.
Students earned the right to compete at their school level by developing a hypothesis, testing it utilizing the scientific method, then publishing their results on a tri-fold display. Judges including scientists working in the community for companies such as Eastman and Siemens, as well as ETSU, compared the projects based on criteria including originality, ingenious use of material, organization, accuracy of observation and workmanship.
Prizes were awarded at each grade level in both the physical and biological science categories. The Eastman Grand Prize went to the best entry at each grade level regardless of category. Grand prize-winning students earned $250, plus $100 for their school and another $100 for their science teacher.
Eastman Grand prize winners were Gabe McKinney of St. Mary’s School in the fourth grade, Zachary Brock of Ridgeview Elementary School in the fifth grade, Elizabeth Kliesch of Kingsport Christian Academy in sixth grade, Ethan Swift of Lamar School in seventh grade and Lilly Perdue of Innovation Academy in eighth grade.
Johnson City Kiwanis Club awarded $100 first prizes, $50 second prizes and $25 third prizes to three biological science and three physical science entries in each grade. $50 prizes were also conferred upon the school of each first, second and third place honoree.
In addition, Gracyn Carder of Ashley Academy was awarded $75 from the Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society. Gabe Moretz of Lake Ridge Elementary School and Lauryn Banner of Indian Trail Intermediate School each were awarded $100 by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services for projects pertaining to Appalachia. The Tennessee Academy of Sciences awarded $100 prizes in biological sciences to Carter Broehl of Lake Ridge Elementary School and William Hobbs of Jonesborough Middle School as well as $100 physical science prizes to Calliope Hall and Lily Perdue of Innovation Academy.