Science Fair

Rappahannock Youngsters Show Their Flair at the Science Fair — Thirty-Eight Percent “In The Money”

You are free to stroll happily along the hallways at the Rappahannock County Elementary School to find the classrooms of science teachers Elaine Frank and Laine Vickers.  There you may congratulate those teachers for the excellent showing of their young charges, girls and boys, at the 35th Annual Virginia Piedmont Regional Science Fair in Charlottesville.

The two teachers escorted sixteen of their students, each with a science project to display, to the all-day event at the John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia.

Teachers from 38 schools across thirteen counties in the northern part of Virginia, from Nelson to King George counties, steered their busloads of science whizzes; more than 300 students from both public and private schools, plus three home-schooled youngsters, filled long rows inside the arena.

Of the sixteen Rappahannock students aboard the bus, six came home with honors.  That’s the thirty-eight percent, and that — as they say — ain’t bad at all.

A seventh-grader from Sperryville, Rachel Weghorst, won Third Place in microbiology for her project, which posed the question “which time of interval of ultraviolet radiation exposure eliminates the most bacteria on an unexposed side of a bacteria dish?”

Five others from Rappahannock received Honorable Mention at the fair.

One is Heather Williams, a sixth-grader.  Her project asks: How Edible Will the Food Be?

Heather Williams - "How Edible will Food Be?"

Heather Williams – “How Edible will Food Be?”

Seventh-grader Domenic Del Grosso of Washington loves his 22 caliber rifle, and enjoys shooting at targets.  So much so that he wanted to figure out the effect on the projectile if, when he is on the range in the backyard, it starts to rain.  Therefore, Domenic’s project: How Does Weather Affect the Accuracy of a .22 Caliber Rifle?  The Honorable Mention for him is in the electrical and mechanical category.

Domenic Del Grosso - "How does Weather Affect the Accuracy of a 22-Caliber Rifle?"

Domenic Del Grosso – “How does Weather Affect the Accuracy of a 22-Caliber Rifle?”

The world experiences lots of oil spills.  So it is important to figure out cleaning them up.  And thus an Honorable Mention in the category of environmental management to Alec Petty for his project Evaluating the Effectiveness of Bioremediation and Chemical Dispersion in cleaning up oil spills.

Alec Petty - "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Bioremediation and Chemical Dispersion in Cleaning Up Oil Spills"

Alec Petty – “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Bioremediation and Chemical Dispersion in Cleaning Up Oil Spills”

When you do arrive at one of the classrooms to salute the science teacher — and any teacher you find, for that matter — you may hear yourself asking, “is it me, or is it hot in here?”  Well, you can have a look at the work of sixth-grader Cassia Gainer, a Woodville resident, whose project The Effect On The Air Temperature Of A Classroom By Increasing The Number of People, was awarded Honorable Mention in the category of energy and transportation.

Cassia Gainer - "Temperature in Classrooms"

Cassia Gainer – “Temperature in Classrooms”

Honorable Mention in the biochemistry category went to Agustin Garcia for a project called simply Chromatography With Tree Leaves.

Finally, there is the work of Morgan McKinney, a seventh-grade student who comes from Sperryville.  No award here, but she certainly wins plenty of mention around Rappahannock County for studying what is a very big topic here: the night sky.  Morgan’s project, in the environmental category, is How Does Altitude Affect Light Polllution.  Her display was, to say the least, a snazzy one.

Morgan McKinney - "How Does Altitude Affect Light Polllution?"

Morgan McKinney – “How Does Altitude Affect Light Polllution?”

Perhaps now it is coming clear why one would suggest you seek and find the science teachers to thank them for their work and their leadership; at the same time you might just poke around among the projects and get a sixth or seventh grader to explain science to you.

by Jed Duvall, Amissville