BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Whether they were trying to help locate ladybugs, extend the life of drone batteries, or even finding which acne medicine in the best – about 30 seventh and eighth graders put their best projects forward on Monday.
At the Fort Madison Middle School Science Fair, students presented their projects for consideration of judges, parents, and fellow students for most of the day with three winning cash prizes, medals, and even a large stuffed animal for the winning student’s classroom.
The event was sponsored by Axalta Coating and Elliott Test Kitchen.
Eighth grader Hayden Wolfe looked into how extra weight would impact the batteries of drones. Wolfe added lead fishing weights to a string and hovered a drone to see how the weight impacted the battery.
He said the batteries’ life reduced proportionately with the increased weight. He hovered the drones for the same amount of time as the control and then tried different weights as the variable in the experiment. However he saw other patterns in the study, as well as coming up with commercial applications for the study.
The battery, which is measured in milliamps can also be affected by weather and wind, but he said he tried to take wind out of the experiment by hovering as still as possible for a predetermined amount of time.
“The kind of weather the drone is flying in can have an impact on the battery life,” Wolfe said. “But I think the results can be used maybe to help people know how long of a battery life they would have when they put a camera or something on the drone. Or it could help the battery companies make better batteries.
Wolfe was awarded a trophy from Axalta and $50 cash for his second place finish at the fair.
Colton Durbin and Tristin Schneider created “oven” boxes lined inside with aluminum foil and then placed 10 kernels of corn in each box. The first box they placed under three household lightbulbs from about five feet and put the second box out in direct sunlight. The outside box popped six of the kernels after one hour and the inside box popped two.
Madison Meyer created a project that looked at the cost and effectiveness of acne cream.
“Lots of teens have trouble with acne so I wanted to do an experiment where I might be able to find out which one is the best,”
She said she tested three creams and LaRoche-Rosay performed the best at eliminating bacteria, but it was also the most expensive cream.
“So I guess if you want to get the best cream, you’re gonna have to spend a little more money,” she said.
Silvia Jerden got creative with lady bugs and tried to find out what common noises increase activity among the bugs. She said she placed familiar sounds coming from her cellphone on the top of a box containing the red bugs and said of the 10 sounds she applied to the bugs, car noises elicited the biggest response.
“If you wanted to bring some lady bugs into your garden you might be able to use some piped in car noise or take your cellphone around the yard playing the noise and that might attract the bugs,” Jerden said.
Her project was selected for third place and she won a trophy and a $25 cash prize.
A project on which toilet paper dissolves the quickest in water was awarded the top $75 prize due to the environmental impact of the research. The project looked at which single and two-ply paper dissolved the quickest in septic and sewer systems. Scott’s single-ply had the best dissolve rate.
The project also earned Kelly Hackett’s science class the traveling moose trophy donated by Elliott Test Kitchen. The traveling trophy will move with the first-place winner of upcoming year’s science fairs.