BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The HTC newly renovated hallways were packed Monday night with a wide range of students peddling some very interesting science projects.
The annual science fair at the school is typically a junior high and high school fair, but, this year, even some fourth and fifth graders got into the act.
Close to 45 students had exhibits that included such dynamic investigations as what impacts freckle presence and eye color, to erosion of streams, to which potato chips are the greasiest.
More than 20 judges from all walks of life including the Lee County Conservation District, local farmers, teachers, agriculture professionals, and others worked the hallway talking with students about their projects.
Three of the youngest scientists in the room were Addie Link and Emma Mohrfeld, 4th graders, and Teagan Snaadt, a 5th grader at Holy Trinity Elementary School, who wanted to see which potato chips had the most grease in them.
A binder full of graph paper shows the results of the girls spreading an equal amount chips and crushing them consistently with a rolling pin. Then allowing the chips to rest on the paper as the grease permeates the paper and leaves a visible line defining an area on the paper with the grease.
Locals will be happy to know that out of four chips tested, Sterzing’s brand had the third least amount of grease according to the test.
Mohrfeld said her mother helped them come up with the idea, but the girls thought it was a fun and interesting project.
“It’s something interesting to show people how much grease is in their favorite chips,” she said. “We got to eat some of them while we did it, too.”
Event organizer and science teacher, Ernie Schiller, said this is just a school science fair and the conference fair will be held Thursday at Westland Mall in West Burlington.
“We have two $100 savings bonds from Pilot Grove Savings Bank and that’s new,” Schiller said Monday. “We’ve got some really great projects out there and this is a good opportunity for them to practice for the upcoming fairs.”
“All students exhibiting were recognized for their time and talent for going above and beyond to delve into their project and received a participation award. Thanks to the parents, the staff, the community for helping these young students in succeeding at completing their science project.”
Conner Gunnison received the judges’ award for dedication to his project. Conservation Awards sponsored by the Lee County Soil & Water District were awarded to: Edward Schroeder, Conner Gehling, Wyatt Hellman, Laura Mehmert, Cohen Gunnison, Reagan Holvoet, Henry Morris, Jenna Hellman, Andy Mehmert, and Juniper Strickland.
The conference meet on Thursday is judged with winners advancing to regional competitions where winners there can eventually move to state and national competitions.