Area science kids take over Westland Mall

Grant Anderson shows how he set up his solar water heater experiment at Thursday's Southeast Iowa Superconference Science Fair. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC


WEST BURLINGTON – More than 183 students took over Westland Mall on Thursday morning as part of the 38th annual Southeast Iowa Superconference Science Fair.

Junior and senior high students showed 146 research projects on the day with winners advancing to district, regional, state, and possibly national competitions.

Students from Central Lee, Danville, Holy Trinity, New London, Pekin, Van Buren, and Winfield Mt. Union brought their display boards and projects to the mall.

Each division had two categories to enter projects, biological and physical and each project was judged a minimum of three times by volunteers from education, agriculture, business, and conservation sectors.

One of the younger students presenting at the fair was Grant Anderson from Central Lee’s junior high, who took a closer look at what materials were the most efficient for heating water in a solar environment.

Anderson compared the heating properties of copper tubing, clear plastic tubing, and black rubber tubing. He ran water from coffee cans through the U-shaped configurations of each tubing and then measured the time and temperature of the water coming from the tubing.

“The result was what I expected as the copper tubing has the warmest water,” Anderson said. “I thought it might be the black rubber tubing, because, well, it’s black and that usually absorbs the most heat. If I did it again, I think I’d paint the copper tubing black to get the most heat.”

Anderson won Best of Show in the Junior High Physical Science category and Most Energetic Junior High Presenter.

In another very interesting project, Central Lee High School’s Vanessa Hupp created her own “bioplastics” in a project called “Will that be plastic, or bioplastic?”.

Hupp was concerned with the time it takes the environment to break down a plastic bottle and whether or not there was a better product to use.

“We read that it takes over 1,000 years for a plastic bottle to decompose, but the average time a person actually utilizes a plastic bottle is 12 minutes…12 minutes!,” she said.

So she “mixed up a batch of her own bioplastics using common household products like gelatin, corn starch, water, and other materials.

“So I took the bioplastics and buried them in soil where we introduced some natural bacteria that help create an environment for decomposing and several of the bioplastics were completely gone at the end,” Hupp said.

Hupp received the Top Physical Science Award by the Lon Rosine Foundation, which came with $100.

Henry Morris, a 6th grader at Holy Trinity, presented on the impacts of acid rain on the growth of corn.

“I thought that since it was acid rain it wouldn’t be good for the corn but when I pulled out the corn and measured the roots in the corn I saw that the higher the concentration of acid rain, the larger the roots were,” Morris said.

Morris said he used Merschman Seeds for the corn and maybe that brand of seed was better equipped to handle the make up the acid rain, which he said he was able to purchase online.

Holy Trinity Catholic High School’s Wyatt Hellman presented on what impacts the formation of streams. Hellman set up a trough and tried different materials in the trough including rocks and even created different channels in the dirt in the trough to determine how sediment moves through the streams and how the smallest influences can have a large impact on the future of the stream.

He said the research could be used in the future to help with erosion run off or helping lengthen the lives and effectiveness of the streams themselves.

HTC’s Roselynn Strickland speaks with Judge Mark Clifford of Donnellson. Strickland took a look at the mathematics of dance in her physical science entry. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC
Central Lee High School’s Vanessa Hupp shows the “bioplastic” materials she made in an effort to create a plastic that would decompose faster in landfills. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

A complete list of the winners from the fair are listed below.

High School Biological Awards:
Best of Show:
Kayla Livesay, Van Buren
Division I:
Lauren Starnes, Van Buren
Liana Sweezer, Winfield Mount Union
Division II:
Makenzie Winslow, Van Buren
Faith Diephius and Rebecca Pilcher, Central Lee and Van Buren
Honorable Mention:
Kamryn Banks, Van Buren
Shannon Garrels, Van Buren
Claire Wills, Central Lee
Brooklyn Pardall, Central Lee

High School Physical Awards:
Best of Show:
Aaron Wills, Central Lee
Division I:
Pearl Krieger-Coble, Winfield Mount Union
Division II:
Summer Smith, Central Lee
Ace Padget, Van Buren
Honorable Mention:
Vanessa Hupp, Central Lee
Aleaya Klesner, Central Lee

Junior Physical Awards:
Best of Show:
Grant Anderson, Central Lee
Division I:
Mackenzie Taylor, Van Buren
Sidney Gruntmeir, Central Lee
Division II:
Cooper Klienkopf and Carter Felser, Danville
Reece Kacht, Van Buren
Emily Barnhardt and Shane Barnhardt, Central Lee
Ruger Smith, Central Lee
Honorable Mention:
Cade Bemis, Pekin
Colton Comstock, Pekin
Laura Mehmert, Holy Trinity
Kyler Dickey, Pekin
Karissa Moeller, Central Lee

Junior Biological Awards:
Best of Show: Tie
Gracey Genkinger, Central Lee
Paisley Grafton, Central Lee
Division I:
Faith Neeley, Van Buren
Annabelle Cormier, Van Buren
Division II:
Morgan Grelk and Chloe Fisher, Winfield Mount Union
Macy Watkins, Central Lee
Kayla Box and Alexa Dingman, Holy Trinity
Brooke Mueller, Holy Trinity
Bella Graham-Thomas, Central Lee
Honorable Mention:
Claire Roth, Pekin
Teagan Denning and Natalie Randolph, Holy Trinity
Jacob Hohl, Central Lee
Andrea Hoy, Pekin
Cohyn Jury and Nathan Davidson, Van Buren
Logan Lauderman, Pekin
Lily Reneker, Pekin
Avary Bartholomew, Van Buren
McKenna Caviness and Shea Scott, Van Buren
Jasmine Padget, Van Buren

2018 SEISC Science Fair Special Awards:
Top Biology Award sponsored by Schiller’s ($100): Kamryn Banks
2nd place Biological Science Award by Schiller’s: Mackenzie Winslow
Top Physical Science Award by Lon Rosine Foundation ($100): Vanessa Hupp
2nd place Physical Science Award by Lon Rosine Foundation: Pearl Krieger-Coble
Biology Award by Bernie McCauley ($20): Shannon Garrels
Physical Science Award by Bernie McCauley ($20): Summer Smith
Top Pollinator Award by Tull Farms ($50): Brooklyn Pardall
Most Energetic Middle School Presenter: Grant Anderson
Most Energetic High School Project: Lauren Starnes
Best Showboard Award by Chuong Garden (Gift Certificate $50): Claire Wills
Best Ag Related Project Sponsored by Beck Seeds ($100): Kayla Livesay

Inspiring Excellence Awards:
Teacher Award ($50) : Marci Denny
Top Student Award ($50): Alex Dix
Student Award ($20): Vanessa Hupp
Student Award ($20): Cooper Kleinkopf
Student Award ($20): Carter Fesler
Student Award ($20): Jordan Vorwaldt
Student Award ($20): Brianna Wright



Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: