HTC kids strut their science stuff

A student at the Holy Trinity Science Day speaks with a judge about his study in the conversion of wild grasses to ethanol. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC


FORT MADISON – The chemical makeup of water is H2O and when the temperature of those molecules drops below 32 degrees they start to freeze.

And since so many of those molecules were on the road on Wednesday, Holy Trinity Catholic’s science students pushed their annual Science Night at the school to an afternoon show.

Science advisor Ernie Schiller said about 45 students in grades fourth through 11th presented science projects at Holy Trinity High School a bit early in the day. The school holds a spaghetti supper in conjunction with the science fair, and awards are presented at the end of the day.

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Andy Mehmert, a 12-year old at HTC wanted to look at the impact of certain levels of manure on corn growth as well as how planting with manure would impact water runoff.

“I put manure into a bucket and planted seeds and I waited for the corn to grow. I weighed the ears of corn and then I tested the runoff water and sent it into a lab.”

Mehmert said he sent the runoff water to Midwest Laboratories where he had them analyze the liquid for potassium, nitrogen, and phosphate levels. That we he could track the impact of the runoff as well as determining the benefit to the corn.

“I wanted to find out which amount of manure would be the best on the corn,” Mehmert said.

Mary Kate Bendlage, a 7th grader at HTC did a study on whether home-made honey or store bought honey was healthier for consumers.

Bendlage said she has a beehive at home and works it with her grandfather.

Mary Kate Bendlage, a 7th grader at Holy Trinity talks about the health benefits of raw honey vs. processed honey with Science Fair judge Craig Wills Wednesday at Holy Trinity High School. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“We got it going about two years and we thought if we did this we’d have more fun and get to spend more time together so we started it.

She said they feed the bees sugar water but it has a it’s downside.

“I found out pretty quickly that if you don’t suit up properly you’re gonna get stung,”

She said she’s only been stung a few times, but it’s fun to work on the hive with her grandfather.

She said by boiling the honey the homemade honey at 400 degrees as a form a pasteurization, helps it becomes a better product in terms of antioxidant bacteria. She tracked the impact of the different honeys on an apple and then tracked the results with an enzyme table.

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