Students rewarded for their discoveries at fair
Posted: February 7, 2013
The Winchester Star
MIDDLETOWN — Using a leaf blower and a simulator box, seventh-grader Alex Giffin discovered that the best roof to build to sustain hurricane winds is a flat one.
“I’m letting engineers and other people know the best roof design to put up near the coast,” Alex said. “The more information on hurricanes can help anyone if they want to rebuild their house.”
The Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School student’s ingenuity won him the Valley Health Middle School Grand Prize of $200 at the Frederick County Public Schools Science Fair, held Wednesday at Lord Fairfax Community College.
This year, more than 300 students took part in 271 projects.
Sherando High School student Jon Gustafson, 16, won the $400 Valley Health Grand Prize at the high school level for discovering that replacing up to 10 percent of cement with fly ash raised the compression strength of concrete and was more environmentally friendly.
Jon said his project had to adhered to a strict schedule.
“It was a lot of work,” he said. “I couldn’t say ‘I have a lot of homework so I’ll test this tomorrow.’ I had to test it on the day it was ready to be tested.”
Blandy Experimental Farm also handed out three Amazon gift certificates ranging from $50 to more than $100 to students who “think outside the box” with creative, unusual and innovative projects.
Frederick County Middle School eighth-grader Riley Creamer won a gift certificate for researching the effect of a genre of music on an artist’s drawing.
According to Riley, when country and classical music is played, an artist produces longer, flowing strokes, while rap and rock produce choppy, harder and sharper strokes.
“It’s interesting to find out how I can improve my drawing with music,” she said.
James Wood High School student Morgan Gannon, 17, won a gift certificate for examining the effect of rain levels on local annual apple yields.
“I finally figured out what had the greatest impact,” she said. “It’s not just about rainfall, but the number of rainless weeks.”
Sherando student Matthew David Sayen earned a certificate for his project titled “Plants Grow Taller When More Magnets are Applied to the Soil.”
— Contact Rebecca Layne at email@example.com