Winners in the first Upshur County Science Fair, held at the Event Center at Brushy Fork on Saturday, show their knowledge in science. First-place winners will advance to the regional science fair on Feb. 29 at Fairmont State University to represent their schools and Upshur County.

Students compete in first ever county-wide science fair

BUCKHANNON – On Saturday, Upshur County students showcased their vast knowledge of science as they competed in the very first county-wide Upshur County Science Fair.

The event featured 31 elementary school students and one middle school student who competed in eight different divisions, including chemistry, physics, plant science, earth and environmental science, animal science, engineering and behavioral and social sciences.

The coordinator for the Upshur County Science Fair was Gabby Rhodes, third-grade teacher from Union Elementary School. Rhodes said she was excited to host the fair at a county-wide level.

“The science fair projects demonstrate the higher-level thinking, communication and critical thinking skills from our Upshur County students,” she said. “It also increases student engagement and parent involvement.”

Rhodes said those participating in the event worked diligently with the support of their teachers and families.

“In the end, it was a successful event,” Rhodes said, adding that she wanted to personally thank Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Debra Harrison and members of the Board of Education for supporting the fair.

“They always put our students first,” she said. “I also want to thank West Virginia Wesleyan College and the educators in Upshur County for partnering as judges for our science fair. The collaboration between our stakeholders made this a successful event for our students.”

Stankus said she is proud of the students participating in Saturday’s science fair.

“These young Upshur County scientists will go on to solve many of the challenges our world continues to face,” Stankus said. “This project may be just the thing that will spark their scientific genius.”

Stankus also credited the students’ families.

“We want to thank the families who support their students as they investigate and find answers to very important questions. We look forward to their success at the upcoming Regional Science Fair,” Stankus said.

B-UMS sixth grader Lila Wright said her project was about the power of being optimistic.

“I tested 57 volunteers and the first thing I did was give them a cooking magazine and ask them if they thought it would be possible to count the number of pictures of forks in the magazine,” Lila said. “Only 19 percent of them said, ‘Yes.’ Then, I asked them to try it. Only 14 percent of the 57 volunteers answered correctly.”

Lila said the answer was 29.

“The trick to it was on Page 5, there was a sticker that said to stop counting because there are 29 forks,” Lila said. “Everyone who found that sticker had thought it was possible to count the forks and it kept their mind open to the solution.”

Lila said she participated in the Upshur County Science Fair because she likes to take opportunities that are offered to her.

“I had a great time,” she said.

Upshur County BOE vice-president Katie Loudin offered her congratulations to the winners and participants in the Upshur County Science Fair.

“Congratulations to those who participated and especially the winners,” Loudin said. “We are really proud of everyone who competed. This was the first time all the schools got together, and it went well. We are very excited for the students who will represent their schools and Upshur County during the regional and state competitions.”

Winners in each category include:

Chemistry division – Jaxon Spratt, 5th grade at Union Elementary School, first place with ‘Whitening Mouthwash Wars;’ Lena Rose Walker, 4th grade at Buckhannon-Academy Elementary School, second place with ‘Which Whole Grain Will Get Soggy the Slowest?’; and Victoria Hamner, 4th grade at BAES with ‘How Do You Change Milk Into Plastic?’

Physics division – Sarah Coffman and Sawyer Phillips, 4th grade at Union Elementary School, first place with ‘Soccer Science’; and Matthew Peters, 5th grade at Union Elementary School, second place with ‘Give Me Your Best Shot – Catapults.’

Plant science division – Landin Lawrence and Kyzer Hernandez, 5th grade at BAES, first place with ‘Which Plant Grows Faster?’; and Isabella Snyder, 4th grade at BAES, second place with ‘Will Grass Grow in Water Beads?’

Earth and environmental division – Lily Thompson, 4th grade at BAES, first place with ‘How Was Earth Made?’; and Landon Cole, 4th grade at BAES, second place with ‘What are the Phases of the Moon?’

Animal science division – Tate Tenney and Gabe Rowan, 5th grade at BAES, first place with ‘Chihuahua Treat Finders’; Anya Morehead, 5th grade at Tennerton Elementary School, second place with ‘What Type of Music Do Guinea Pigs Like?’; and Matthew Smith, 5th grade at Union Elementary School, third place with ‘Flesh Eating Beetles: Nature’s Clean-Up Crew.’

Engineering division – Emma Collett, 4th grade at BAES, first place with ‘Archimedes Screw.’

Behavioral and social science division – Avri Coleman and Alissa Depoy, 5th grade at BAES, first place.

Cell biology – Jackson Shepherd, 5th grade at Union Elementary, first place with ‘Is a Dog’s Mouth Cleaner Than a Human’s?’; and Autumn Crisp, 3rd grade at Union Elementary with ‘Mummification of a  Hotdog.’

Behavioral and social science division, middle school – Lila Wright, first place, 6th grade at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School for ‘The Power of Positivity.’

First-place winners from Saturday’s event, held at the Event Center at Brushy Fork, will advance and compete in the regional science fair, held at Fairmont State University on Feb. 29.

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