CLAYTON — Southside Christian School takes the science fair to another level, requiring students to integrate the Bible into their projects.
In this year’s science fair, students in grades 6-8 performed experiments to test everyday topics such as the five-second food rule, whether girls have better concentration than boys, and a timely one about what causes meteorites like the one that recently struck Russia.
Building upon the Christian perspective that is taught at the school, each project integrated a Biblical understanding.
Eighth grader Mikaela Hermeling conducted tests to find out if colors can be distracting, specifically when playing basketball. She changed the tape lines of the backboard in three different tests to three different colors to see how that affected people’s ability to make a basket.
“The colors do affect you,” said Hermeling, “It affects your concentration.” In her Biblical integration of the project, she explained, “The world can distract us from what we are put here on Earth to do and we are blinded by that.”
Judges came to the school last week to look at each project and to interview the students about their understanding of their project.
Eric O’Neil, a technician at Premier Commercial Security, was one of the judges for the event. mong the students, he chatted with was eighth grader Jesse Stephenson, whose project studied meteorites,
“That was timely with what happened in Russia,” O’Neil told Stephenson.
Stephenson studied the dust of meteorites that he found in his backyard.
“I had no clue that lots of meteorites hit the earth every day,” said Stephenson. “They’re really small and they almost always burn up.”
While Stephenson’s project was underway, a meteor exploded over the Ural Mountains in Russia, injuring more than 1,000 people, during an event that scientists have said only happens about once every century.
The meteors that Stephenson is referring to are much smaller than the rare meteor that affected Russia, of course.
But his project also included studying material from space.
“Knowing that came from space and it’s easy to collect here is neat,” said Stephenson of the meteor dust he collected for the project.
Stephenson’s Biblical integration included explaining that how God’s creation of the atmosphere causes people to be protected from the otherwise dangerous meteors most of the time.
The science fair is the culmination of a month-long, school-wide focus on science. Each grade created science projects, ranging from studying how many house cats are overweight, to the power of peppermints to keep people awake. By the time students reach sixth grade, they will be ready for the science fair competition.
“Hopefully their previous years of science will help them make a decision about what they’re interested in or what they know about,” said middle school science teacher Don Sandberg.
The winning project for the entire school this year was Abby Winterstein’s project “Focusing Abilities in Genders.” She studied how noise affects concentration for boys and girls. Winterstein tested how well boys and girls did at identifying a letter while blindfolded. During the first test, the subjects did not listen to any background noise, but during the second test, Winterstein cranked up the noise to see if that would affect either group’s ability to focus. Her findings showed that the boys actually were quicker identifying the shape of the letter in their hand during the test with the noise than without the noise. Whereas, the girls were not as quick to identify the letters with the noise as they were without.
Winterstein is a promising student who impressed all of the judges, said school principal Jenene Davis.
Rebecca Douthart was the seventh-grade winner, for her project, “Five-Second Food Rule: Fact or Fiction?” Alyssa Stephenson was the sixth grade winner for her project “Which one will they choose? (Bird Feed)”