Students bring home science fair hardware

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WALLA WALLA — Two Garrison Middle School students took home top honors during a youth science fair put on by Whitman College last weekend.

Macy Quinn-Sears, a seventh-grader in Luke Hamada’s science class, won the overall grand prize for her investigation to determine which hairspray would best power a home-made potato launcher. Quinn-Sears won an iPad mini with cover, standing out among the 18 students who participated in this year’s event.

The science fair was open to middle and high school students in the region, and is the second year in a row Whitman has hosted the event.

Created last year to attract middle school entries, this year the contest was open to high school students as well, although just one high school student participated, said Whitman Science Outreach Coordinator Mary Burt.

Paige Gardner, another Garrison seventh-grader in Hamada’s class, received one of two first-place prizes.

Hannah Rickords, seventh-grader in Darin Durand’s science class at Sager Middle School in College Place, took the other first-place award.

Gardner and Rickords each won a microscope and life science kit.

Gardner won for a project that measured the pH levels of different types of soda to make connections between drinking pop and heart/GERD problems.

Rickords won for “Rodents and Rhythm,” an investigation as to whether different types of music — specifically, classical or rock — affected mice as they attempted to complete a maze.

The results showed that classical music allowed mice to complete the maze much faster with the mice happier and more peaceful. The ones exposed to rock music were huddled and appeared fearful.

Four students also won gift cards to the Whitman College bookstore for earning second and third places.

Paul Wallace, an eighth-grader at Pioneer Middle School, took second place for a project investigating slime molds and how they can travel through mazes to search for food.

Zach Brown, a sixth-grader at Meadow Brook Intermediate School in College Place, won the other second-place award for “Which Brand of Bread Molds Fastest?” Brown compared the spoilage rates between store-bought brands with preservatives and bakery breads without preservatives.

Also winning prizes were Campbell Schulke, a seventh-grader at Garrison, for investigating different glucose testing sites. Hector Diaz, a sixth-grader at Meadow Brook, also won for investigating how well different household items cleaned dirty pennies.

Durand, science teacher at Sager, won the prize for the teacher with the most science fair participants. He won a gift card to Educational Innovations, a company that supplies science materials.

All participants received a certificate of participation signed by Whitman College President George Bridges and got to choose a smaller prize donated by Whitman’s biology and chemistry departments.

The Whitman College science fair was made possible in part by a grant from the George T. Welch Trust. Burt said the college hopes to make the science fair available to area students again next year.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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