Photo Courtesy of Bemidji Pioneer

Students at Bemidji Middle School showed off their science skills Thursday night, February 8th, at the school’s 32nd annual science fair.

One seventh-grader, tested three cats’ interest in different toys. A laser pointer stood out from the pack.  Another seventh grader soaked eggs in different fluids and measured how much they dissolved and discolored. She predicted Mountain Dew would do the most damage to the eggs, which were stand-ins for human teeth, but the data she collected didn’t bear out her hypothesis—vinegar dissolved and discolored the eggs the quickest.  A sixth-grader tested differently treated slimes, and found that adding Tide laundry detergent made her slime the most viscous.

In all, about 300 sixth-graders and 200 seventh- and eighth-graders put together projects for the fair. A total of 60 community judges primarily scored the students’ projects on their scientific rigor, but also looked at presentation and artistry.

“It gives them exposure to real-world science,” said Debra Sandvig, the fair’s coordinator and a seventh-grade science teacher in the middle school’s Kappa Pod. “And then they get to show that off to the community.”

Students also used their physics and engineering skills to build towers out of old copies of the Pioneer and tested their mettle in a knowledge bowl-style competition.

Artistic Awards for display boards were given.  Judges also selected two 8th-graders project called “Salty Freshwater” for the Bob Schultz award, which recognizes overall excellence and is named after a late longtime science teacher at the middle school.

Below are the science fair categories: Animal Science (Zoology), Behavioral/Social Science, Computer Science and Mathematics, Earth and Space Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Medicine and Health, Microbiology, Physics, Plant Science (Botany) and Consumer Products.