by Dennis Dalman
Seven Sartell Middle School students returned home Feb. 22 with awards from the 68th annual Central Minnesota Regional Science Fair at St. Cloud State University.
The winners premium awards are Peter Amundson, Peyton Braun, Kobey Cofer, Elizabeth Ruder and Madeline Thieschafer. Ruder and Thieschafer also won the Broadcam Master’s Award.
Zachary Christopherson won the Water Award and Rory Spanier won the Mu Alpha Theta Award.
At the Science Fair, about 250 students from area schools presented their science projects, explained them to a panel of judges and answered judges’ questions.
“The kids really enjoyed it,” said Angela McSorley, who teaches eighth-grade science at Sartell Middle School. “They loved to explain to the judges how they set up their projects, what they learned from projects and how they came up with new ideas from doing those projects. They also enjoyed meeting other kids involved in science.”
McSorley was at the fair, along with fellow SMS science instructor Gina Anderson, who teaches seventh-graders.
This was the third year SMS participated in the event at SCSU. The premium award-winners can, if they choose, compete at the state science fair at the end of March.
Three examples of the projects presented by the SMS students are the following:
“To Build a Fire” by Peter Amundson. Through lots of experimentation, Amundson tried to perfect the best way to build a camp fire by various placements of logs and other factors. He then kept track of how hot the fire became, its duration and other calibrations.
“Supersolubility” by Kobey Cofer and Peyton Braun. They experimented on the times it took to dissolve certain over-the-counter medications to test them against advertisement claims for those products.
“Feathers and Vanes: Flight Through Wind” by Elizabeth Ruder. The effectiveness of various fletches (plastic, feather) on archery arrows were tested for efficiency in a wind tunnel she designed.
Other project examples were the testing of how various types of music affect heart rates and the relative effectiveness of some antibiotics on bacteria.
“It was such a good experience to communicate the projects in a professional manner,” McSorley said. “They’ll get more and more experience every year. We want to build on this program and see more students go to the fair in the coming years. These students are so excited to learn.”
A grant from the Sartell-St. Stephen Education Foundation covered the costs of the registration fees for the Science Fair for all the students who participated.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.