RIO GRANDE — Students from across Gallia, Lawrence, Pike, Scioto and Adams counties gathered in the Lyne Center of the University of Rio Grande and the Rio Grande Community College Saturday to compete in a regional science fair after earning superior ratings in their respective schools.
According to Ohio Academy of Science CEO Michael Woytek, roughly 140 to 150 students competed the day of the event. The organization helps put on the event with help from the Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center as part of the District 14 location with the university serving as host.
Barrett Van Sickle, 6th grade Minford Local Middle School Student, presented a project experimenting with the intelligence of migratory and non-migratory birds and which had better reasoning capabilities.
“I was researching different species of birds with higher intelligence,” said Van Sickle. “Like the Scarlet Macaw is non-migratory and seemed to be more intelligence than the other species. I think the migratory species are not smart enough to find food when presented with obstacles which is why they have to migrate.”
Van Sickle said he did a lot of research through websites and the animals he used in his study were his pets. Van Sickle’s trifold research board indicated he tested a Scarlet Macaw (non-migratory), a Parakeet (migratory), a Muscovy Duck (migratory), Rouen Duck (migratory) and Crow (non-migratory). Van Sickle would use colored cups and place food under a yellow one and mix the order of the cups over lengths of time to see if the birds would learn to overcome the obstacle in finding food among other tests.
Savannah Wicker, 9th grade River Valley High School student, attended the event that day saying her school does their science fair in January. Wicker felt her project was more chemistry related, however, she was classified in the engineering category.
“I was trying to find a household item that would protect an iron nail from rust,” said Wicker. “I took clear nail polish, hairspray and furniture polish and coated that on to plain iron nails. I put those in water. Everyday for seven days I recorded what I saw. In the end, the clear nail polish had protected the iron nail from the rust the best. It wasn’t completely, but there was still about 50 percent of rust on (the nail).”
She added: “I think the nail polish worked the best because it left more of a coat on the nail.”
Wicker said when she is able to go to college she was thinking of studying in the field of zoology or crime scene investigation.
“Science fair really had its roots in the 40s,” said Woytek. “Where it really took off was in the Cold War era. There was a need and importance to be scientifically advanced and technologically superior, so we encouraged kids to follow STEM paths.”
“Everyday you’re studying things and looking at how things work,” said Wicker about why science is important to study. “You’re still trying to figure out how to get things like power from here to there with computers and science is a key thing for you to pretty much understand anything.”
Students can earn good, excellent or superior ratings for their projects and are divided into categories like engineering, medical science, biomolecular sciences and so on.
Van Sickle would walk away as an alternate for the OTTA College Advantage 529 Savings Plan Award.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-46-2342, ext. 2103.