Monday, February 27, 2012

Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair

This past weekend, I had the honor of being a judge at the annual Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at Fair Park. There, over 1000 middle and high school students from across the metropliex congregated to show their projects, with the winners in the competition advancing to the state competition that will be held in San Antonio, with the top seniors advancing to the international science fair.

I asked to be a judge in the environmental management division among the middle school students, and was extremely impressed with all of the submissions I judged.

The first place went to Katrina Druffner at All Saints Catholic School, who demonstrated a filtration method for removing copper and other heavy metals out of water using banana peels and lemon rinds. In many developing countries, particularly around areas with metal mines, potable water is difficult to find that isn't contaminated with heavy metal content. Her project demonstrated the effect of the negative ion charges from fruit that could be found in those regions as a way to help filter out those contaminants. In addition, Katrina won the junior division in the United States Naval Science Award.

Among the other projects that I assessed that would be of interest to those who follow Live 2 Live Green here in Plano:

- What type of human hair is most efficient in cleaning up automobile oil spills? (Wavy brunette hair is three times as effective as straight black hair and superior to blond hair). This project garnered an honorable mention and was won by Yingyan Ho and Jerry Liu, two students from Rice Middle School here in our own Plano, Texas.

- Are water turbine blades that are straight generate more power than turbine blades with individual cups? (Blades with cups generate twice the power than straight turbine blades). This project was also an honorable mention awardee from Reagan Cantrell at Schimelpfenning Middle School.

- Which types of worms were more efficient in creating the most compost? (It turns out that red worms were superior to earthworms, creating twice as much compost per weight).

- Which types of commercial mulch retained the most water among 30 different brands (Scott'sbrand Deep Forest Brown), although Texas Pure was also ranked high for it's water retention properties as well!

In all, I was very impressed to see the ingenuity among the student submissions I judged and was glad to see the interest among our youth in trying to find ways to help protect our environment.

Good luck to those who advance to the state competition, and for those who want to see more details on the science fair, please go to the following link:

The Sustainability Steward

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