Seven students from LCPS middle and elementary schools will advance to the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair next month after their projects took honors in regional competition this past weekend in Greenville.
Three of the five middle school students won first-place awards in their categories: Abigal Hull of E.B. Frink Middle, junior bioscience; Amandith Stroud of Woodington Middle, junior physics; and Austin Williams of E.B. Frink Middle, junior engineering and technology.
Other middle school winners were Claire Hollingsworth of E.B. Frink Middle, second place, junior chemistry, and Everett Rouse of E.B. Frink Middle, third place, earth/environmental science.
All five will take their projects to the state competition in Raleigh on March 23-24.
Elementary students representing LCPS at the state level will be Carly Hill of Pink Hill Elementary and Susanna Swindell of Banks Elementary. Susanna won third place in biology and Carly, an honorable mention in physical science.
Riley Hoover of Southwood Elementary won first place in the elementary division of the North Carolina American Water Works and Water Environment Association awards, which came with a cash prize.
Twenty-two students qualified for the regional competition after winning awards at the district level in January.
For Amandith Stroud, this was her first trip to the regionals – but it had also been her first trip to the district science fair, although she’d entered previously at the school level. Now she’s headed to Raleigh. “I’m really nervous,” she said.
She admitted to a case of nerves in Greenville, too, but “I just went through it,” she said of the explanation of her project to the two judges. “I didn’t try to think about it and went through it.”
Her project tested how the strength of a magnet varies with temperature, an experiment that tapped into her longstanding interest in physical science, particularly the Earth’s magnetic fields. “I saw how scientists experimented with magnets in extreme temperatures,” she said.
Amandith tested the strength of a ceramic magnet at four different temperatures – below freezing, freezing, room temperature and boiling. “I tested five times in each temperature to see which temperature would attract the most paper clips.”
The seventh grader hypothesized the magnet heated in boiling water would be stronger “because molecules in a magnet move faster if they’re heated up,” she said. “My hypothesis was partially supported.”
Both extremes — super heat and super cold – produced an equally strong magnet, Amandith discovered.
The quality of other LCPS entries were equally impressive, according to Dr. Amelia McLeod, the district’s director of middle school education. “LCPS had a really good showing,” she said. “We had a great time Saturday.”