TIPP CITY — The inquisitive leaders of tomorrow showed off their stunning academic prowess during the 6th annual Miami County Science Day, held at Tippecanoe High School on Thursday.
The competition featured 90 projects presented by 105 students, representing seven area school districts, including Bethel, Miami East, Milton Union, Newton, Piqua, Tippecanoe, and Troy.
“We provided this county-level event so that each individual school didn’t have to have their own science fair,” said event co-coordinator Martin English, D.V.M. “A lot of work goes into this event, so we’ve found it works best to offer one big entry-level fair rather than seven small school fairs. We’ll have about $3,600 in rewards given out tonight.”
Participating students worked independently from September through February on a scientific study of their choice. Students were given a timeline of due dates at the start of the school year, and were required to identify a topic of study, conduct scientific research, and present a written research plan with a hypothesis for approval.
Once the project was approved, students were required to test their hypothesis by demonstrable means, and then present the results of their efforts. All projects are extracurricular and self-guided, with science staff providing assistance only when necessary.
“We provide the posterboards for them, and they create a poster display to share their work,” English said.
Individual projects can receive up to 40 points as a perfect score. Dozens of cash prizes, ranging $50-100 were available, with bonus grand prize awards of $200 for the top scorer, and $75 for the second and third place scorers.
Those who received a superior score (36 or higher) at Miami County Science Day will continue to the district level at Edison State Community College on Saturday, March 9, where schools from all throughout the Miami Valley will be represented.
“If the last couple years are any indication, we’re expecting 140-150 projects at Edison,” English said.
“I’m participating in Science Day this year, because the social sciences are something that are very interesting to me, and I wanted to do a project I wouldn’t normally get to do in my everyday life,” said Troy High School sophomore Jessica Blount. “I think it’s really rewarding to see what everyone else came up with here, and the knowledge they all put into their projects.”
Tippecanoe fifth grader Carson Jackson, who studied linear magnetic propulsion with fifth grader Elias Steinecker, said, “In California, they’re developing hyperloops, which is a better and safer way of transportation that doesn’t use as many fossil fuels. We thought that was really interesting, and would be really helpful to the world’s environment.”
“I’d say the most rewarding part of the process was the experiment,” Steinecker said. “It was really fun working together, conducting the experiment, writing down all the data, and getting our averages.”
According to English, students who participate in Science Day recieve multiple immediate benefits, including both monetary reward for their efforts, as well as the honing of skills that will assist them in their higher education and careers.
“This program was set up in 1949, and the current science curriculum standards in Ohio include almost every element of the science fair process,” English said. “It demonstrates how to do scientific research, and many other things these kids will have to know how to do throughout their lives.”
Another benefit English cited for participating students is networking.
“We have judges here from Premier, Abbott, Adare Pharmaceuticals, doctors, engineers from Emerson, people from Goodrich — some of these kids develop professional relationships just from judges talking to them. They will benefit from that when they go to college, and some even establish jobs and internships before they get to college.”
The 6th annual Miami County Science Day was sponsored by the Upper Miami Valley STEM Education – committee, and is affiliated with the Ohio Academy of Science.
For more information, visit www.ohioumvsd.com.