PIQUA — Students grades 5-12 across four counties came together to showcase the fruits of their scientific labor at the Upper Miami Valley District No. 1 Science Day, held at Edison State Community College on Saturday.
It is the fourth year the institution has hosted the event, representing qualifying students from Champaign, Darke, Miami, and Shelby counties, which make one of 17 competing districts across Ohio.
“Edison has been very supportive in providing the facility and setting things up,” said council co-chairman Martin E. English, DVM. “They’ve been very helpful, and are a great host institution.”
Approximately 142 students were in attendance to present 117 qualifying projects. All participating students received a ‘Superior’ score at the county-level science day event nearest to their respective school district. Each county held its own public fair event, along with independent fairs at Lehman High School, Holy Angels in Sidney, Piqua Catholic School, St. Patrick School in Troy, and St. Marys and Decolores Montessori in Greenville.
Scores were considered ‘Superior’ on individual projects receiving a 36 or higher out of 40, or team projects receiving a 45 or higher out of 50.
Competition scoring at the district level was gauged the same as lower tiers, and those who place in the ‘Superior’ bracket at the Edison venue will qualify to continue to state level.
“We try to assign judges based upon their background, so that when they’re judging the project, they have some knowledge on that topic,” English said. “That allows them to ask the right questions and understand what the students have presented.”
English confirmed that between each tier of the competition, participants were able to make adjustments to their project within contest rules.
“When they are judged at the county level, it’s stressed that the judges write comment on the scoring sheets,” English said. “Those comments might include recommendations for improvements to their presentation. That might be their oral presentation, their written presentation, or the display board. It’s up to the students whether they want to make those improvements, but they are permitted to do so.”
Eligible categories for Science Day entrants include animal science, behavioral and social sciences, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, embedded systems and software systems, energy, material sciences, mathematics, mechanical engineering, medicine and health sciences, microbiology, physics and astronomy, plant science, and robotics and intelligent machines.
“We made changes based on our control group,” said sophomore Paige Deere, of Urbana High School, who conducted a study on credibility in journalism with sophomore Raegan Hepp. “Judges said it would be better if we had more control group data, so we considered that and talked about it in our presentation. We’ve loved working together and seeing the results for everything was really interesting.”
“The feedback you get is really nice,” said eighth-grader Brandon Jones, of Holy Angels in Sidney. “You get a lot of feedback on your experiment, the research you’ve done, the data you get, and the judges are really nice about recognizing the work.”
“This is my fourth year,” said senior Alec Barga, of Versailles High School. “It’s a good way to get in-depth experience on how data is found and how we can apply that data. That’s the definition of science, of course, but it helps us learn it through a whole new perspective, rather than just a text book.”
Following judging and public viewing, an awards ceremony designated trophies and awards to winning entrants, sponsored by various businesses and organizations throughout the Upper Miami Valley area. More than $8,000 in cash prizes was distributed with awards, including five scholarships toward credit at Edison.
“I know of students who have gotten into college with free tuition or scholarships largely based upon the research they’ve done in this competition,” English said . “This allow students to engage with future professors and employers, and the experience looks great on a resume, too.”
Those who received a ‘Superior’ at the district level will continue on to the state competition, which will be held Saturday, May 11 at the Ohio State University in Columbus.
Upper Miami Valley District No. 1 Science Day is affiliated with the Ohio Academy of Science State Science Day.
For more information, visit www.edisonohio.edu, or www.ohiosci.org.