Some of the greatest scientific minds came together at Hillside High School in Durham, N.C. on Feb 11, 2017.
You might not recognize the names, and there are no Nobel Prize Winners…yet, but hundreds of students came from near and far to participate in the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair Central Regional for region 3A, and Neuse Charter School was there to represent.
Five NCS entries qualified to go to regionals after their school science fair was held in mid-January. Teams represented the charter’s elementary and middle school grades and projects ranged from microbiology to technology.
Students worked as individuals and teams to showcase their projects at the 3A event.
Representing Neuse Charter were the teams of Parker and Sloan Mann (5th/3rd grade), Banks Gaskins and Holly Garrett (5th grade) and James and Joseph Evans (6th grade); and individuals Annabelle Guyader (5th grade) and Sarah Czuba (5th grade).
“This was the biggest class of elementary entries at the 3A science fair ever,” said Barrington Ross, Hillside High School science teacher and organizer of the event.
Ninety-nine entries were judged during regionals in the elementary category. Middle school categories were divided into specific areas. The Evans brothers competed in the area of engineering against eight other teams.
“Our favorite part was showing the judges what we did,” said Joseph Evans. The brothers worked together to build different robots to determine how they would simulate using different softwares.
“It requires a lot of work, but it ends up benefitting us,” Joseph Evans said. “We learned more about our topic. It was fun.”
Holly Garrett and Banks Gaskins presented a project around electricity and conduction using a potato, apple and lemon. Gaskins explained the lemon was able to conduct electricity to make a light bulb glow for a short period of time. Garrett prepared the team by reviewing the judging criteria on the official Website.
Czuba’s project focused on animals, Guyader’s project was on the effectiveness of lip balms and the Mann’s project examined probiotics.
This was the first time for all the Neuse Charter students to present at regionals.
And while none of the NCS entries received honorable mention or placed at this year’s event, Czuba summed up nearly everyone’s sentiments about representing their school. “I’m just excited about being one of the lucky ones chosen for my project.”
The students didn’t walk away empty handed though as the entire day was filled with activities and guest speakers that wowed and informed crowds.
Ecologists from N.C. State and Duke brought displays and talked to students about their studies; many STEM programs and camps were represented and keynote speaker Dr. Gayle Hagler, an engineer with the EPA, talked to the audience about her missions to Greenland, China, and how a regional science fair could help students in the future.
“What you are doing today is about communication,” said Hagler. “Explaining what you do and where you’ll go next with it.”
All the Neuse Charter students hope their next step with science will land them back at regionals again next year where they’ll be excited to showcase what they’ve learned and compete again with some of the best and brightest in that state.