Big crowd — scientifically speaking

By Emily Crowe and Lillian Bowe

CMI staff writers

From figuring out the best way to shoot a basketball to testing which type of coin has more energy when used as a battery, young students from the region put their best scientific foot forward Saturday in Portales.

Lillian Bowe: Portales  News-Tribune Madeline Howalt, a sixth- grader at Gattis Middle School, waits by her science fair display for questions from judges. Howalt’s experiment was on how much energy different coins exert as batteries.

Lillian Bowe: Portales
News-Tribune
Madeline Howalt, a sixth- grader at Gattis Middle School, waits by her science fair display for questions from judges. Howalt’s experiment was on how much energy different coins exert as batteries.

Students, teachers, parents and judges converged on Eastern New Mexico University as part of the 56th annual Southeastern New Mexico Regional Science Fair.

The fair featured competitors in grades six through 12 and is held to encourage students from different academic fields to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math.

This year’s fair included more than 200 projects, the largest showing in more than a decade.

Many students from Curry and Roosevelt counties shared what experiments they conducted and their experience at the fair.

For Sydney Cotton, a sixth-grader at Gattis Middle School, although she was required to do a science fair project, she said she enjoyed her experience.

Cotton’s experiment involved extracting casein protein from milk and testing its strength.

Gattis sixth-grader Hanna Davis’ experiment was on the other side of the science spectrum. It dealt with human behavior.

“I had my test subjects associate the words bouba and kiki to shapes. Most of them picked round shapes for bouba because they think of bubbles and most picked sharp shapes for kiki,” Davis said.

Davis said she has learned a lot from her experiments and not just about science.

“Sometimes I talk too fast, but having to present in front of many judges I have learned to talk at a normal speed,” Davis said.

Constance Perez, a freshman at Portales High School, said it was fun figuring out what experiment she wanted to do.

Perez had people read name colors on an index card to see if the color of the words affected how the person read the card out loud.

“I had a card that said red, but the color of the words was blue,” Perez explained.

Portales High science teacher Rebekah Mitchell had several of her honor biology students participate at the regional science fair.

“It has been a blast coming to the fair and they have been having fun,” Mitchell said.

 

By the numbers

7: Counties involved, including De Baca, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Curry, Eddy, Chaves and Lea.

13: Area schools represented.

70: Local judges consisting of professors, graduate students and community professionals.

208: Projects presented at the fair.

245: Student exhibitors present.

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