Third annual Baker Science Fair

The third annual Baker Science Fair was held on Jan. 25, 2017 for students in grades 10-12.

By Linda Rost

The third annual Baker Science Fair was held on Jan. 25, 2017 for students in grades 10-12. The fair is under the direction of science teacher Linda Rost, and had a total of 68 students competing with 35 projects.

For many students, this was their second or third year competing, and they were able to develop very intricate and well-designed experiments. Students spent time deciding on their project ideas, identifying their variables, and conducting the experiment. Then, they analyzed the data with graphs, wrote results and conclusions, and constructed their board. By doing this, they are doing what scientists do: asking questions, designing an experiment to test their hypothesis, finding patterns, analyzing and communicating their results.

The projects were then divided into three topic categories: Psychology, Biology and Physical Science. Judges from the community were invited to listen to student presentations, evaluate the projects using a rubric, and decide on placings, including a grand prize for each category.

For the Psychology category, the judges were public health department administrator and school nurse Kim Cuppy and science teacher Britney Lyson. They awarded the grand prize to juniors Maddie Reddick and Amber Durden for their project “Gender Differences in Body Language Interpretation.” They found that males were slightly better at interpreting body language, but the difference was not significant. This rejected their hypothesis because they thought females would detect body language better.

Science teachers Alison Enos and Wayne Mangold judged the Biology category and awarded grand prize to senior Ellen Widell and junior Katelynn Afrank for their project entitled “Hearing Aid.” They measured the decibels of hearing loss for individuals in four different age groups, with about ten people in each age group, and produced an audiogram from each test. They found that individuals younger than 40 have better hearing, and hearing starts to decline after that age.

Community members Dean Wang and Jay Rost judged the Physical Science category, and had a variety of projects in the fields of Chemistry and Physics. Their grand prize winners were seniors Samantha Smith and Taiken Goerndt, for their project, “Protection Against Heat and Light by Cotton Fabric.” They found that although dark fabric colors absorb more heat, they also transmit less heat to the skin, so they serve better for skin protection from sunlight. In short, if you wear black on a hot day, you will be hot, but you won’t be sunburned!

Other notable topics included measuring the energy from adiabatic compression of hydrogen gas, developing a homemade gaming system, measuring muscle activity while stretching muscles, testing the effectiveness of hand sanitizer, determining whether exercise can promote learning, and how prairie dogs affect rangelands, among many others.

Top students from this fair have the opportunity to compete at the regional Billings Science Expo in March. One top winner from that fair will compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, CA, the premier high school science competition in the world. Recent Baker graduate Lauren Wang competed at this fair in 2015 with her project on “The Effect of Human Voice on Cattle Heart Rate.”

Baker High School also has a Science Research class where students develop very in-depth, novel experiments on a topic of their choice, and compete at the regional fair, as well as the State Science Fair in Missoula, also in March. Three projects advance on from Missoula to compete at Intel ISEF. There, approximately 1,700 students compete from around the globe for over $4 million in prizes.

Psychology  Judges: Kim Cuppy and Britney Lyson

Ashley Rost and Maryssa Rusley, Effect of Age on Memory, 1st; Breanna Miller, Cameron Mackay and Alex Bohle, How do impaired senses affect taste?, 2nd; Emi Fujimori, Is Color Is Universally Perceived?, 2nd; Amber Durden and Maddie Reddick, Gender Differences in Body Language Interpretation, 1st – GRAND PRIZE; Casey Wyrwas and Bernadette Branson, Gum That Improves Memory, 3rd; Aaron Smith and Jon Weimer, Rubik’s Cubes and Distractions, 2nd; Tyler Dinardi and Trevor Lingle, The Effects of Colors on the Heart Rate, 3rd; Wrenzi Wrzesinski and Laylah Dulin, Exercise’s Effect, 1st; Tesla Erickson, Visual vs Auditory Memory, 3rd; Sierra Talkington, MeKenzie Lee and Alexis Lappen, Finding Bias in Photo Lineups, 3rd.

Biology and Health Science Judges: Alison Enos and Wayne Mangold – 11:00-3:30

Lexi Hartse and Scotti Robinson, Effect of Stretching on Muscle Activity, 1st; Jayden Allen and Maleah Graham, How Effective is Your Hand Sanitizer?, 1st; Bradley Kallevig and Hunter Mashak, Effects of Different Types of Lights on Plants , 3rd; Courtney Tudor and Hannah Gonsioroski, Effect of Sports Drinks on Blood Sugar During Exercise in Diabetics, 2nd; Keegan Kary, The Effect of Coke on the CO2 levels in the Lungs, 1st; Ellen Widell and Katelynn Afrank, Hearing Aid, 1st – GRAND PRIZE; Devon Solberg, The Effects of Prairie Dogs on Grasslands, 3rd; Jordan Schwindt, Subependymal Heterotopia Brain vs Normal Brain, 2nd; Damien Smith and Sean Shelhamer, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and Alzheimer’s Disease Similarities and Differences, 2nd; Kaitlynn Cunningham, Chantel Tronstad and Mikenna Wyrick, Process of Osmosis, 3rd; Kelsey Miller, Rexx Wiman and Caelen Rehm, Do Musicians Have Better Hearing?, 3rd.

Physical Science Judges: Jay Rost and Dean Wang

Cleet Wrzesinski, Raspberry Pi, 1st; Isaac Nemitz, Hydrogen Power, 2nd; Taiken Goerndt and Samantha Smith, Protection Against Heat and Light by Cotton Fabric, 1st – GRAND PRIZE; Haylee Barkley, Anna Espeland and Jaden Miller, Measurement of Calories within Packaged Food, 1st, Sheyanne Janeway and Mariah Miller, Electrolytes in Drinks, 1st; Angus Lund and Javon Degrand, Firefighting Subwoofers, 3rd; Cooper Lund and Summitt Wiman, The Effects of Octane on Fire, 2nd; Noah Debuhr, Harnessing Electricity from Electromagnetic Waves, 2nd; John Stutts, Flame Tube, 3rd; Madison Moore and Savanah Burkhalter, The Testing of Different Liquids with Different Desiccants, 2nd; Terrell Koenig, Sean Loutzenhiser and Logan Wyrick, How to Make a Lightsaber, 3rd; Lilly Hanson and Megan Smith, Quality of Low-End to High-End Water Brands, 1st, Riley Schultz and JC Ayers, Boiling points of different types of water at different pressures, 3rd.