More than 300 middle and high school students from 12 Central Georgia communities will compete at Georgia College’s 43rd Annual Regional Science & Engineering Fair from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Centennial Center.
Teachers and their students, grades six through 12, will attend the competition from Baldwin, Bibb, Hancock, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, Monroe, Putnam, Twiggs, Washington and Wilkinson counties. The state’s only science fair for kindergarten through fifth grade will be Thursday, March 12, at Georgia College.
“Preparing and competing at a science fair of this magnitude is a great investment of time and energy that produces amazing rewards for our students,” said Dr. Catrena Lisse, director of the Science Education Center.
“It has the potential to open doors to career opportunities, improve communication skills and increase scientific knowledge. Every year, I am amazed at what the youth of our community can accomplish,” she said.
Every year, about 125 Georgia College students volunteer to help, along with about 100 faculty, staff and students serving as judges. The university’s regional and state fairs showcase dozen of categories with projects ranging from astronomy to translational medicine. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) promotes skills in collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, communication and confidence.
This year, projects include:
•Investigating the decay of tooth and bone from orthodontic appliances by a ninth grader from Stratford Academy in Macon;
•The effects of Cobalt, mainly used in batteries, on small planktonic crustaceans by an 11th grader at Mary Persons High School in Forsyth;
•Identifying dangerous chemicals found in most popular e-cig and e-juice products that target youth by a 12th grader at Jasper County High School;
•Comparing benefits and health risks of coagulation (blood clotting) by a 9th grader at Georgia College Early College;
•and a forensic investigation to build an efficient chamber for lifting finger prints by a 7th grader at Howard Middle School.
New team-building competitions this year include a “Flying Fish” obstacle course and building Rube Goldberg machines—designed to perform simple tasks in a hilariously over-complicated way. Teacher workshops will be held in subjects like “Women in Space” and “How to Incorporate STEM Into the Classroom.” Parents will get tips on how to relieve science-project stress and help create successful experiments.
Tours will be offered at Georgia College’s STEM facilities. There’ll be tours of Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion and Andalusia, as well.
The fair is open to the public from 1 to 3 p.m. An awards ceremony will be at 5 p.m. in Russell Auditorium.
Top-ranking middle and high school projects move on to the state Georgia Science and Engineering Fair March 26-28 in Athens. The high school grand prize winner gets an all-expense-paid trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair May 10-15 in Anaheim, Calif.
“These are topics our youth are passionate about, and they may have direct impact on our communities,” Lisse said. “Come and show your support and cheer these kids on.”