Most Viewed Stories
Three Westfield students heading to state science fair
13 Westfield students recognized at County awards ceremony
Three Westfield Elementary students will be traveling in April to the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles, to present their science projects which won sweepstakes, and first or second place honors at the 28th Annual Tulare County Science and Engineering Fair on Feb. 28 in Visalia.
Katie Land and Marvia Cunanan, and Rosemary Chapman — 11-year-old students from Tina Williford’s sixth grade class — had science projects selected from close to 150 presented at the county level.
“We’re very proud of all our students. They put a lot of time and effort into their projects,” said school Principal John Buckley. “Participating in the science fair is good learning. There is a lot of research, science, writing — a lot of facets go into it.”
Chapman’s “The Eggsact Speed of Light” project captured sweepstakes and first place in physical science. Also winning sweepstakes, and a second-place win, was the team of Land and Cunanan with “The Fruit Factor.”
Two other Westfield students, Ridge Schorling and Caleb Melo, also took sweepstakes in the Engineering and Mathematics division with their “Steam Machine” project, however only the top 30 scores qualified for the state competition.
The projects showcased a scientific method — including the testing of a scientific hypothesis by observation and theory in 10 categories — Behavioral and Social Science; Botany; Earth and Space; Engineering and Mathematics; Environmental Science; Medicine and Health; Microbiology and Biochemistry; Physical Science; Product Testing and Materials Science; and Zoology.
“My question was if you can measure the speed of light in a microwave,” Chapman said.
Chapman said she placed egg whites, egg yolks, Sour Patch candy straws and marshmallows in the microwave to test her theory.
“Usually there’s a rotating platter in the microwave to [ensure] food cooks evenly. I removed it so that the food would cook in different areas,” Chapman said.
By spacing the items, in separate tests, six and 12 centimeters apart, she tested by cooking for 10 to 30 second intervals, Chapman said. She then checked for hot spots.
“The distance between these, multiplied by the wave length, then multiplied by the frequency of the microwave, found in the back, gave me 250 million hertz.”
Chapman, who said she loves math, found the project while researching random project ideas and learning that physicist Albert Einstein said he was interested in riding a beam of light.
“So I thought, ‘I wonder if I can measure the speed of light,’” Chapman said.
Land and Cunanan’s project involved testing the ethylene gas levels — a naturally-produced chemical or plant hormone created during the ripening process of many fruits and vegetables — produced by healthy and bruised fruit.
The two students placed four bright green, unripe avocados in separate air-tight containers — two of them purposely dropped and bruised. They hypothesized, or guessed, that the bruised fruit would create more ethylene. But the opposite proved true. After using a small syringe to aspirate the air closest to the fruit, and checking the amount produced using a special litmus-type filter paper.
The projects cinched ribbons, plaques and the opportunity to advance to the state level.
In all, 60 science projects were entered into a school science fair at Westfield, with 25 of them advancing to the county science fair, said Williford.
“The top 30 scores were chosen for interviews with a panel of judges. Of those, the judges picked six for state and two as alternates,” Williford said.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.