Science projects harness imaginations of students

Ross Sparrow, an eighth-grader from Tuscumbia Middle School, delivers his presentation to fellow presenters Melinda Groves, at left, and Alyssa Kelly. All were competing in the sectional junior high science fair at Lincoln University on Friday. Groves is an eighth-grader at High Point, and Kelly is a sixth-grader at Latham School. 
Sparrows project was on the effects of triclosan on night crawlers. Triclosan is an ingredient in antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps found in nearly any home. They were each waiting to make their presentation to the judges and practiced on each other.

Ross Sparrow, an eighth-grader from Tuscumbia Middle School, delivers his presentation to fellow presenters Melinda Groves, at left, and Alyssa Kelly. All were competing in the sectional junior high science fair at Lincoln University on Friday. Groves is an eighth-grader at High Point, and Kelly is a sixth-grader at Latham School. Sparrows project was on the effects of triclosan on night crawlers. Triclosan is an ingredient in antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps found in nearly any home. They were each waiting to make their presentation to the judges and practiced on each other. Photo by Julie Smith.

A chance to pursue the classroom curiosity or an avenue to stretch some independent-thought muscles, science research projects generally culminate with the fair — displaying and discussing the hours of investigation.

On Friday, Lincoln University hosted the 29th annual Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the 25th annual meeting of the Central District of the Missouri Academy of Sciences Junior Division, serving middle school and high school students in the paper competitions.

“You can see some great innovations,” said James L. Rooney, Ph.D., director of LU’s regional science fair. “These guys come up with some really clever stuff.”

This year, about 60 high school and about 75 junior high projects registered for Lincoln’s fair.

Winners from both competitions will advance to the next level in their areas.

Among those displaying their scientific method and processes was Jefferson City High School sophomore Radeheya Naik.

As a freshman, Naik went as a spectator to the regional science fair.

That inspired him. And he told science teacher Roger Bergman he had an interest in science research and genetics.

Throughout the summer of 2010, Naik volunteered in a lab at the University of Missouri. Then, he worked on his project “Predatory Behaviors of Podisus Maculiventris” under supervision of his mentor Tom Coudron, a research scientist at the neighboring United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biological Control of Insects Lab.

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