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University, AMSTI educators judge Columbia Science Fair

Columbia Science Fair winners in sixth grade were (front, from left) Matthew Dennison, Top of Fair; Ward Lenoir, first place, Cole Baker and Nicholas Tortora, second; (back, from left) Justin Mason and Daniel Zhang, third; and Tristan Pettus, honorable mention. (CONTRIBUTED)
Columbia Science Fair winners in sixth grade were (front, from left) Matthew Dennison, Top of Fair; Ward Lenoir, first place, Cole Baker and Nicholas Tortora, second; (back, from left) Justin Mason and Daniel Zhang, third; and Tristan Pettus, honorable mention. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON — Students were questioning, proposing hypotheses and proving evidence with their projects for the science fair at Columbia Elementary School.

More than 70 students in fifth and sixth grades designed projects for the fair. Susan Foreman and Lisa Grice, science teachers for fifth and sixth grade, respectively, coordinate the Columbia Science Fair each year.

“Our judges were from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI),” Foreman said.

Top projects for sixth grade belonged to Matthew Dennison, “Top of the Fair”; Ward Lenoir, first place; Cole Baker and Nicholas Tortora, second place; Justin Mason and Daniel Zhang, third place; and Tristan Pettus, honorable mention.

Fifth-graders could enter projects related to behavioral and social study; biological science; environmental science; and physical science. Sixth- through eighth-graders could pursue additional categories, including chemistry; earth and space science; engineering; math and computers; medicine and health; and plant science.

By participating in the science fair, students must complete research for their projects. “You never know when this research or experimentation might result with an invention or discovery,” Foreman said. “Your project may not always be the best or the winning project, but you will always learn something you didn’t know before you started.”

In addition, Foreman and Grice wanted students to have fun and enjoy their project.

Understanding the scientific method is a primary objective for science fairs. “The science fair is a lot of work for the children and for the teachers,” Foreman said. “We have a ton of paperwork that is required and have a team from the school that approves all projects before the research starts.”

“However, the end results and excitement each year make this experience rewarding not only for the students that participate but for all the children within our school that come and visit the completed projects,” Foreman said.

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