Columbia students impress judges at state science fair

Columbia Elementary School students earning honors at the state science fair are Joshua Murphree, front from left, Brianna Hurst, Minh Phan, Caila Batchelor, back from left, Taylor Tibbs, Jack Gjesvold and Brett Eason. (CONTRIBUTED)
Columbia Elementary School students earning honors at the state science fair are Joshua Murphree, front from left, Brianna Hurst, Minh Phan, Caila Batchelor, back from left, Taylor Tibbs, Jack Gjesvold and Brett Eason. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Aspiring zoologists, environmentalists and chemists at Columbia Elementary School excelled at the Alabama Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

For botany/zoology, Caila Batchelor received a special award as “Best in Show” from The Boeing Company and honorable mention. “Caila’s project exhibited outstanding knowledge, due to her excellent visual and verbal representation of her work,” fifth-grade science teacher Lisa Grice said.

“Caila discussed her project clearly and thoroughly … and with mastery of the skills involved in completing the work,” Grice said.

“I was interested in bacteria and their relationships with other organisms,” Batchelor said. “Since my mother has a vegetable garden, I wanted to know how the presence or absence of bacteria would affect growth of her sugar snap peas.”

Taylor Tibbs received a special award from the U.S. Army.

Columbia students also receiving honorable mention were Tibbs, Brett Eason, Jack Gjesvold, Brianna Hurst, Joshua Murphree and Minh Phan.

Tibbs’ project, “How Does Music Make You Feel?,” determined the effect of different music tempos on people. “I became interested in this when my mom told me that my music gives her a headache. I wondered if music tempo affects my mom, would it also affect others?” Tibbs said.

Eason experimented on temperature changes on the strength of a magnet. Gjesvold’s project chose “Parachutes … Does Size Matter?” after watching a TV show about parachuting military troops. “Smaller parachutes brought items down more quickly,” Eason said.

Hurst studied organic versus chemical (manmade) soil and found “chemical soil allowed plants to grow faster. Organic soil allowed plants to be much healthier.”

Murphree used “Faster to the Finish” to find caffeine’s effect on adult runners. Phan studied wind turbines and generation of electricity with “Make the Wind Work for You.”

“We’re so amazed at how passionate and knowledgeable our children are about their topics,” Grice said. “They’re really developing into great researchers and scientists. We’re proud of each of them.”

Sixth-grade science teacher also Diane Blackwood assisted with fair projects.

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