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At the Fair

Long-time Science Buddies' intern, Justin Spahn was on hand at this year's CCCSEF as a volunteer judge. While visiting student projects, Justin took the following photos of some of the fair winners with their display boards.

Blake Marggraff and Matthew Feddersen, Acalanes High School, 12th grade, "Simulated Treatment of Cancer with Photoelectric Effect-Produced Secondary Radiation" (biology), "Best in Science Fair," Senior Division Grand Award Sweepstakes, and First Place

Nicholas Paz, De La Salle High School, 10th grade, "Coral Pollution: Effects of Tricaine Methane Sulfonate on Seriatopora Coral" (environmental science), Senior Division Grand Award Sweepstakes and First Place

Vipul Kashyap, Deer Valley High School, 9th grade, "Software Complexity Measurement" (computer science), First Place

Science Buddies in Action

While walking around CCCSEF, Justin also spotted several award-winning projects based on Science Buddies Project Ideas!

Madison Martin, Adams Middle School, 8th grade, "Double or Triple Scoop: How Different Blade Sizes and Types Affect a Savonius Wind Turbine's Energy Output"(engineering), Junior Division Grand Sweepstakes Winner and First Place

Olivia Quadros and Janice Nam, Adams Middle School, 8th grade, "Measuring Knee Stress With A Mechanical Model" (biological science), Third Place

Tesla Fox, Adams Middle School, 7th grade, "Air Cannon Vortex" (physical science), Third Place

David Avunanya, Deer Valley High School, 12th grade, "Lunar Crater Counting" (physical science), Honorable Mention

Blake Marggraff and Matthew Feddersen were a "sweeping" success at the Contra Costa County Science & Engineering Fair" (CCCSEF) last month. The duo of 12th graders from Acalanes High School won first place in their grade, a "Senior Division Grand Award Sweepstakes," and "Best in Science Fair" honors for their biology project entry, "Simulated Treatment of Cancer with Photoelectric Effect-Produced Secondary Radiation."

Marggraff and Feddersen moved on to the California State Science Fair (CSSF) and will represent the CCCSEF at the Intel ISEF in May. The team also garnered special awards, including cash prizes for the "California Society for Biomedical Research," "Bio-Rad: Senior Division—Best in Biological," and "John Muir Health: Excellence in Potential for Improving Healthcare in the Future" special awards.

Nicholas Paz, a 10th grader at De La Salle High School, also won a first place award and a "Senior Division Grand Award Sweepstakes" for his environmental science project, "Coral Pollution: Effects of Tricaine Methane Sulfonate on Seriatopora Coral."

A Growing Fair

A survey of the projects that won awards (first-fourth, honorable mentions, and/or special awards) indicates the high caliber of scientific exploration represented at the fair, exploration, in many cases, that mirrors areas of hot scientific inquiry and pursuit for today's researchers. The quality of submissions at CCCSEF also reflects the growth of the Northern California fair, now in its sixth year.

According to April Treece, director of the CCCSEF, there were a record number of projects and a record number of students who participated in the 2011 event. "There were 120 projects and 142 student participants this year," says Treece. "We had 6 high schools and 8 middle schools participating," she adds, noting that two new high schools and one new middle school participated this year.

For CCCSEF officials, the upward trend—and continued support from the community and local corporations, including Bio-Rad and Chevron—is exciting. CCCSEF's growing numbers of science fair participants also potentially indicates growing interest in science literacy—together, teachers, communities, families, involved corporations, and organizations like Science Buddies are doing something right!


The following projects won first place recognition at the 2011 CCCSEF:

Student(s)  Project/CategorySchool/Grade

Madison Martin  "Double or Triple Scoop: How Different Blade Sizes and Types Affect a Savonius Wind Turbine's Energy Output"
  Adams Middle School, 8

Andrew Johnson & Matthew VanderKlugt  "Hot n Cold"
Physical Science
  Holy Rosary, 8

Vipul Kashyap   "Software Complexity Measurement"
Math/Computer Science
  Deer Valley High School, 9

Nicholas Paz  "Coral Pollution: Effects of Tricaine Methane Sulfonate on Seriatopora Coral"
Environmental Science
  De La Salle High School, 10

John Jankowski  "How Do Omega 3 Fatty Acids Affect Cell Membrane Strength?"
Biological Science
  De La Salle High School, 10

Blake Marggraff & Matthew Feddersen  "Simulated Treatment of Cancer with Photoelectric Effect-Produced Secondary Radiation"
Biological Science
  Acalanes High School, 12

Andrew Clausen  "Singers vs Instrumentalists: A Test of Relative Pitch Sense"
  Deer Valley High, 12

Special Awards

At Science Buddies, we encourage students selecting and conducting science fair projects to explore special awards that may be available at local fairs and competitions. At CCCSEF, there were 30+ special awards up for grabs, including the following "Innovation" awards presented by Chevron, one of the fair's key sponsors:

  • Chevron Innovation Award, Sr Division: Yasamin Haider, Deer Valley, "The Effects of Time on the Orbits of Globular Clusters"

  • Chevron Innovation Award, Sr Division: David Avunanya, Deer Valley, "Lunar Crater Counting"

  • Chevron Innovation Award, Sr Division: Jackson Schleider, Deer Valley, "The 'Hydrosphere': Responsible Efficiency in Water Bottles"

Congratulations to all who participated!

(Chevron sponsors the geology interest area at Science Buddies.)

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies and Autodesk for Student STEM Exploration

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School and family science weekly spotlight: What happens when you heat up or cool down a bunch of molecules? Do rubber bands behave as you might expect?

This year, give your hardboiled eggs a twist and turn ordinary ovoid hardboiled eggs into fun shapes! The trick to the transformation is understanding the science behind the process of hardboiling.

School and family science weekly spotlight: mix up your own bubbly drink and experiment to find just the right combination of ingredients.

As winter turns to spring, farmers are preparing to plant this year's crops. For some, tilling their fields is a thing of the past.

Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!

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