By SARAH BECKELHEIMER
For The Independent
FALLSBURG — Fallsburg and Blaine student,s grades fourth through eighth grade, competed Wednesday at the inaugural Lawrence County Science Fair to determine who would move on to the FIVCO Science and Engineering Fair Saturday.
Craig McDavid is a science teacher at Fallsburg Elementary School. He conducted the Lawrence County Science fair with the help of Gifted and Talented program director Dina Chaffin and FIVCO Science and Engineering Fair Director Dr. Barbara Walters.
Walters was a professor of McDavid’s in college. She approached him with the idea to host the fair for Lawrence County.
“I’m super proud of him,” Walters said. “He’s gotten a tremendous response.”
Walters said the main purpose of the science fair is to teach students how to put the scientific method to practical use.
“I know they’re still in elementary school,” Walters said. “But I believe teaching students to perform their experiments and explain them to others using the scientific method prepares them to someday earn their doctorate.”
Zoe Cordial is a Fallsburg student who participated in the fair. She says she learned many things while working on her experiment, but viewing other students’ projects was even more informative.
“You can look at somebody else’s project and learn about what they did,” Cordial said.
“It gives you a guide for how to do some of these other experiments in the future.”
Fannie Cantrell’s son, Brody, participated in the fair. She says he has learned a lot from the experience.
“He’s always been into science and I think this has increased his interest,” Fannie Cantrell said. “He’s learned some things he might not have learned without this science fair.”
Walters says she believes science fairs prevent students from losing their ability to question.
“You need that in a number of fields - medicine, technology, building construction,” Walters said. “You need that person who says, ‘I think there’s a better way to do this.’”
One student did a project that would affect his family’s income.
“I wanted to find out if we should feed our cows grain or grass,” Ethan Music said.
Music’s family raises cows for profit. He used the science fair to test what food would result in a larger cow and therefore a larger income.
“Now I know we should use grain when feeding our calves,” Music said. “It’s cool to know you can take something like science and apply it to your everyday life.”
McDavid said he expects this to be the first of many annual science fairs for Lawrence County.
“This is a wonderful turnout, an amazing group of kids,” McDavid said. “Everybody’s had a lot fun. It’s been a great learning experience.”
All students placing first or second in the Lawrence County Science Fair are eligible to compete in the FIVCO Science and Engineering Fair Saturday at ACTC.
Projects will be available for public viewing from noon until 1:30 on ACTC’s Roberts Drive Campus.