We all have been a little under the weather (literally) for the past two weeks, but while the adults were dealing with snow, driving in the mess, wishing for summer and fighting off the winter blahs, one group of students decided to do something that counted.

Six groups of students heard about the Neosho County Regional Science Fair and decided to work on projects, either with a friend or alone. They had to decide on a project and research it, as well as make a hypothesis and check it. All the participants had the opportunity to advance to the state-level  competition.

• Fourth-graders Kaylee Calcott, Maisie Rich and Lydia Callahan were First Junior Division Champions with their project, “Thumbs Up.” They hypothesized that members of the same family might have the same fingerprints.

• Fifth-graders Morgan Wolzen and Cassidy Williams were Second Junior Division Champions with “Buggy Bacteria.” They  hypothesized which door handle would have the most bacteria in their school. They checked out a custodian’s door knob, the nurse’s door knob and just another door knob in the building. The custodian’s door knob had more than the nurse’s, which would be good for our students, but I’m not sure about the custodians.

• Fourth-grader Kinder Rhodes named his project “Love that Lava.” Kinder thought if he changed the different ingredients of “Lava in a Cup,” it would change the chemical reaction.

• Fifth-graders Wes Kennington and Jacob Gregg chose “Radical Robots” for their project. They built a voice-activated robot and hypothesized how fast the robot would respond to a low, middle or loud voice.

• Fourth-graders Tayhaysha Gibson and Virginia Riri worked on “Find my Friction” by testing the type of plastic that had the most friction.

• Sixth-grader Coby Holland worked on “Help Humpty Dumpty,” trying to find which material would insulate an egg if it was dropped 10 feet.  

I know a lot of work went into these projects, from the students learning to work together, learning to do their part, figuring out what the best hypothesis would be so they could test it, and having the self confidence to do it as a grade-school student.

Congratulations to all who participated. I know they had fun and I’m sure they already are thinking about their projects for next year. It was very exciting to get the monetary prizes, too, I’m sure.

Thank you to the parents for supporting their students. I know the day of competition was not wonderful weather-wise. Another thank you goes to Janet Messinger for being the leader and getting Garfield students interested in science activities. This is just one more example that proves we need many kinds of activities, and testing is not always the most important thing on which to focus.

Patrons, I am sure you will agree we have a whole bunch of winners at Garfield Elementary School. Thank you to Neosho County Community College for sponsoring this activity and working with our schools in such an important way.  

Marge Stevens is an Ottawa school board member.