Dickinson High School students headed to state science fairFive Dickinson High School students have qualified to compete at the state science and engineering fair after having their projects judged at the Southwest Central Regional Science Fair on March 14 in Mandan.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Five Dickinson High School students have qualified to compete at the state science and engineering fair after having their projects judged at the Southwest Central Regional Science Fair on March 14 in Mandan.
Members of the DHS Science Club, the students are Luke Ensign, Lisa Yang, Shayna Dvorak, Alyssa Selinger and David Fehr.
“The fair really encourages the scientific process, critical thinking skills and independent study,” Science Club advisor CaraLee Heiser said.
Heiser, who teaches chemistry and physics, said not all the students are enrolled in her classes.
“We worked after school and on weekends, but they did all the work outside of class,” she said.
All five of the DHS entries qualified for state. It was the first science fair competition for four of the students, she said.
Heiser sees the value in science research and competition as a resume-builder. Students at the state level have opportunities to win scholarships, monetary awards, plaques and certificates.
“From the state level, they qualify to go on to nationals,” she added.
The students and their projects were:
r Alyssa Selinger, “Stoichiometric Application of the Briggs-Rauscher Oscillating Reaction,” chemistry division.
“I studied concentrations of an oscillating reaction — from reaction to product and back to reaction again,” Selinger said. “It’s reactions in the lab — it’s an off-the-wall thing.
It took her several months to run the trials with the concentrations and create the display board.
“It was fun to study — I did learn a lot about my project in general,” she said.
r Shayna Dvorak, “The Comparative Analysis of the Isolation of Cinnamaldehyde Through the Methods of Solvent Extraction and Steam Distillation,” chemistry category.
“I wanted to determine what method worked better to isolate cinnamaldehyde from cinnamon — steam distillation or solvent extraction,” she said. “Cinnamaldehyde is really the part of cinnamon that gives its smell.”
She learned the steam distillation method was more practical — it gave a higher yield than the other method.
“It’s a really fun experience — I love science and chemistry and I love being in the lab,” she said.
r David Fehr, “Evaluation of Different Alloys of Carbon Steel Trusses Used in a Truss Bridge Design,” engineering category.
“I wanted to find out if carbon steel, tempered steel or high-strength low alloy steel was strongest,” Fehr said. “I used the West Point Bridge Designer software on my computer. I compared them on the same design and also combined those metals as solid bars and hollow tubes.”
After running six trials, he learned all three sources of steel held up well, but the carbon steel was the most cost-effective, he said.
r Lisa Yang, “Effects of Spin Stabilization on the Altitude of Model Rockets,” energy and transportation category.
“Basically, spin stabilization is like a top or a football — when you spin it faster, it’s more stable,” Yang said.
She applied spin tabs on the rockets and learned the angle of spin tabs produced a greater spin, thus making the rocket more accurate. However, the tabs produced more drag so they did not fly as high.
She used a clonometer to measure the distance the rockets flew and mathematics to complete the equations.
Yang said she chose this project to study because of her interest in physics and aerospace.
r Luke Ensign, “Buzz Kill: The Compared Electrical Usage of Two Systems for Gaming Purposes,” computer science.
Ensign wanted to learn which system — a Wii game system or a desk-top computer — would use less energy to operate a game.
“I found out the Wii used about 6 1/2 times less energy,” he said.
Ensign used a watt meter to measure the electrical energy. He ran 10 games on each system, making sure the games were comparable.
“I found the difference between the two systems was enough to probably pay for a Wii within a year,” he said.
“I found the experiment as a whole was fun, but unexpectedly the testing was not fun,” Ensign added. “Testing for exactly the same amount of time became stressful.”
The North Dakota State Science and Engineering Fair is Thursday and Friday at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.