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Flaming ice cubes, killer cigarettes and collapsing clay

Jan 31, 2012 - By Christina George Staff Writer

After researching science project ideas on the Internet, Gia Gray felt she had found the perfect one.

"Flaming ice cubes" asks what will attract the most heat to melt an ice cube: aluminum foil, wood chips or black construction paper.

The Lander Middle School student hypothesized that it would be the foil. After conducting her experiment she learned that two out of three times foil was the fastest ice melter. Wood chips were the other material that seemed to get the job done.

"It sounded fun," Gray said. "It took about a month to do. But I feel I could have done a better job."

Gray's project earned her a second-place win in the physics and astronomy division at Monday's North Central Regional Science Fair in the Robert A. Peck Arts Center at Central Wyoming College in Riverton.

The sixth-grader's project was among 69 created by students vying for a spot at the state competition in March at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. The top three winners in each category will move on to the next contest.

Three schools

Beginning at 8 a.m., science projects created by Lander, Riverton and Wind River students were judged by CWC professors, students and community members.

The project categories were animal science, biochemistry, behavioral and social sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth and planetary science, energy and transportation, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials and bioengineering, environmental management, mathematical science, medical and health sciences, microbiology, physics, astronomy and plant sciences.

CWC Earth and physical science instructor and science fair organizer Suki Smaglik said that although the event is open to kids in grades 6-12, the fair typically only sees students in sixth through ninth grades.

"Kudos for your projects," Smaglik told the group of students eager to hear how their projects faired. "Hopefully you have learned something from doing this."

This year's experiments were full of creativity.

Bridger Kimber of Lander sought to find out what type of soil was more prone to collapsing. After following the scientific method, he learned it was clay.

There were investigations about adhesives, hand soaps, best products for plant growth and what brand of cigarette killed faster.

Another student's project asked if the majority of people who have had a heart attack eat white or wheat bread. The answer was white bread.

"This is pretty neat," CWC staff member Jeremy Hughes said as he wandered around looking at all of the different projects. "They came up with a lot of good stuff."

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