Jan 25, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterFort Washakie School had its science fair recently, and students were awarded in the physical science, biological science and engineering and mathematics categories. The top three qualifiers in each category will move on to compete at the science fair Jan. 28 at Central Wyoming College. They will be representing Fremont County School District 21.
"They followed the scientific process," Fort Washakie science teacher James Williams said. "After they leave here, this is a skill they will take with them; they can use it everywhere."
The junior division consisted of grades 6-8 while the senior division included grades 9-12.
Plaques, medallions, totes, sweaters, messenger bags, gift cards and other items were distributed to recognize the students for their hard work.
First place winners in each category were sixth-graders Sisco Friday, Ann Moralez and Kendall Blossom and high school students Laurina Blackbird and Krystein Baldez.
In Blackbird's project "Crystallization and Temperature" she tested the development of crystals and how cold and hot water affected them. She used salt, sugar and epsom salt.
In "Running Strong" sixth-grader Rae'Chelle Charley tested if running with or without shoes would make a runner run faster. In her hypothesis, she believed running without shoes would make her run faster because there's no added weight to her feet, but in her conclusion she determined running with shoes made her run faster because she could get a better grip and wasn't afraid of hurting herself.
Sixth-grader Nevaeh O'Neal studied density as she tested making rainbows in a glass.
Laney Benally, also a sixth-grader, tested which would evaporate sooner, a soft drink or water. She concluded that because soft drinks have more ingredients, they take longer to evaporate.
Second place winners were sixth-graders Gabrielle St. Clair and Charley and high school students Jamal Tarness and Darin Surrell. Third place winners were sixth-graders O'Neal and Pistol Plentyhoops.
Aside from the first, second and third place recognition, students were awarded other special awards, including participation ribbons.
Special recognition was given to students Tuesday Washakie, Kadence Vasquez, Ashlyne Wagon, Deondre Moon and Kendall Blossom with a certificate of achievement from the University of Wyoming Wind River Extension office. The Bureau of Land Management recognized Blossom for including natural resources in her project. An honorable mention went to St. Clair, Jaren Guina, Antonio Coando and Baldez. The best of show plaques went to Ann Moralez in the junior division and Blackbird in the senior division.
Williams, the organizer of the science fair, said he chose judges from different departments so they could judge different aspects of the projects. He said math teacher Julia Willougy helped judge the mathematical components of each project while librarian Robin Levin judged how well the students researched their topics.
Former graduates and locals also judged the students in how well they performed their experiments, the accuracy of the data they collected, their overall conclusions, the written compositions and oral presentations.
By having the students present their projects to the judges orally, Williams said he can tell which students did the projects themselves and which had their parents do it for them.
"They all did it themselves," he said. "I could tell."
Pat Hnilicka from the Lander U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation office was present to help with the judging and award fishing gear.
"The kids definitely showed a lot of interest in this," he said. "The most important thing is kids have a question, they're curious about something and they go about trying to figure out the answer to that."
Hnilicka said the "excellent" science fair projects were a great way to have fun.
This year's science fair included participation from 27 sixth-grade and high school Fort Washakie students.
"It also has added benefit of building self confidence and self esteem," Williams said. "(It) promotes problem solving and decision making."
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