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Inquiring minds

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Students let their imaginations wander preparing for area science fairs

By Mike Wright

CITRUS SPRINGS —  Tyler Hadley enjoys roller skating. And like any boy on skates, speed counts.

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“I wanted to skate faster,” Tyler said.

So, he had a choice. He could wish to go faster, or he could take apart his skates and test different ball bearings to see which ones react better to lubricant.

Using different ball bearings found laying around his home, Tyler learned the “bone red” bearing spun the wheel much faster when treated with lubricant.

That made for a much better time at the Roller Barn.

“You want to go as fast as you can,” he said.

Tyler didn’t simply use the skating exercise as a hobby. It was his science fair project at Citrus Springs Middle School.

CSMS had its science fair parent night Dec. 5 in the school library. Across the county, schools are having similar science fairs in preparation for the regional fair Jan. 30 at the Citrus County Auditorium in Inverness.

Eighth-grade science teachers Marissa Ball and Deanna Hadley said the school had 170 projects. They said 35 finalists in nine categories would represent CSMS at the regional fair.

Students have total control over what they decide to submit.

“We lead them through the process,” Ball said. “It’s a great way to teach science inquiry.”

Popular science fair projects included dissolution of medications in the stomach environment.

Eighth-grader Khayilla Louissaint is headed to the regional fair with her project related to how aspirin dissolves in the stomach. Khayilla dissolved aspirin in apple juice, orange juice and Mountain Dew.

The carbonated beverage worked best, meaning that the aspirin dissolved and would go to work faster when taken with Mountain Dew.

Science fair projects are often family affairs. Michelle Edwards helped her seventh-grade daughter Savannah with an experiment on which kinds of soap left germs.

“We talked about it, but she did all the work,” Edwards said.

Using soaps including Dawn and Clorox, Savannah learned the answer by using a black light that showed what the naked eye could not see.

And where did they find a black light? From the soap science project kit, of course, purchased online.

Edwards said her daughter enjoyed the science project.

“The projects are a lot of fun,” she said. “This was one of my favorite projects.”