Science fair attracts less

By Kacie Svoboda

Preparing for a Show — From left, Cooper Timm helps Vicki Prautzsch pour liquid nitrogen into a cooler, while Abigail Oliver helps set up other items for the recent Chemistry Magic Show. This show was put on by Dr. Justin Meyers, a senior lecturer at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. [PN Photo/KACIE SVOBODA]


Attendance at the 2017 Hill City School Science Fair was down this year, with only 61 exhibits and three classroom projects. This was approximately 20 fewer than last year, with the majority of the loss coming from high school participants.

“We only had one-third of the high school exhibits that we had last year and a handful missing from the elementary level,” explained event coordinator Carmen Ronish.

All participating students received a participation ribbon and prize. Those who placed first through fifth received additional prizes donated from Hill City businesses and organizations.

In second grade, Grace Daiss won first place for her project answering the question “which liquid dissolves gummy bears fastest?” She was followed by Blake Winter in second and Josie Williams in third. Kylee Alexander and Jaelyn Peters took first among the third and fourth grade students for their project exafourth-gradet sorbent will remove the most oil from water?” Anna Winter and Leo Daiss followed in second and third respectively. In fifth grade, Natasha Winter won with her project on “what affects the speed of your heartbeat and oxygen levels?” Riley and Mason Wiese took second, while Abby Cutler and Sara DuBois got third place.

In middle school, Corey Fischer won with his project asking, “does music affect people’s moods?” Sabrina Hedge along with Yuritizi and Alondra Lizama took second place.

In high school, Skylar Ross and Taylor Sandven took first place by examining the science behind the water bottle flip. Lydia Raderschadt received second, followed by Ryan Skillingstad and Jeff Gillaspie in third.

In addition, Mrs. Scott’s third grade class beat out the other two class projects by examining if air expands when warmed.

The winning projects were determined by a panel of 28 judges from around the Hill City area — including business owners, retired teachers, Forest Service officials, Sandford Underground Lab personnel, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDM&T) staff and a retired scientist from National Institute of Health.

“There was a lot of knowledge and experience in the Bob Burden gym Thursday night,” said Ronish.

All six of the high school exhibits will be attending this year’s High Plains Science Fair at SDM&T on Tuesday, March 28.

Ronish encourages everyone to keep the science fair alive by planning their 2018 projects now.