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CMS students to compete in regional science fair
science fair
Eighth-graders Collin Davis, Christian Flick Heather Wennersten and Modyes Sutton are four of 37 Camden Middle School students that will compete in the Regional Science Fair on March 23 at the University of South Carolina. This is the most students CMS has ever had participate in the regional science fair. CMS won 18 regional awards last year with only 20 students competing. Each year science fair projects get more complex seventh-grade teacher Crystal Page said. - photo by Miciah Bennett

C-I Web Extra -- Local Contest Winners

Physical Science 7th

First Place - Mya Izzard      

Second Place - Hunter Sanders

Third Place - J.D. Creed and Joseph Murray

Physical Science 8th

First Place - Chance Kahler

Second Place - Ryan Kelly

Third Place - Trace Guy

Physics of Sports 7th

First Place - Will Warnock

Second Place - Lindsay Pierce

Third Place - Abdy Messinedes

Physics of Sports 8th

First Place - Parker Rankin                                                   

Second Place - Will Conder

Third Place - Emma Buchanan

Chemistry 7th

First Place - Meagan Albert

Second Place - Rebekah Wallace

Third Place - Abigail Baytes

Chemistry 8th

First Place - Josiah Altieri

Second Place - Jontre Stuckey

Third Place - Alyssa Gaskins

Medicine & Health 7th

First Place - Katie White

Second Place - Ivan Wennersten

Third Place - Audrey Buchanan

Medicine & Health 8th

First Place - Modyes Sutton

Second Place - Megan Cash

Third Place - Amanda Lane

Behavior & Social 7th

First Place - Alejandra Vergara

Second Place - Nicholas Butler

Third Place - Jacob Arledge

Behavior & Social 8th

First Place - Sarah Barks

Second Place - Shania Steele

Third Place - Anna-Marie Schnese

Zoology 7th

First Place - Taylor White

Second Place - John Cantey

Third Place - William Perry

Zoology 8th

First Place - Collin Davis

Second Place - Delaney McLaughlin

Third Place - Grace Smith

Environmental 7th

First Place - Alexis McLeod

Second Place - Margaret Lackey

Third Place - Laken Bradley

Environmental 8th

First Place - Heather Wennersten

Second Place - Angela Gimmi

Third Place - Morgan Schoolfield

Thirty-seven students from Camden Middle School (CMS) will compete Friday in a regional science fair at the University of South Carolina (USC).

In January, the top 60 students from each grade participated in a local science fair. Experts from INVISTA, Covidian, Kershaw County Hospital, USC and local animal shelters and veterinarian offices acted as judges, picking first, second and third place winners for seventh- and eighth-graders in each of seven categories at the local competition. Students will compete in a total of 13 categories during the regional competition.

Last year, 20 CMS students competed in the regional competition, winning 18 awards. CMS placed third overall, just behind Columbia’s Dent Middle and Spring Valley High schools.

After realizing a high level of interest in the local science fair, CMS added a “physics of sports category” for participating athletes.

“We wanted to broaden it and have more opportunity for the kids to succeed,” said seventh-grade science teacher Elizabeth Butler.

The school’s Parent-Teacher Organization provided prize money for first, second and third place winners. First place winners received $30; second place, $20; and third place, $10. Seventh-graders received medals while eighth-graders took home trophies.

CMS is “very proud of this because it is an academic competition for students that is very worthwhile,” Butler said.

This is the first year CMS will have a representative in almost every category, she said.  Butler, seventh-grade teacher Crystal Page and eighth-grade teachers Valerie Willis and Allison Bullock, give students a lot of hands-on experience in a wide variety of scientific realms before and during the time students work on science fair projects. Knowledge of the subject matter is very important, Butler said.  Science fair projects are assigned in August and are due in November. Students spend about eight to 10 weeks working on a project that places high in the competition.

“Every year we see more complex projects,” Page said.

To place in the local competition, students need a project that is on or above their grade level. There is a website students can access to get ideas for the science fair project. Teachers encourage students to work on projects they are interested in and enjoy. Research, the hypothesis, the scientific method, graphs, data tables and presentation are all a part of the science fair rubric, Page said.

“We try to mirror regionals as much as possible so students will be prepared,” she said.

Friday’s competition will pit CMS students against students from all grade levels at private, public and home schools all over the state.

This year’s Roland Lackey Award in chemistry at the local competition went to Christian Flick. The award is presented in honor of Roland Lackey, a judge from INVISTA who passed away this year.

Flick, 14, decided to see if, and how many, Alka Seltzer tablets or Mentos  it would take to make a wooden fan spin. The eighth-grader didn’t think he would win an award.

Eighth-grader Modyes Sutton, 14, expressed more confidence she might place in the local competition. The “Overall Winner” in the local science fair studied whether fingerprints are inherited.

Two other first place winners, Collin Davis and Heather Wennersten, studied the ability of an old dog to learn new words and associate the words to an object, and air pollution’s effect on our ability to see constellations in the sky.

Eighth graders were allowed to complete a new project or develop one they completed in seventh grade. Flick, Sutton, Davis and Wennersten all completed a new project for this year’s science fair. All four recognize that there will be greater competition at the regionals.

Students “really have to shift gears” for the regional competition, Davis said.

“Every detail counts” Wennersten said.