12 Greybull Middle School students advance to Jr. State Science Fair

A dozen Greybull Middle School students will head to Laramie this March to compete in the Jr. State Science Fair. The 12 students competed alongside individuals and teams from Meeteetse, Cody and Powell middle schools in 11 separate categories. Each student who placed either first, second or third in their category will advance to the State competition at the University of Wyoming March 5 – 7, 2017.

Eleven groups were recognized with invites to the compete in the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering Rising Stars) competition — a country-wide science competition open to all sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students. Entries are judged over the summer, with judges selecting 300 top projects by September 6, 2017.

From the 300 MASTERS, 30 finalists and one parent will be selected to win an all-expense-paid trip to the national finals in Washington, DC in order to showcase their projects, compete in teams or visit sites that celebrate innovation through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Three GMS students are eligible to compete in the MASTERS — Noelle Jenness, Isabella Lungren and John Coyne. The three placed in the top 11 overall projects during the regional meet, securing them a sport in the MASTERS.

Jenness’ project “Exploring chromatic filtering as a Visual Aid technology” entailed using different color tints to measure improvements in colorblindness.

“Noelle actually used me as her subject,” said Casey Bowe, GMS science teacher and coordinator of the regional meet. “I’m colorblind so she wanted to help me out. She designed some glasses and we 3-D printed them, putting different colored filters in the lenses. While I was never able to get 100 percent on a test, I was able to improve by 30 percent by using a combination of purple and red filters.” Bowe commended Jenness for her hard work and dedication.

“She worked so hard,” he said, “I’m really happy for her.”

Lungren’s project, “Protecting the Bull Rider’s Spine” which employed a scale model to investigate ways to mitigate spinal injury during bull riding competitions.

“She printed off a scale model of a device that a bull rider would wear,” he said, “it’ll slip through the arms and have a protective beam to support the spine.” Bowe and Lungren modeled a human spine with pasta, allowing Lungren to measure the difference between forces which caused the model to break with and without the support. Bowe praised Lungren’s project for its uniqueness and real-world applicability.

“Let’s pick something that might make a difference,” he said, recalling his suggestion to students when they originally selected their project. “A lot of kids wanted to do ‘cookie-cutter’ things or drink energy drinks and play video games — I try to steer them away from that.”

Coyne’s project, “The effect of grain size on mars rover mobility” attempted to model movement of a mars-rover replica through different terrain. By utilizing grain sifters, Coyne was able to simulate different types of environments — from coarse all the way to superfine.

“He sat out in the long-jump pit and sifted sand for most of the time on his project at school,” Bowe said. “He put in more hours at school into his science fair project than probably any kid I’ve ever had before.”

Bowe said the fair is a good way to spur interest in science and science education among children.

“I think the best thing about the science fair is that you build relationships with people,” he said. “Science is a collaborative endeavor — you don’t have to come up with everything on their own. It’s a great opportunity to work with mentors — that’s the way science really works.”