RH scientists display their expertise

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Ever wonder if singing to your plants will do any good? Think a food's color can affect its perceived flavor? Need to stop an annoying snorer?

If you've ever considered those questions or more, one need look no further than the Rock Hill Middle School gymnasium - at least on Monday, that is.

The basketball court was transformed into a scientific field in which tiny seeds of scrutiny were planted by small hands as judging for the school's annual science fair got under way.

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More than a dozen volunteer judges from all walks of life devoted the morning to helping judge more than 250 entries from the school's budding sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade scientists.

So why are science fair entries important?

"Because they learn the scientific method," said seventh-grade science teacher Kathy Gore.

Eighth-grade science teacher Melissa Bare chimed in agreement.

"This is the best way to get that across to them," she said. "A lot of kids will say, 'I don't like science,' and this is a good way to get them out of that mindset."

Mike Long, sixth-grade science teacher, said science touches students' lives in a number of ways.

"Every aspect of life is science," he said, adding that the school's science teachers work to help students find a project in which they have a personal interest - from singing plants to projects related to hunting issues.

In addition to the scientific learning process, the students who compete also learn other, non-scientific lessons, Long said.

"It's such a good experience for a child to work on something and present it to a stranger," he said. "It's a great experiment for them to express something they've learned."

In addition to the lessons, all three teachers said the science fair also aims to help the students understand that science can be fun.

"Our district last year rewarded the local winners with a trip to King's Island," Long said.

Winners of the local fair will next compete against other area schools in the county science fair. County winners then move on to the district fair and compete for a chance to reach the state meet.

But for now, the Rock Hill Middle School students are focused on the local meet.

"It's gotten bigger each year," Bare said.

And none of it could be possible - that's none of the singing plants or snoring advice - without help from parents and friends of the school.

"We would like to thank each and every judge who was here today," Gore said.