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Students show off science skills at fair

Kyle Bolan, Open Door School student, discusses rock formation layers while presenting his project, “Rocks” at the school’s science fair Tuesday

Kyle Bolan, Open Door School student, discusses rock formation layers while presenting his project, “Rocks” at the school’s science fair Tuesday

Flashing lights, good-looking food and homemade lava lamps were just a few sights and smells floating around the Open Door School gym as the school hosted its biennial science fair.

Thirty-two students worked together with general education students from area schools to create 16 projects for competition. Kendra Heim, Open Door principal, said the event is a great way for students to integrate with other school districts.

��Sometimes the other students will come here, but we go out to the other school districts as much as possible,” Heim said. “I think peer integration is very important and I try to model our science fair off of others in the county.”

Students from Symmes Valley, Ironton, Dawson-Bryant, Chesapeake and Collins Career Center participated in this year’s fair, Heim said.

Kyle Bolan, 15-year-old Open Door student, said he enjoyed working with other students and getting out to research his projects.

“We went to the Rock House at Lake Vesuvius. That was fun,” Bolan said. “We studied how pressure and heat make rocks form.”

The project, entitled “Rocks” focused on the formation of metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and took first prize in the geology category.

The science fair is meant to be fun, and has lived up to that goal since its inception six years ago, Venessa Honaker, judge and former Open Door School teacher, said.

Honaker, now a guidance counselor in the Symmes Valley School District, said she was invited to be a judge and accepted because she enjoys working with the students.

“I was here when we started doing the science fair,” Honaker said. “While I was a teacher here, I saw how excited the kids were to do the projects. The science fair gives them a way to focus their interest and learn by doing these projects.”

And the learning and fun showed in their projects, Heim said. Some projects used food, such as “Rocks” that used layered pudding and chocolate to symbolize layers of rocks, while others involved model cars or birdhouses.

There were individual winners for each category represented, with a grand prize winner being chosen for the project that receives the most points from judges. “Bouncing Egg,” a project that involved soaking eggs in vinegar to dissolve the shell, which makes eggs able to bounce, was the grand prize winner.

Heim said competition was fierce, and all the students wanted the gold cup that comes with being the grand prize winner. Since the school rotates its science and social studies fairs each year, students of the “Bouncing Egg” crew will have bragging rights for two years before someone else can attempt to take their trophy.