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Students participate in annual science fair

Feb. 08, 2013 @ 11:58 PM

PROCTORVILLE -- Fifth-grade students shared the findings of their individual studies Friday evening during the school's 19th Annual Fairland West Elementary Science Fair.

Approximately 125 projects were on display in the school's gymnasium during an open house and award ceremony, during which 15 students' projects were rated "Outstanding," and another 10 projects were rated "Superior." The projects receiving a Superior rating are eligible to compete in the Region 14 Science Day Competition at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth next month.

The Science Day Competition is a familiar setting for 11-year-old McKenna Pannell.

In 2012, Pannell earned a Superior rating at the school's science fair with her project titled "Aren't you 'Dyeing' to Find Out?" Her work focused on whether organic or synthetic material would best absorb dye.

She moved on to the regional fair, where she earned another Superior rating against more than 400 elementary, middle and high school students.

She continued on to the state science fair at Ohio State University, where she became the first Fairfield West student to earn a Superior rating at that level.

She said it was a lot of work to get to that point, but she is excited for her peers to get the chance to compete at the next level.

"It's a relief to be here now and not have to do the work of presenting. Tonight is just fun," Pannell said. "Last year, I was nervous, and I remember the room I was in at the regional fair was so quiet. It still was pretty fun though."

Leroy Baise, the fifth-grade science teacher at the school, said students began working on their projects shortly after Thanksgiving, giving them eight weeks to complete their projects.

The fair serves as both an educational tool as well as a way for kids to have fun by investigating topics in which they are interested, Baise said.

"Of course, we are helping the students learn about the scientific method and making sure they have a good understanding of that, but they have the chance to have fun too," Baise said. "We have a wide variety of projects here, and the big thing we hope they take out of this is the idea of following through on a project with this kind of magnitude."

Follow Lacie Pierson via Twitter @LaciePiersonHD.