Science is all about understanding — sometimes, it’s about understanding the world around you. Other times, it’s about understanding yourself.
The annual Washington State Science and Engineering Fair is an opportunity for hundreds of students from across the state to show off their hard-earned scientific knowledge, and several came from the Plateau.
Bridgette Lowe and Garrison Stephens-Smith, both of Emerald Hills Elementary in the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District, were two of those, and earned awards for their projects during this year’s fair, which was hosted at the end of March 2019.
Garrison’s interest in science stems from his family. He said his parents are both academics, and his mother is a science teacher.
“I enjoy science because I enjoy asking questions and getting answers,” he said.
Since one of Garrison’s grandparents was a scientist that worked on the moon landing, it should come as little surprise that his projects was all about how rocket fins affected flight.
He had five different fin shapes to try on an compressed air-powered rocket, and then used a mathematic formula to determine how high the rocket went with each one.
Garrison’s project earned him the first place trophy for the fourth-grade category, and also received the Museum of Flight award (which came with free passes to the Museum of Flight).
Originally, Bridgette said she got into science because she found the process fun, but was later brave enough to admit she wants to enter the STEM field to better understand herself.
“I have Tourette’s Syndrome,” she said, explaining that Tourette’s is when your body does something that you can’t control, which can be a lot like science. “Say you do a volcano and put vinegar in it and it doesn’t explode — you can’t control that. It’s just life’s policy.”
Bridgette’s project was focused on determining why some bowling balls float in water, and why others do not. To figure this out, she had to determine the the density of water and the density of the bowling balls.
She placed second in the third grade category, but also received The Adventures in Science award (given to her by Baymont Inn and Suites for “showing the most adventurous theme, research, photography and creativity,” in her project for her grade) and The Margaret I. Lugg Young Explorer awards (one of 22 given to students “whose science and engineering project and presentation best reflect a passion and commitment to their topic”).
Other fair placers were Adriana Brock, 5th grade at Bonney Lake Elementary, who placed second; Haydon Brock, 7th grade at Lakeridge Middle School, who placed second; Emily Hartle, a fifth grade homeschooler who placed first; and Logan Straight from Bonney Lake High School, who placed second, and also received the Baymont Adventures in Science and the U.S. Army awards for his project, which focused on drones for firefighting.