WARRENSVILLE —From homemade fire starters to taste testing, Ashe County Middle School students proudly showed off their science experiments during the school’s first annual showcase on Nov. 30.
Mahaley Cronk, an 8th grader, was this year’s science fair first place winner. Cronk’s project tried to determine whether soft drink packaging has any influence on customer perception.
According to Cronk, she came up with the idea for the project while sitting at the former Casa Garcia.
“I was sitting at Casa Garcia and I was looking at their coke machine and was thinking about how Coke came across choosing their font,” Cronk said.
Cronk setup on Halloween night in downtown West Jefferson with two identical orange soda drinks. The removed the stock labeling and replaced it with her own designs that featured different fonts, Carrick Groovy and Fancy Tattoo. Cronk said she chose the fonts at random but made sure she didn’t pick one that would outshine the other.
“I wanted to make sure to pick ones that sort of correlated with each other and that wouldn’t stand over the other,” Cronk said.
She gave 100 people a sample of each drink—none of which knew they were tasting the same soda.
After 50 people had been tested, Cronk said she even switched which sample she gave to people first to make sure that order preference didn’t affect their choice.
Carrick Groovy proved to be the favorite choice with 65 choosing it as the better tasting drink. Cronk said she was surprised by the results saying, “I thought that Fancy Tattoo would win.”
Grady Rector, another ACMS eighth grader, was awarded an honorable mention for his experiment which tested which spectrum of light had the largest impact on plant growth.
Rector constructed a box with individual stalls to keep each plant and light source separated. He spent a week giving each plant an ounce of water per day and exposing each plant to it’s assigned light for an hour three times each day.
Rector found that after the week had ended, the plant that had been exposed to yellow light grew the most. He concluded that yellow, red and blue light are best for the type of grass he used.
Showing off their knowledge
The event initially began as a science fair, but according to ACMS art teacher Jill Gambill, the idea grew into much more.
Other ACMS Encore and career technical education classes such as Gear Up, Model and Supplemental Reading, Health and PE and the ACMS band were present at the event to showcase what teachers and students have been working on.
Seventh graders also displayed their bio/poems which they created through their language arts classes to show their own pictures, memories and future goals.
“It gives parents a chance to see what kids are doing and what teachers are doing, where many times they only hear about it and we want them to see it,” Gambill said. “A lot of the time their artwork never makes it home. This gives them an opportunity to show what we do in class and it’s nice to be able to interact with parents.”
Luke Eggers, a Project Lead the Way teacher, was also at the event to show parents what his students are learning.
Project Lead the Way classes give students the opportunity to learn about 3D modeling, robotics and basic computer science programming. Eggers says the class also acts a stair step program to Ashe County High School’s principal engineering class.
For Eggers, he finds that many parents aren’t quite sure what Project Lead the Way is and events like Monday’s help them have a better understanding of his class and others.
“This is a night to try to showcase what exactly happens in our classes,” Luke Eggers said. ““It’s great because the whole point is to bring the school and community together.”
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.