WCMS eighth-grader Chris Brown was literally “floating on air” after winning first place in his category with his handmade hovercraft at the Warren County school system county-wide Science Fair Thursday night.
Though individual schools have held science fairs this is the first county-wide version in some time, according to Hands-on science instructional coordinator Diane Parton. The event was held at the Bridgestone Learning Center, and the five schools participating included Centertown, Dibrell, Irving College, Morrison and Warren County Middle School.
Parton says she is pleased the school system has decided to revive the county-wide program because it provides motivation for students to get physically involved in science through developing their projects.
“The kids have to do something hands-on when they do this and they’ve really learned a lot,” Parton said. “The kids that I’ve talked to at the different schools who have worked on this have learned a whole lot of in-depth information about their project, so they’ve learned about the scientific method or the design method. I’m really proud of them and their teachers.”
Bobby Cox, assistant director of teaching and learning, says he is impressed with the quality of the projects.
“Just looking at them you can see they are very well done, very innovative,” Cox said. “Of course the hovercraft is something you can see in action, but the other projects are impressive as well. There’s force and motion and pressure, a fulcrum and lever system. We wanted to try and focus on four areas, mathematics, engineering, biology, and physical science. Those are some of the things they study in class. I think doing it this time of year it gives kids the ability to take all the things they have learned all year and put it into practice.”
Cox says plans are to continue and expand the program.
“This is our first attempt in revitalizing the science fair county-wide, and we’re just including sixth- through eighth-grades this year,” Cox added. “We’ll try to bring in the other grades next year and make it bigger and better every year.”
Cox says the system really appreciates the support the program received.
“Diane Parton and the committee she formed did a lot of work and really did a tremendous job,” Cox said. “And we certainly want to thank Bridgestone for supporting us and letting us have the science fair out here.”
Brown says his first-place winning hovercraft was quite a hit with the county-wide judges, but it had kind of a rocky start at the middle school, oddly enough because of its sophistication and how well it was built.
“It took me about a day to build it,” Brown said, “but then I had to take it apart and put it back together at the middle school to prove I could do it. They didn’t believe me,” Brown added with a laugh.
Brown got the idea, like most of the kids, from the Internet, but his interest actually began some time ago.
“I was surfing the Web to find out about hovercraft because I’ve always wanted to build one,” Brown said. “I started thinking about building this a few years ago, and when the science fair came up I finally got the nerve to actually build it, put it in the science fair and get my name out.”
Chris, the son of Mark and Beth Brown, says he wants to be an inventor, something his parents haven’t discouraged and they obviously support his creative nature and technological skills.
“You know, someone asked me once if he ever thought outside the box,” Beth said. “And I just told them, ‘I don’t think he’s ever seen the inside of the box.’”
“We’re very proud of him,” Mark added.
The other winners in this year’s, all of whom won first in their categories at their schools, are:
• 1st — Morrison, Tommy Smith, sixth grade
• 2nd — Irving College, Alejahandra Garcia, sixth grade
• 3rd — Dibrell, Cabe Greene, sixth grade
• 1st — Irving College, Skylar Clemons, eighth grade
• 2nd — WCMS, Team: Robert Bladeras, Hayden Everett, Brendan Breedlove, Noah Pedigo, Anthony Mendez, sixth grade
• 3rd — Centertown, Colby Elkins, sixth grade
• 1st — WCMS, Chris Brown, eighth grade
• 2nd — Irving College, Gabriel Clemmons, sixth grade
• 3rd — Centertown, Brandon Steg, seventh grade
• 1st — Irving College, Alexis Rhea, sixth grade
• 2nd — WCMS, Team: Cole Millard, Daniel Campost, Kevin Demanual, Tristan Hamilton, eighth grade
• 3rd — Centertown, Emily Scott, eighth grade