‘Blinded with science!’

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Thursday saw local students setting up their projects for the Region 1 science fair at the Bossier Civic Center. Entries will be judged tomorrow and can be viewed Friday evening and Saturday morning before winners are announced.

Brightest students compete in science fair over the weekend at the Bossier Civic Center

Story by Jennifer Middleton

Northwest Louisiana is holding its annual Science and Engineering Fair this week, and the brightest students in the region are gearing up for the event.

The Region 1 fair covers five parishes. In order to be eligible, students from Bossier, Caddo, Webster, Red River, and DeSoto parish had to place first, second, or third in science fairs at their schools.

More than 500 students will compete and be judged by 135 professionals from throughout the region.

Bob Boykin, a professor at Bossier Parish Community College, will be overseeing the competition, as he has for the last twenty-two years. He explained that the competition is divided into three divisions—elementary, middle school, and high school.

Within the divisions, there are seventeen categories students can enter, including animal sciences, chemistry, behavioral and social sciences, astronomy, and engineering.

“Each school, in each division, can enter ten projects,” Boykin said. “The teachers pick the ten, and then the one school that has the most points, they take home a trophy. And we have three trophies for each division.”

The competition has produced some memorable winners in the past. Perhaps the most memorable is Henry Lin, a student at Caddo Magnet High School who won a trip to the International Science Fair, where he took second place for his galaxy cluster simulations.

“That’s an international fair,” Boykin said. “That’s 70 countries, which speaks volumes for the math and science that northwest Louisiana is preparing.”

Boykin also said that the number of competitors has dwindled in recent years, as there has been a shift in focus in the local schools. Science has become less of a priority in many curriculums, as schools have begun to put more emphasis on English and mathematics.

“It goes in cycles. I expect to see a shift back towards science in the near future,” Boykin said.

Elizabeth Volden placed second in Calvary Baptist Academy’s competition, and is competing in the Medicine and Health Sciences category.

“I did ‘Brighten Your Smile,’ which is on what different things stain teeth the most. I found out that really, the pomegranate blueberry juice darkened it the most, but it really mostly had to do with the color. The darker the juice was, the darker it stained,” said Volden.

Fourth grader Jordan Lowe was competing in the earth and planetary sciences category with his project “Egg-ceptional Crystals.”

“We are growing crystals out of egg shells. We did the experiment, and we saw that my hypothesis, which was that the red food coloring would grow more crystals, was wrong, because when we checked them, the size of the crystals were all about the same,” said Lowe.

The science fair begins on Friday, March 7, and begins with judging from 9-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3 p.m. and opens to the public from 6-8 p.m. On Saturday, visitation is allowed from 8:30-10 a.m. and the awards ceremony will be held from 10-11 a.m.

The fair is sponsored by BPCC, the Bossier City Optimist Club, Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Homes, Cemeteries and Flower Shops Inc., the Louisiana Engineering Society, and the City of Bossier.