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Study Reveals Sister is Germiest — and other tales from the annual school science fair

Posted on 05 March 2009

Wonder which beverage stains teeth the most? Well, fifth-grader Rose O’Donoghue was curious, so she tested six drinks — red wine, V-8, coffee, tea, apple juice, and water. Out of those she tested, she found red wine did the most damage to pearly white smiles. O’Donoghue was one of approximately 150 students who showcased work at the Sag Harbor Elementary School’s annual Science Fair, which was held on Thursday, February 26.

At the fair, students in the fourth and fifth grades presented their work through visual aids on poster boards in the school’s gymnasium. The projects each started with a hypothesis such as O’Donoghue’s, then the students conducted an experiment and reported the results. While some hypotheses proved true, others were not easily determined by the child’s chosen experimental methodology.

For example, Emma McMahon tested different cereals to find out which one had the most iron. She tested Honey Nut Cheerios, Raisin Bran, Product 19 and Apple Jacks.

“I crushed up the cereal and waved a magnet over it,” said McMahon, “But I found that none of the cereals had enough iron to be drawn out by a magnet,” the fifth grader said undiscouraged.

Lydia Starke practiced her science project on mice. She wanted to find out whether a female or a male mouse had better memory. Starke said she let the mice run through a maze four times. On the fourth try, the female mouse finished the maze in three seconds, while it took the male 1 minute and 53 seconds to finish. Although she included the results, they were semi-inconclusive because she only tested two mice.

“I found out that I was right and my sister has the most germs,” said Jason Kamerman, a fifth grader, who studied backwash among members of his family. He tested his mother, father and sister for germs by testing the remaining bacteria on water bottles after each family member took a sip. He examined the results in Petri dishes and said his experiment found his sister had more germs than any of the other participants.

Situated next to Kamerman was Chris Pineda, a fifth grader, who studied seismic p-waves — those that cause earthquakes. He said he found an earthquake would keep going unless “something gets in its way.” His experiment used marbles hanging on strings to show how an earthquake might affect them. Pineda said that the effects of an earthquake would continue, just like his swinging marbles, if there were nothing to stop them.

Kerrie Vila, a fifth grader, asked five women and five young girls what their favorite colors were. She then showed the study group pictures of shapes in all different colors. She said she wanted to test the study group on whether they would remember the shape of their favorite color. Vila said her hypothesis was correct. The study group tended to remember the shape of their favorite color, but forget the others.

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