By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — Every year the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair challenges and inspires grade and high school students to try their hands at experiments or inventions. For the past seven years, St. Patrick School has competed in the fair and is one of only a handful of local Catholic schools to compete and win.
Ten experiments and five inventions were submitted by the students in this, the fair’s 64th year, and two teams, an eighth grade team and a seventh grade team, brought home notable awards and ribbons. Eighth graders George Lofland, Tristan Hurt and Adam Catlin received the Missouri Department of Conservation Science Pioneer Award. Their experiment, Time Burns, compared how fast different types of wood burned.
Five different woods were chosen for their availability — oak, elm, walnut, mulberry and redbud. The boys hypothesized that oak would burn the slowest. They researched the density of each wood, and cut samples of similar weight and density.
The team performed their experiment on a concrete slab behind the school, under the supervision of their science teacher, Nicole Kremer. Using a stop watch, they learned that their hypothesis was correct: oak burned the slowest. What surprised them was that redbud burned the fastest as they thought perhaps it would be mulberry.
During the four months of research and work, the three boys worked together as a team, each contributing skills, talents and interests to the experiment and the display. George designed and made the display, while Tristan and Adam helped assemble and glue it together.
“We weren’t expecting to win,” George said. Mrs. Kremer had gone to the fair which was held at Union Station in mid-March, and so was the first to know. She called George’s mother, who turned to her son and said, “Guess what? Congratulations, you won! I knew you had it in you.”
The boys each received a framed certificate of their award, and a packet of books on topics relating to conservation.
A seventh grade team, Peter Pellumbi and James Drumright, experimented with sound. Their project, Sound Proof, won their division in Matter and Energy.
“We wanted to do something with sound,” James said. “We wanted to find out which material was the most soundproof.”
The boys assembled five material samples: cotton, plastic, glass, Styrofoam and cardboard, making sure the samples were all the same size. Using a violin tuning cell phone app, and the song, Uptown Funk, they tested each sample. The result? Cotton is the most soundproof while glass is the least. Sound waves bounce off the denser materials, Peter said.
The months spent on the project paid off for the boys with the purple ribbon as division winners, as well a gold ribbon.
“Our families were really excited,” Peter said.
In addition to the Division winner award and the Missouri Department of Conservation award, St. Patrick students brought home six gold ribbons, seven silver ribbons and one bronze ribbon.
“We here at St. Patrick’s School are very proud of all our young scientists,” said Julie Hess, principal.
Catholic school students won a number of awards at the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair, including from Our Lady of the Presentation, Natalie Hyde, Jacqueline DeMarea, Paul Branson, Madeline Haukap, Lillian McDonald, Kendall Schmitz and Emily Joyce and teacher Katie Faris; from St. Peter’s, Hannah Bechtel, the team of Macy Bauers and Sam Powell, Sophie Spear, Jenna Thiemann, Spencer Reinhardt and Sam Linson, Elise McGhie and Charlotte McKee, and Brendan Brewster and Harrison Shank; from St. Gabriel Archangel , Sophia Swavey and Syndnie Freese, and from St. Andrew the Apostle, John Chirpich.