Four Green Bank Elementary-Middle School students advanced to the State Science Fair, which was held at the Charleston Coliseum March 6. At the event, fourth grader Madelyn Rittenhouse placed first with her project, titled “Balloon;” and eighth graders Thomas Arbogast, Morgan Beverage and Steven Queen placed third with their project, titled “Which Mass of Arrowheads Penetrates the Deepest.”
Rittenhouse said she wanted to determine if it took more weight to make a helium balloon sink in warm air or cold air. With the help of her dad, Nathan, Rittenhouse tested her theory in four areas at her house – living room, dining room, cellar and high tunnel.
“It did the exact same thing [in the dining room] as it did in the living room – four paperclips,” she said. “Dad and I think the reason it did that is those two rooms are right next to each other, so it kind of makes a little bit of sense. Then we went into our cellar and it took five paperclips.”
Rittenhouse said she expected the high tunnel to be the same as the cellar, but after adding eight paperclips to the string on the balloon and getting no movement, she was a bit perplexed. Then her dad realized what went wrong.
“The high tunnel plastic and the helium balloon were creating static electricity so it wouldn’t come down,” she said. “In the end it only took five paperclips, which makes a lot more sense.”
When she began the project, Rittenhouse said her hypothesis was that it would take more weight to pull down the helium balloon in warm air which, it turns out, was the opposite of what she discovered with her experiment.
This was Rittenhouse’s first time competing at the state level and she said it was very exciting, yet she was nervous the day of her presentation.
“I looked around at some of the projects,” she said. “There were some really good projects. I was like, ‘I hope this one’s not in my category or my division.’”
Despite her nerves, Rittenhouse impressed the judges and came home with a first place ribbon.
Like Rittenhouse, the trio of Arbogast, Beverage and Queen had never competed at the state level before now and were happy to come home with third place.
For their project, the boys tested the penetration depth of different weights of arrowheads.
“We took my compound bow twenty yards away from the target and we did two different arrowhead weights,” Arbogast said. “My bow is set on seventy-five pounds, so, that way, we can remain consistent. We shot the arrows and then we measured from the point where it went into the target to the tip to see how far it was. We tested each arrowhead five times.”
“We shot into a Yellow Jack bag target,” Queen added.
After winning at the county and regional fair, the boys were excited to take the trip to Charleston for the state competition. They kept their cool and treated it like they were presenting the project at home.
“I told them it was just like doing it down here at the county,” Arbogast said.
“It was fun,” Beverage added.
This is the last time the boys will be representing GBEMS in the science fair, but that won’t stop them from doing a project when they matriculate to Pocahontas County High School.
They said they would be interested in doing projects in the future if they have the time and another award winning idea.
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