Feb 23, 2014

‘Mind over matter’ gets top nod at science event


GREENVILLE – The inaugural Darke County Science Day at Greenville High School attracted 31 students from six local school districts Feb. 19. Two Tri-Village 10th graders, Gage Berghoff and Casey Puckett, took top honors with their Behavioral/Social Science project, Mind Games, in the inaugural Darke County Science Day at Greenville High School.

Greenville senior Sarah Herzog took 2nd place with her Chemistry project, and Versailles 9th grader James McClure took third with his Behavioral/Social Science project.

Five additional medal winners (in no order) were: Keenan Fraylick, Tri-Village, Environmental Science; Francesca Masso-Rivetti, Greenville, Behavioral/Social Science; Katelyn Hanes, Tri-Village, Engineering Materials; Emma Campbell, Tri-Village, Chemistry; and Denver Toner, Versailles, Transportation.

The Berghoff and Puckett Mind Games experiment asked ‘is it simply mind over matter?’ The experiment investigated the feasibility of a low cost EEG toy headset being used to control objects. Mattel’s MindFlex headset measures brain waves. To control an object the user must be able to manipulate their brain waves. The dependent variable was a remote control car; brain waves were converted to digital information and sent to the car. The experiment showed when participants were given a positive stimulus, their attention increased and they were able to control the car. “It really is mind over matter,” they said.

Herzog’s chemistry project dealt with ferrofluids containing nanoparticles of iron compounds. When manipulated by strong magnetic fields, the fluids spike sharply. Since ferrofluids are used to seal parts of computers and in the medical field, it was important to measure the magnitude of the spikes in proportion to the distance of the magnet as well as the amount of ferrofluid. In her abstract, Herzog noted she was able to form magnetite but was unable to get it to spike since a glycerin substitute had to be used instead of tetramethylammonium hydroxide. “It was a classroom environment,” she said. “The chemical was too dangerous… corrosive and toxic.”

There were other options she could have used instead of the glycerin but she ran out of time. “It took two weeks and four trials to form the magnetite,” she added. “By then it was too late to test the other options.”

McClure’s project tested to see if age made a significant difference in the perception of time. Test subjects were asked under a controlled situation to look at a picture of a tree from Yellowstone Park then say when they thought two minutes had passed. McClure analyzed it in Microsoft Excel and found average times for individual age groups showed no correlation to the predicted data curve. He found his hypothesis was not supported by the data.

According to Janice Michael, Edison Community College, the inaugural Darke County event is part of the Upper Miami Valley Science Days. Miami County held its event the previous week, Champaign County held theirs Feb. 20. All 13 students who received Superior rating in this event will go to the District Science Fair at Central State University March 22.

The other ‘superior’ student projects were conducted by Courtney Vogel, Wesley Wilson and Haley Yount, Versailles, Animal Husbandry; Ashley Murphy, Ansonia, Behavioral/Social Science; Hannah Grilliot, Lauren Heitkamp and Emily Kramer, Versailles, Chemistry; Quintin Muhlenkamp, Greenville, Engineering Materials; and Jenna Frantz, Versailles, Physics.

Special awards were presented to Vogel, Wilson and Yount by BASF Corporation; McClure by McMurray; Herzog by BASF; Grilliot, Heikamp and Kramer by Aptalis Pharmatech; Hanes by Darke County Economic Development; Toner by BASF, Fraylick by BASF, Berghoff and Puckett by McMurray, Campbell by BASF and Frantz by Darke County Economic Development. Berghoff and Puckett were noted for best presentation of data, Frantz for best abstract and Herzog for best project, Greenville.

Entries were judged on knowledge achieved, use of scientific method, clarity of expression and originality and creativity. Students fifth grade and above were eligible to enter.

Sarah Herzog, senior at Greenville High School, won second place for her chemistry project.

Olivia Wright, sixth grader from Ansonia Elementary, talks with a judge about her project, the role of music when studying or taking tests.

Jenna Frantz, 9th Grade, Versailles

Zachary Baughman, 10th Grade, Greenville

L-R: Emily Kramer, Lauren Heitkamp, Hannah Grilliot, 9th Grade, Versailles

Olivia Wright, 6th Grade, Ansonia


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