Tyler, Norma and Isaac

On March 12, 2022, the long awaited return of an in-person science fair returned to Mendocino County. It was held this year at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah. There were a total of 104 projects. Laytonville had four of those spots. Here in our little town participating in the Science Fair is voluntary. No teachers make the students do a project like they used to years ago. These kids take it upon themselves to come up with an idea, research it, do the experiment, and make a presentation. I understand how important their participation is in this process. They learn to ask questions, do the research, form a plan, execute the plan, and even if things don’t work out, they learn about perseverance and the satisfaction of following through to the end. They also learn how to develop and read graphs. All of this will serve them well as they progress through school.

I meet with the students a couple of times per week leading up to the school fair. I am
there for troubleshooting, bouncing ideas off of, and basically keeping them on track throughout the project. I spell/grammar check and make sure that all the parts of the write-up are there. All of the research, experiment, and write up (including graphs) are done at home. Thank you to the wonderful parents who allow and encourage these young scientists.

As I mentioned earlier, Laytonville had four projects this year. Joelle Skinner (5h grade)
submitted “Should Plants Watch Their Diets?” It involved feeding pansies different types of
water solutions. Did you know that sugar water will turn the foliage purple? Danielle Skinner (7th grade) submitted “The Effect of an Increase in Carbon Dioxide on Plants”. It involved giving one group of plants extra carbon dioxide which is a key component in photosynthesis. Most of her plants gave her attitude and did not want to cooperate, she soldiered on and made the best of a bad situation. Talk about perseverance. Tyler Knight (7th grade) submitted “Poisoned Plants”. That is just what he did. He used gas, oil, and soap, mixed them with water and gave it to his plants. He also tried filtering the gas and oil out to see if it helped. Isaac Ashton (8th grade) submitted “Neodymium Magnets Are Strong!”. It involved testing to see how much of a magnet’s repellant strength is lost when heating and cooling magnets. From what he learned the magnetic trains we hear about could be a little spooky since magnets do lose a lot of repellant strength when they get hot.

Of these four bright aspiring scientists two will be advancing to the California Science and
Engineering Fair. Usually held in Los Angeles (maybe next year), but unfortunately due to Covid it is once again being held online. Our two State Qualifiers are Isaac Ashton and Tyler Knight. Isaac also placed 3rd in the overall Junior Division(6-8) at County. Congratulations to all four of my kids. I could not be more proud, especially since each and every one of you had some kind of hiccup in your project along the way. You all stuck with it and finished successfully. Way to go!!

Norma Cox, Science Fair Coordinator, Laytonville Elementary/Middle School