Four Corners Regional Science Fair set for March 8-10

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FARMINGTON — More than 90 Farmington students will advance to the Four Corners Regional Science Fair in March after taking first and second place in the Farmington Municipal School District Science Fair on Saturday.

This year, 230 students — from kindergarten to high school seniors — presented and defended 196 projects to 55 local judges during the event on Saturday at Hermosa Middle School, according to Hermosa Middle School science teacher Cindy Colomb, who coordinates the annual event. The participants took first or second place in their individual school science fairs in order to qualify for the district event.

There was a wide variety of project topics, including the effects of radiation on invertebrates, how to build an automatic cat feeder, and the study of biowarfare at the cellular level and of water purification using plants, according to Colomb.

“We had projects that were creative and different this year,” Colomb said on Tuesday, adding that there were “some I hadn’t seen before. Not the same old soda-and-Mentos stuff.”

The projects fell within 14 categories, including behavioral and social sciences, botany and plant science, cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science, earth and planetary science, energy and transportation, engineering, mathematical science, medicine and health science, microbiology, environmental science, physics and astronomy, and zoology and animal sciences.

Judges awarded first-, second- and third-place prizes, as well as honorable mention awards, to students in kindergarten through second grade, and to students in the different categories for third through 12th grade, Colomb said.

Farmington Municipal School District Superintendent Eugene Schmidt gave out more than 20 Superintendent’s Choice Awards for categories like curiosity in science, cuteness of project, charm in overall science theme and creativity, according to a Facebook post.

The Farmington Electric Utility System also distributed three awards for projects that promote energy efficiency, and the Farmington School Board gave six excellence in science awards, according to Colomb.

Colomb said the science fair is a “whole-package deal” that offers students the opportunity to master multidisciplinary skills — including exploring the scientific method, and researching, presenting and defending their findings — and to practice real science.

“Learning to present your work and defend your work is very high-level thinking for any age-level student, no matter what they do,” Colomb said. “It’s such a holistic project. It covers a lot of things that we cover out in the real world.”

The 93 students who took first and second places in their grade and category will compete in the Four Corners Regional Science Fair from March 8-10, according to New Mexico Tech, which sponsors the regional and state science fair events.

The top projects from regional competitions throughout the state will advance the New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair April 6-7 at the NMT campus in Socorro, according to the website. State winners will advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair from May 13-18 in Pittsburgh.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.

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