Faced with a science fair project, Quellan Portis had perhaps the most clever idea. He secretly swabbed tables at pizza restaurants and then swabbed petri dishes to see what grew from the sample.
It was a great idea for two reasons, said Quellan, 9, a fourth-grader at C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School.
“First of all, I got to eat a lot of pizza,” he said. “Second, I got to watch bacteria grow.”
The pupils were showing off their winning projects Friday at Georgia Health Sciences University, where some of the faculty and staffers had helped coach them on their ideas.
“You can definitely tell the difference this year,” in terms of experiments,
said Ed Enoch, whose son, Noah, experimented with angles and bottle rocket trajectory.
Noah’s theory, that the lower the angle, the greater distance it would travel, proved true and earned him second place among fifth-graders at C.T. Walker.
Dr. Andrew Mazzoli, an assistant professor of respiratory therapy, was intrigued by the scientific method of third-graders Jasmine Yancey, Aliyah Ryan and Annalee McGowan, who studied pollution levels around their school using slides smeared with petroleum jelly.
The pupils, who had a snazzy synchronized presentation that took up most of their time, might have been a little confused about what their work really was.
“We didn’t use research,” Jasmine said.
“Oh, yes you did,” Mazzoli told her. “You guys did a very good job.”
Those who make a living at research might have found inspiration as they walked among the presentations and talked to the children, said Denise Kornegay, the director of the Area Health Education Center at GHSU.
“For our faculty, it reminds them to be fresh,” she said.