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Frenetic energy at the science fair

Middle School sixth grader Cyan Koos, was one of 338 sixth-graders that displayed their science fair projects on Thursday evening. Her experiment was “How Many Roosters.” Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

By Amy Borgman

BEMIDJI — The auditorium buzzed with excitement Thursday as seventh- and eighth-graders displayed their best work at the 27th annual Bemidji Middle School Science Fair.

Students stood by their projects filled with worry and pride as judges scored their work based on scientific and artistic merit. Sixth-grade projects were also on display in the connecting gym and scored based on their artistic merit. The overall best project winner receives the Bob Shultz Award, an award that is dedicated to the late BMS science teacher who started the fair 27 years ago. Plaques are also awarded to first- and second-runners-up.

About 200 students participated in the fair with the help of science teachers and first-time adviser Gwen Hunt. Hunt is normally an occupational therapist, but was excited to help coordinate the event, as she obtained a biology degree in college.

Throughout the crowded auditorium, swarms of students stood in rows and ran around excitedly to visit with friends. Judges asked the students questions about their experiments, moving from one table to the next with a discerning nod of approval.

Students Victoria Johnsrud and Mariah Sanberg wore fake cat ears as they presented their project on the different types of bacteria that can be found in animal fur. Their poster board, titled “A Harry Situation,” was adorned with fur. The girls said some people got nervous because they thought it was real fur, but it wasn’t.

Many of the projects examined water quality, gender differences, mold and cooking. One girl did her report on how popcorn formed; she was equipped with a giant garbage bag full of popcorn that she shared with everyone.

Andrew Hokanson presented his theories on color psychology with bright paper cones darting off of his poster board.

“I wanted it to stand out by having a lot of color and texture,” he said.

Each project stood out in a unique way. The students’ hard work and appreciation for science was palpable and inspiring.