Over 2,000 Anoka-Hennepin students, some working alone and others in teams, brought more than 1,300 projects to School District 11’s annual STEM Fair on Jan. 21.
The Saturday morning fair – focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics – was held 8 a.m. to noon at Blaine High School’s gymnasium. There were so many participants that the groups were divided into two-hour segments.
“We have been a leader in STEM Fairs and fairs in general in this state since the 1950s. This fair is by far the largest STEM Fair in the state. We’re bigger than the state’s science fair,” said Champlin Park High School science teacher Kevin Molohon, who has been coordinating School District 11’s STEM Fair since 1997.
All K-12 students are invited to submit a project to be judged, although this is merely to receive feedback and is not to qualify for any other competition. Anybody can enter the regional STEM Fair being held Feb. 25 in St. Cloud, which is the qualification competition for the state’s STEM Fair.
Kyah Dickerson, a seventh-grade student at Roosevelt Middle School in Blaine, had read about a newer technology in which an electric current is sent through sanitary sewer pipes and a sensor detects where there are leaks. Dickerson tested the conductivity different materials would have such as lemon juice, baking soda, sea salt and distilled water. She mixed these materials with distilled water into a small cup and used a battery for the electricity.
She found that sea salt had the greatest conductivity and distilled water had no conductivity, “since it doesn’t have anything in it besides water.”
Katelynn Warconek, a ninth-grade student at Anoka High School, enlisted the help of volleyball teammate Linsey Sutton to see what the best height would be to serve a volleyball at when putting the ball in play.
Sutton used a measuring stick to check the heights she was lobbing the ball in the air and focused on the range between 2.33 meters and 2.73 meters. She also had a speed gun to check the speed of the ball after it was struck. She found that 2.33 meters was the best height for Sutton, but said she would use more players if she conducted the experiment again because of different player heights and arm lengths.