By Aracely Hernandez - Staff Writer

Science fair gives students chance to try out theories

DeKALB - The results are in on which middle school grade is the nosiest. Seventh-graders are nosier than sixth- or eighth-graders - at least, that's what Clinton Rosette Middle School eighth-graders Siti Asma and Joly Wu learned. The girls were presenting their facts Saturday at the Illinois Academy of Science Region 5 Fair at Northern Illinois University. More than 370 science projects were entered, about 90 of which will go to the state competition at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Students entered projects in eight categories: physics, botany, behavioral science, chemistry and biochemistry, consumer science, environmental and earth science, microbiology and zoology, and health. The fair was open to middle school and high school students in private and public schools in DeKalb County and beyond. One experiment found that marigold seeds germinate one day faster in gelatin than in soil, but they don't grow as large. Another found that peppermint helps stimulate the brain, and eating some before a test is a good idea. Nicoletta Knoble, a St. Mary School seventh-grader, learned the different ways household products affect poinsettias in her project, &#8220The Contamination of Poinsettias.” She learned it's best to use only water on the plants if you want them to survive. Hand soap, corn oil, motor oil and bleach will all negatively affect the plants, she found. Asma's project, titled &#8220Which Grade is the Nosiest,” was categorized as behavioral science. &#8220We thought sixth-graders would be the nosiest because they just got into middle school,” she said. But when she and Wu would drop two fake love notes in each of the grades' hallways during passing periods, they learned the sixth-graders were more interested in getting to class on time than in picking up notes. The girls watched with stopwatches in hand, and they discovered that sixth-graders tended to ignore the notes or took longer to notice. &#8220The seventh-graders were the nosiest,” Asma said. &#8220One person on crutches stopped and said, ‘Look, there's a love note.'” She said it was the first time she had participated in the fair and that she had fun doing the project. Clinton Rosette eighth-grader Anugrah Lambogo also was at Saturday's fair. His project, &#8220Lab Fish,” was meant to find out which fish would go through a maze faster - a goldfish or a molly. &#8220I guessed it would be a goldfish, but they were about the same,” he said. The fish took about two minutes to get to the end of the maze where there was some food. &#8220No animals were harmed,” he said. The two mollies and two goldfish were bought at Wal-Mart and now live in his room.

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