WBS students gear up for science fair

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Staff photo by Allison Potter 

Fifth grade students Carly Farmer, left, and Perry Morgan are preparing information about whitening toothpastes for the upcoming Wrightsville Beach School science fair.

During the past few weekends, Carly Farmer and Perry Morgan, 10, teamed up outside of school to investigate which toothpaste works the best.

Their project is one of about eight that will be featured during Wrightsville Beach School’s Science Fair on Thursday, Jan. 17, from 3-5:30 p.m.

The two met up on weekends brushing four brands of toothpaste with a toothbrush onto Morgan’s brother’s dark blue T-shirt for their first-ever science fair project.

They documented the process with pictures. They said some of the toothpaste has since rubbed off the T-shirt, which is divided into four labeled sections.

Once done brushing, the girls washed the portion of the shirts in the sink before letting them dry.

“We would rub it to soak it in,” Morgan said.

They were originally going to do the project with a friend who had braces, but decided later to use the T-shirt as the teeth.

Colgate, Ultrabrite, Crest and Aquafresh were the brands used in the project.

During the process, they colored in circles according to brightness, with full circles representing the brightest spots and empty circles the darkest spots.

“The first day, we thought this one would be the most, Day 2, but it turned out that this one was the brightest on Day 3,” Farmer said.

They also used the toothpaste brand websites as resources to see what they had to say about whitening.

Now that the research is complete, they have to finish putting together the display for the project and typing up the results, including the hypothesis, materials, variables and procedure. 

Past projects they have heard about include producing electricity out of an orange and putting mints in a soda to see which creates the highest explosion.

This year, some of their friends are exploring who can stay on board a ship the longest, which they said they do not understand yet.

“First, they were going to do nail polish, like how long could it stay on,” Farmer said.

Next year, Farmer and Morgan said they might tackle the topic of what ingredients mostly make up candies or Little Debbie products.

Janice Williams, fifth grade math and science teacher, said students in third through fifth grade are eligible to participate in the science fair. About 15 students are signed up this year. 

The awards ceremony will be held the same day, at about 5 p.m. Three judges — former or present teachers with science backgrounds — will pick first, second and third place winners to compete at the New Hanover County Science Fair on Jan. 24, based on talking to the students and seeing how well they know their project and how well they know the scientific process.

“We’re just proud of all of our students who are participating this year,” Williams said. “... We hope to bring some winners from the county as well as the regional fair. In the past, our students have done very well at the science fair.”

email kelly@luminanews.com 

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