Inquisitive youth minds have put forth and been evaluated on the fruits of their scientific labors.
The annual Thomas County Central High School Science Fair occurred Thursday, Dec. 12. It featured approximately 75 projects encompassing students from grades 9-11.
“We had another wonderful science fair,” TCCHS Science Department Chair Meagan Bradshaw said. “I am always excited to see the students’ hard work across so many different aspects of science.”
There are nine first-place projects, seven second-place entries and six third-place experiments.
“Science fair provides a chance for students to investigate a specific problem that interests them,” Bradshaw said. “It allows them the opportunity to think and conduct investigations as a scientist would. It builds upon scientific thinking, scientific literacy and problem-solving skills.”
Guest judge and retired TCCHS teacher Allen Harden said the fair boasted some great projects. Two things stand out in a winning project to him: an original idea well executed or an average idea carried out exceptionally well through a new method or extensive data.
A project that impressed Harden was the one on artificial intelligence/coding to detect malignant versus benign tumors.
“It is a current topic [and] current/advanced use of technology to address a real-world problem,” he said.
Freshman Bishop Jackson conducted this experiment, “Benign vs. Malignant.” His project won first place in Life Science and top overall.
“I am ecstatic about my placement in the school fair,” he said. “I am glad the judges saw the same potential in my project that I did. All of the weeks spent coding and fixing errors in my code feel worth it.”
Jackson participated in the science fair and chose artificial intelligence because he wanted to learn more about the topic and help others.
“I chose this because there are many people who cannot afford a doctor’s visit but still deserve health care,” he said. “The possibilities with AI are nearly limitless. Furthermore, I know my project could be used to help a large number of people. My project’s purpose is to create an AI to tell the difference between benign and malignant moles. The AI could then be incorporated into a phone app.”
Freshman Sofia Jimenez earned second place for her entry, “Helping to Save the Environment, Coffee Grounds as Natural Fertilizer.”
“The purpose is to inform those who didn’t know that coffee grounds are better to use,” she said. “I chose this topic to try to battle the waste in landfills somehow.”
Freshman Katelyn Stewart received third place for her project, “Dissolving in Time.”
“The purpose is to see how long it takes homemade bath bombs – one ingredient changed in each – to dissolve,” she said. “I chose this because it was very creative and unique. I really enjoyed seeing my work place for the school. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something worth seeing.”
All students who placed first, second or third advance to region competition. It is Feb. 14, 2020, at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.
Qualifiers will use judges’ comments to improve their projects for region.
“I plan to improve my project by retraining my artificial intelligence on a more powerful computer,” Jackson said. “Since my MacBook does not have a GPU, training progressed slowly. If I retrain on a computer with a GPU, I can possibly obtain upwards of 90 percent accuracy.”