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Students show off their knowledge at Willow Creek Middle School during GATEway Science Fair

"I just think it's really cool — especially to get females interested in science," said Katie Holger, the mother of a student. Holger also took part in the fair herself back in the 1990s.

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Third grader Aria Frye explains her science project to a reviewer on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
Jordan Shearer | jshearer@postbulletin.com
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ROCHESTER — Third grader Aria Frye tackled an everyday sort of problem for her science project: how to find a shampoo that would work best for her tightly-curled Black hair.

Spread out over the folds of a cardboard display, she laid out her project. The research, the procedure, the conclusion. She included everything from the PH scale of hair to its porosity.

"Some of the shampoos don't have the right ingredients for my hair, and some of them have ingredients that aren't really good for my hair" Frye said. "But I made my own, so I can use those."

Frye was one of approximately 150 students who took part in the 32nd annual GATEway science fair, held Saturday at Willow Creek Middle School. Held for grades 3-6, the event included students from 25 schools, including 10 outside of Rochester.

The annual event is not judged. However, students get reviewed during the process. Ginny Amundson, an organizer with the event, said it gives students a chance to pursue their curiosity, and to learn about some scientific fundamentals.

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"It's really important they learn how to do public speaking, how to explain it," Amundson said. "It also really helps them prepare if they want to go on to the regional science fair."

There was every kind of science experiment represented at the fair, from one demonstrating the advantages of hydropower, to one examining the effects of mask usage on athletic performance.

Food took a prominent place in the fair. At least three different experiments focused on Skittles. Others included popcorn and potatoes and cookies.

“I love food,” said fourth-grader Maryam Rizwan. Her experiment focused on whether the colors from Skittles would mix together when soaked in water.

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Third grader Stella Huelsbeck talks about her science project with a reviewer on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Her project focused on determining whether seeing color can trick the nose into smelling something that isn't there.
Jordan Shearer | jshearer@postbulletin.com

This year, Katie Holger was at the event for her daughter, Kaia, whose project focused on finding out which kind of potato would make the best battery. However, Katie remembers taking part in the GATEway Science Fair herself when she was in school in the 1990s.

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She remembers making her own thermometer one year. Another year, she made an experiment to see if centrifugal force would make grass grow sideways on a record player.

"I just think it's really cool — especially to get females interested in science," Katie Holger said. "It's always fun. I love doing the science fair."

Related Topics: ROCHESTEREDUCATION
Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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