The Santa Cruz County Science Fair

Mar 8, 2008

I volunteered to judge again this year, and chaired the Space Science division (which had all of 2 entries.... so our small crew also did judging of some computer science and mathematics projects as well). Santa Cruz County has a top quality reputation of producing the most entries to the Intel International Science Fair of all California Counties (we're also one of the smallest counties in population). There were many excellent projects once again.

I was also a judge at the Valencia Elementary School Science Fair, but forgot my camera. So no pix, but a good experience again.

This third grader (on the right!) is showing me how he wrote a program in the Logo programming language to construct and test regular polygons.

I learned something here - where to stick the marhmallows for maximum burn rate!

This project had some thorough criteria for measuring plant vitality in testing different growth media

Sonia studied local 'shrooms, looking for general rules to distinguish the poisonous varieties from the good ones

Emily and Erin did a beautiful study of inheritance of eye and hair color. Then compared to results in the SIM2 computer program, to reverse engineer the genetic assumptions within the program.

Jamie's study of the expanding dust cloud of Comet Holmes was a crowd pleaser and got a lot of attention

Testing paper strength using pennies

This project studied the variance between predicted and true temperatures and decided the weather guy does a pretty decent job

Alex conducted... a study in fractals

This excellent senior project tested how long it took to crack passwords of various lengths and types

These young ladies found that wetlands were far better at cleaning septic water than septic tanks. They were excited to have done good work which could be important in helping our environment

Emily and Sanya studied how human presence is affecting the sea otter population at Elkhorn Slough

This study quantified the sources of emotional pressure that people faced, and compared at a wide range of ages. Pretty interesting and pretty thorough.

This team studied the water quality up and down the San Lorenzo River

A robot with 6 legs, was the experiment of this young engineer.

This poster was fun.... but creepy!

These boys found every possible way to ruin a cake, in the greater interests of scientifically deducing... the Perfect Cake

Does the saltiness of the sea vary with location? Olivia and Shiloh find... no.

Claire tested visual vs auditory memory in volunteers.

Kelsey joins Jamie after judging's done. Excellent work. And great photos!

Me, going over some fine work from Jamie

My team, going over our judging forms and conferring on results


Alas, I teach at Cabrillo on awards night, so no more pictures. I loved seeing these great young people getting excited by testing ideas on Mother Nature! Jamie Ferrell's project went on to the California State Science Faire. Here's a couple of pictures she sent me...

Jamie and her friend Kara both made it to State from Valencia School!

Jamie's project got a lot of attention from astronomer and comet expert Dr. Claudia Alexander. Nice job!