GPAEA Students have Success at State STEM Competitions

Tami Plein, Science Specialist

Every year, students from southeast Iowa demonstrate high levels of achievement at state and regional STEM competitions! These competitions provide students with the opportunity to experience an authentic problem-solving situation while applying skills and concepts from multiple disciplines; science, engineering, ELA and math. For example, in a science fair project, students demonstrate and practice the ELA standards related to writing a literature review, preparing a research paper, designing the display board and orally presenting their findings to various judges and audiences. They also create spreadsheets and analyze data using algebra and statistics. All use technology to gather, organize, analyze, design, and/or present their findings. For more information contact Tami Plein at GPAEA or use the links after each section below.

Iowa Physics Competition

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Congratulations to our GPAEA schools Moravia, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, and Ottumwa on their successes at the State Physics Competition at UNI on April 11!

Moravia placed 5th overall in the teams.  The Soda Straw Arm team of Colton R and Zane B brought home the first place medal.  Zane also teamed with Tyler F and placed 3rd in the Catapult.  Moravia is coached by Jewell Rockhold and her school team placed first overall in the GPAEA Regional Competition held last month.

The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Mousetrap car team of Claire Jager and Haegen Boyer placed 3rd. EBF is coached by Kristen Birchard and her school team placed second overall in the regional competition. Ottumwa’s Jade Turner placed 3rd in Soda Straw Arm.  Jade and Saelim Butler placed 1st in this event at the regional competition.  They are coached by Theodore Westhues.

State and Regional Science Fairs
Every year SE Iowa is heavily represented at these competitions. Over 200 students from Burlington, Central Lee, Danville, Fort Madison, Holy Trinity, Keota, Keokuk, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Maharishi SAE, Pekin, Van Buren, and Winfield-Mount Union participated in these fairs, earning thousands of dollars in scholarships, trips, awards and prizes. This year seven GPAEA students representing four districts will be heading to Los Angles for the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in May!

Aaron W, Central Lee High School, is one of the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Senior Champions. This is a regional fair held in Cedar Rapids every April. His research, “Engineered Environmental Containment: Using Lemna minor L. to Reduce Nitrate Levels in Aquatic Environments” focused on engineering an aquatic containment system that is able to contain a duckweed. He then investigated using the duckweed to reduce the nitrate and phosphate levels in aquatic environments. Aaron and his adult sponsor, Alicia Schiller-Haynes won all-expense paid trips to Los Angeles to compete at ISEF along with scholarships and awards.

EISEF Junior Champions Serenity H and Claire W, Central Lee Middle School, will also travel to Los Angeles as observers along their adult sponsor, Nadine Weirather. While student observers do not present their research at the international fair, they have the opportunity to participate in hands-on STEM challenges, as well as participate in activities that help them to better communicate and expand on their research, and volunteer for the Education Outreach Program.

Two Burlington High School students and their sponsor, Elizabeth S, also earned all-expense paid trips to ISEF from the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI) held in Ames. Vidya M, State Champion, presentedA Novel 3-D Engineered Solution for Congenital Microtia of the Ear”. Vidya’s project involved using 3-D engineering to form an artificial ear and canal and then testing the ability of it to transmit sound using a sound probe to detect the sound.

Alexandra Z(Grand Honorable Mention winner) researched how to increase the efficiency of a nasal epinephrine delivery system through the usage of pretreatments such as ethanol or propylene glycol in her project “Increasing the Efficiency of a Nasal Epinephrine Delivery System”.

SSTFI also sends student observers to ISEF in Los Angeles. Joining the Iowa contingent listed above are Kamryn B, Van Buren High School (Amanda Schiller, sponsor) and Jarrod K, Keota High School (Jenny Hobbs, sponsor).

Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair:
State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa:

The World Food Prize Competition

Over 300 Iowa students attended the sixth annual World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute held at Iowa State University on April 24th. For this competition, students write a 3 to 5 page paper about an area of the world, what’s happening in the area of the world, and a solution to that problem. Students from Burlington, Cardinal, Chariton, Danville, Davis County, Fairfield, Keokuk, Keota, Mediapolis, Mt Pleasant, Oskaloosa, and Wayne attended the Youth Institute.  Students spent the day networking with peers, research and industry experts to discuss solutions to global hunger and poverty. They also participated in interactive activities on the ISU campus to explore research and work currently taking place in Iowa to address global challenges.  In May, seventy-five students will be selected to attend the Global Institute to be held in the fall. These students will have the opportunity to interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and discuss pressing food security and agricultural issues with international experts during the 3-day event in October.  The institute emphasizes the importance and opportunities in STEM careers

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