Brabson and Wickham found that a shopping cart grew more bacteria in 72 hours than a video game controller, pen and restroom stall door at Wal-Mart. Their project was part of Saturday's District 14 Science Day at Shawnee State University.
Students from Scioto, Pike, Lawrence and Adams counties who received superior ratings at both their school science fair and county science fair were eligible to compete.
District 14 is one of the few districts that allows fifth- and sixth-graders to take part in the competition. Only seventh- through 12th-graders are allowed to move on to the state level, but participating helps the younger students gain experience on a college campus, said Jeff Perez, executive director of communications and legislative affairs at SSU.
“By getting elementary and high school students onto a college campus, they get more comfortable with it,” he said. “It helps get more kids to college.”
Thirty-eight students qualified for the state science fair, which is scheduled for May 6 at The Ohio State University. To get the chance to qualify for state, students must earn 36 out of 40 points to receive a superior rating.
Last year at the state science fair, District 14 students earned cash prizes and scholarships valued at $240,000, said Jeffrey Bauer, co-director and judging chair of the district event.
“There is a whole lot to offer to those who move on to State Science Day,” he said.
Danielle Miller, an eighth-grader at Waverly Junior High School, also focused her project around bacteria. “Germ Fighters” determined which soap is the most effective in killing bacteria on a person's hands.
Miller swiped bacteria from the railing of her school's stairwell and used different types of soaps to wash her hands. She found that Ivory soap kills the most bacteria, at 72 percent.
It was her first time participating in the science fair, and she said it was a little nerve-racking.
“I talk a lot but I'm not used to speaking in front of a judge that's judging me,” she said.
EMILY SALMON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.