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Heritage fifth-graders embrace science in regional fair

Heritage's awarding-winning fifth-graders at the North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair were Gavin Johnson, from left, John Busch, Jackson Lanier, Allyson Thammavongsa, Caroline Bendickson, Andrea Torres, Lauren Assaf, Emma Drake, Amanda Peterson, Kassie Hileman and sponsor Mrinal Joshi. (CONTRIBUTED)
Heritage’s awarding-winning fifth-graders at the North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair were Gavin Johnson, from left, John Busch, Jackson Lanier, Allyson Thammavongsa, Caroline Bendickson, Andrea Torres, Lauren Assaf, Emma Drake, Amanda Peterson, Kassie Hileman and sponsor Mrinal Joshi. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Several fifth-graders at Heritage Elementary School entered projects at the North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

The fair was held at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in March.

Fifth-graders participating at the regional fair were Gavin Johnson, John Busch, Jackson Lanier, Allyson Thammavongsa, Caroline Bendickson, Andrea Torres, Lauren Assaf, Emma Drake, Amanda Peterson and Kassie Hileman.

Eight out of 10 fifth-graders advanced to state level: Caroline Bendickson, Amanda Peterson, Emma Drake, Lauren Assaf, John Busch, Gavin Johnson, Jackson Lanier and Kassie Hileman (who also earned a special award for the top three placements in her category). Allyson Thammavongsa received honorable mention.

“I personally learned a lot,” fifth-grade sponsor Mrinal Joshi said. “I didn’t realize how rigorous and time-consuming the paperwork would be … but well worth the effort.”

Bendickson’s project, “Does Gluten-Free Equal Taste-Free” determined people’s preference for wheat flour. With “Of All the Nerve,” Peterson found that the index finger and lower arm are most sensitive to touch.

Drake’s project, “Which Wipes Wipe Out,” determined if ‘flushable’ wipes really disintegrate. Lanier studied the influence of color on blood pressure; green increased pressure, while red reduced the reading.

Busch and Johnson explored weathering and erosion by painting nails with various coatings (nail polish was most resistant).

With “Electromagnetic Fishing,” Kassie Hileman’s testing could help builders and construction workers.

Thammavongsa’s “The 5-Second Rule” studied bacteria growth on bread dropped on different floors. She allowed bacteria to grow on food in petri dishes. Thammavongsa discovered the dining room floor and driveway grew the most bacteria.

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