Students’ research earns perfect scores

Published 1:55 am Friday, April 27, 2018

A group of seventh graders from Fleeta School was the youngest group to score a perfect score at this year’s GLOBE Southeast Regional Science Symposium at the University of North Carolina.

Groups that attend this symposium have to come up with student-led research projects and present them in front of a group of judges.

Lexie Bush, Caitlyn Wilson, Whitney Tubberville and Emily Butts worked on their hypothesis for about three months before having to change a week before testing it.

“We decided to change because it would be easier on us,” Bush said. “We decided to test lake soil, pond soil and regular land soil to see what the PH levels would be in them.”

The group’s hypothesis stated that the pond soil would be the most acidic, and they were correct.

“I am really glad that the data was correct,” Tubberville said. “It means we did our research right.”

The group had to show their research to a group of judges that were all experts in the scientific field.

“I was pretty nervous,” Wilson said. “One judge was from NASA and the others were all scientists and young college students.”

To get a perfect score, groups had to earn four stars from the judges. The group from Fleeta was the youngest group to earn four stars.

“I am beyond excited for them,” Science teacher Valerie Brownlee said. “They got a crystal trophy and certificates to show their hard work and dedication.”

This was the first time all four of the girls had traveled to North Carolina and the first time on an airplane.

“It was really wobbly when we landed,” Butts said. “But I enjoyed the free drinks and pretzels.”

Besides the competition, the girls were able to sightsee around the university.

“We got to go to the aquarium and use an Uber to go to the mall,” Wilson said. “This trip made me want to see more of North Carolina and maybe even go to the university in the future.”

The group plans to attend the same competition next year, but Brownlee will hold a different position. She was recently hired as the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative’s middle school science specialist.

“I can still take the girls to this competition,” Brownlee said. “I just won’t be able to see them as much as I am used to. Fleeta has been so good to me and I can’t thank them enough for the kindness they have shown me.”

Along with scoring perfect scores, the group was selected as the best presentation in the contest, and will be recognized at the next school board meeting.