The young scientists of the community gathered together for the third annual Mad Scientists Science Fair on May 20th, hosted at the Humboldt County Library by Library Technician of Youth Services personnel, Jamie Wells and Jasmine Medoza. Each contestant executed an experiment using the scientific method and presented their findings to the judges: Sixth Judicial District Court Judge Michael Montero, Science Fair Judge Ashley Maden, and Mayor Rich Stone. The judges then chose three winners: Shane Rhoads, age 11, with his Stalactites and Stalagmites project, Braeden Ochoa, age 7, with The Humpty Dumpty Experiment, and Talia Jurad, age 11, with her Creating a Gas project, in no particular order.
“Instead of them just doing an experiment straight from a book and not expanding on it, I wanted them to come up with a question so that at the end they would figure out if their question was correct or not. Science is so much more than just executing an experiment; I want them to question things,” said Wells.
The library provided the scientists with most of the materials that each needed to complete their experiments, invites for friends and family, log books to record their findings, and trifolds to display their results, according to Wells. The crew had started studying the scientific method and preparing for the fair back in February at their monthly meetings and were judged according to how well they were able to explain their experiment and findings, and “did they understand that they learned something?” added Wells. All of the scientists were able to create organized presentations and explain their understanding of their experiments to the judges.
Judge Montero said that he was very impressed with the diversity of all of the projects and joked that his only criticism was that “we couldn’t give everybody perfect scores.”
The first annual fair was in 2019 and the second one was held virtually in 2020, according to Wells, and the scientists took a break from the fair in 2021, but Wells and Mendoza both gathered ideas on how to make the next one bigger and better.
“Every year we learn something,” said Wells.
Other projects featured at the fair were: Plants and What They Need to Grow, by Josiah Rhoads, age 5, Color Changing Pennies, by Seth Rhoads, age 8, Dancing Grapes, by Matthew Wilson, age 7, Color Changing Water, by Emily Wilson, age 4, and Seeds Feed the World, by Kiera Porter, age 8.