West Grand Science Fair: Students gain better understanding of themselves, the world
January 18, 2009
West Grand High Schools Zach Adams could have an addiction to video games.Adams estimates that he plays computer video games 40 hours per week. Some of that time goes toward playing WoW, World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game where thousands of players adventure together in an enormous, persistent game world, forming friendships, slaying monsters, and engaging in epic quests that can span days or weeks, according to the games Web site.I game a little, Adams said. My mom keeps saying Im addicted. I just want to see if theres a true thing as addiction.For this years West Grand Science Fair, Adams researched whether video game addiction is similar to the physical and psychological addictions people have to alcohol or drugs. The data he used came from a survey of about 3,500 gamers.His data was displayed at West Grand School Districts Fourth Annual Science Fair.He focused on lifestyle questions: How happy do the games make you? Do you spend more time playing video games than you think you should? Has your work or schoolwork suffered from the amount of time you play? And, have you tried to quit? He made a pie chart to show the results. The majority of people surveyed were casual gamers, interested or hooked, but still a few levels away from addiction. A small percentage were addicts.Adams spent up to 50 hours working on his science project over a three week period, and sacrificed a little bit of time he could have spent fighting monsters to gain a level in World of Warcraft. Even though he didnt take the survey himself, he predicts if hes not addicted, but close, he said.Mountain DewA high pulse increases peoples chance of heart attack, ninth-grader Chyenne Sims said, who studied the effects of Mountain Dew on drinkers.She invited six boys and four girls to her home to test their pulse 20 minutes after they drank a bottle of Mountain Dew, and repeated the process three times. Half the kids in high school are addicted to Mountain Dew, she said.Her hypothesis was that girls pulses would be higher and fluctuate more than the boys because girls have a higher body fat index, and boys are more active. After measuring the results, all of the pulses increased, but her hypothesis proved correct. Sims explained her project to three judges at the science fair and answered questions.One judge asked, What can people take from your project? It can show whats bad for you, she said. Dont drink three Mountain Dews.Something FishyThree judges rated each of the projects. Students explained their projects to them, pointing to the information they gathered on a tri-fold board. Judge Kelly Hodgson, from Kremmlings Bureau of Land Management, enjoyed eighth-grader Bailey Palmers Something Fishy, which took third place in the eighth grade.Palmers question was: Is the GPS correct when it tells me the prime time to go fishing? Palmers Global Positioning System gives information about when fish are feeding. She wanted to find out if it was accurate so that I can bring home dinner, she said.Her hypothesis was that the GPS would be fairly accurate, allowing a 30-minute difference between the GPS predicted feeding time and the actual feeding time. She arrived at several different locations early to test her hypothesis.She did awesome, Hodgson said. She has it on video tape showing the fish jumping. Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.