Science fair winners selected for regional competition

Travis Pottorff’s science project explained the energy source which causes the ocean’s currents. He won a blue ribbon at Mt. Garfield Middle School’s Science Fair.

Travis Pottorff has never seen the ocean.

Yet, the science project he submitted to this year’s science fair at Mt. Garfield Middle School was about the energy that drives ocean currents. His experiment won him a spot at the Western Colorado Regional Science Fair taking place at Mesa State College Feb. 19-20.

“I didn’t know much about the ocean,” Pottorff said, “but I learned that the density of the water is really the thing that effects currents.”

Pottorff filled a pie tin with vegetable oil, added parsley flakes, and lit a candle in the middle to start a current. The he measured the amount of time it took for the flakes to complete a circle around the tin.

Before testing his hypotheses, he thought the ocean currents were caused by wind, not heat and density.

“I usually get Cs and Bs so I’m really happy,” Pottorff said of his success.

More than 180 projects were on display Wednesday night. Over 150 parents and community members came to see the fair, the highest turnout ever, according to Ginger Decavitch, a science teacher at the school.

The students tested a variety of hypothesis, subjects ranging from engineering of bridges to measuring a person’s ability to text and drive.

10 entries were selected for the regional fair. The entries were judges on scientific experiment, an oral interview with judges, and presentation of their project board.

“The competition was really stiff this year,” said Decavitch, adding that the winners truly did outstanding scientific work.


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