Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Phake Pheromones

Every year, my school hosts a science fair for the kids who choose to do a project instead of taking a big test. This year, however, we were required to do a project. It is still your choice whether or not you will place your project in the science fair.

My project was called Phake Pheromones. I used termites, inks, and note cards to determine which brand of ink contains a chemical that is similar to a termite pheromone. For those of you who may not know, a pheromone is a scent given off by certain animals to communicate with other members of their species. These animals can mark trails and territories and can tell others where danger is.

Termites have different castes. There is the king and queen who are reproductive termites, the blind worker termites who bring food to other termites, and the blind soldiers who keep away invaders.

All of this information was found when I was doing my research. After I finished writing the information down in my log book, it was time to do the experiment. I bought seven pens, one each of the following...Bic pen, Papermate pen, Sharpie marker, Sharpie highlighter, Papermate Expresso, Mr. Sketch highlighter, and Bic marker.

For each experiment, I drew a y-shaped line. One slash was written with pencil, my control. The rest was written with one of the seven types in ink. I put a termite down on the page and recorded the result.

After finishing all of my experimentation, I analyzed the data and found that the termites followed the Bic pen and Papermate pen. This supported my hypothesis that the termites would follow the Bic pen.

I decided to enter my project in the science fair. It was on the thirteenth of March. This was my busiest day of the year. On that day, I had to wake up really early to take the SAT, which ended right at the beginning of the science fair. After I finished the test, I had to run to school without stopping at all.

The moment I got there, I had to rush to my project to make sure it was all set up properly. I stood around and talked to my friends while waiting for the judges to visit my station. After explaining my project, the judges told me it was really good, except that they did not like my font.

A little later, the judges finished up and decided who would win the awards. The seventh grade third place went to a project on infrared and plants that I thought was really good. Based on the reactions of the judges, I thought I had a chance at getting a place. I received second place, which was really cool because there were so many good projects. The first place winner was a project on dish detergent. It was really interesting and good.

The best part about the science fair was that I had fun!



At 8:04 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

You're such a great scientist, Z! Congratulations on getting second place! (Although, imho, given the lack of creativity in yet another dish detergent experiment, I think you should've gotten first!) Hey, any thoughts on why the Bic and papermate pens were the most similar?

And I can't believe you're already taking the SATs! How is that possible?!

At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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