Little Warriors win science fair

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Dillon White
  • 341st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
How much iron is really in breakfast cereal and would apple juice taste the same if it was purple? 

Three Little Warriors at Malmstrom know the answer and they have awards from the recent Great Falls Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Mansfield Convention Center to prove it. 

This year's fair was the largest yet, roughly 400 local public and private school students ranging in grade from kindergarten through high school participated. 

Little Warrior Kayla, 9, won a first place medal in the second and third grade life science competition as well as a creativity award plaque. 

Twin Little Warriors Mae Claire and Emma, 5, and their classmate Gail, 5, from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, took first place medals in the kindergarten and first grade life science competition. The trio also won the creativity award, a special merit award and the Great Falls Health Award for which they received plaques. 

By blending cereal with water and extracting the iron with a magnet, Kayla determined which breakfast cereal had the most iron of the seven she tested. 

This was Kayla's first year competing. She was excited and happy to win, she said. Kayla also offered some advice for prospective science fair competitors. 

"Try writing [the project] all by yourself with your parents correcting it," Kayla said. "If you got something wrong, start over again. You have to do a lot of hard work, but you should do it because it's worth it." 

Emma, Mae Claire and Gail wanted to know if they could deceive their classmate's taste buds by changing the color of familiar juices. 

To begin, the three kindergartners donned their "lab coats" and added food coloring to three different juices to gauge the psychological effect on the taste testers. 

The girl's classmates were recruited as "guinea pigs" and tasted purple apple juice, yellow grape juice and red orange juice. 

Taste testers said the purple apple juice tasted like grape juice and they guessed the yellow grape juice was lemonade or apple juice, the girls said. 

The three girls tricked their classmates with the first two juices, but could not fool their peer's palettes with the red imposter. 

"It didn't trick anyone," Emma and Mae Claire said. "Everyone knew they were drinking orange juice." 

The twins tested purple food coloring mixed with orange juice at home on their father and successfully fooled him into believing it was grape juice, they said. 

"One good question always leads to another," said Suzanne Sabin, mother of the twin girls. "As a former science teacher, I tried to impress upon my students that, in science, the questions are more important than the answers." 

Mrs. Sabin said Kayla asked her why the amount of iron collected from the breakfast cereals didn't correspond to the amount represented on the box. 

"Again, an experiment often raises more questions than it answers and usually leads to further investigation," Mrs. Sabin said. "The science fair engages students in a thinking process where the procedure is equally as important as the experimental outcome."