On June 6, 68 students at Jemtegaard Middle School presented hands-on team projects at the JMS Science Fair.

Maelynn O’Bryant, 8th grade student at Jemtegaard Middle School, won Best of Fair Overall for her project, “What works better?“, which explored the impact of positive reinforcement on the ability of pet rats to complete a homemade maze. O’Bryant conducted a series of experiments and concluded that the rats given positive reinforcement throughout the experiment took longer to complete the maze than the rats with no reinforcement.

Best of Fair Overall winner Maelynn O’Bryant, 8th grade student at Jemtegaard Middle School

Judges also recognized three students from each grade level, including first place winners Olivia Nichols and Charlene Foote (6th grade), Macey Babic and Brianna Deziel (7th grade), and Silas Ellsworth and Riley Rose (8th grade).

Grade level categories were also awarded to Hunter Monks, Ben Termini, Henry Timmons, Ethan Dowell, Stephen Fernandez-Ramirez, Ciaran Jay, Keagan Streeter, Lainey Hajek, Amberlin McBee, Kenzie Jones, Sicily Belvin, and Jean Frazer-Ross.

Hunter Monks presents his scientific experiments at the science fair

ESD 112’s Vickei Hrdina, Director of Career Readiness and STEM Initiatives, and Sharon Purdue, Career Navigator, served on a panel of science fair judges alongside Washougal community members and district leadership.

“We want to see that the student is really engaged; their curiosity is obvious, and they were excited about learning the outcome or designing the solution,” said Hrdina and Purdue. “We also like to see authentic projects that are driven by empathy and help the student see the application of science or STEM to real-world problems.”

Middle school student teams presented research projects ranging from physics to earth science. Students learned scientific investigation, creativity, leadership, and teamwork skills while preparing for the fair.

“I love science and I just love doing this stuff. Making the projects was the most fun, but the second most fun part was presenting to people about our project during the science fair,” said Olivia Nichols, 6th grade student at Jemtegaard Middle School.

Left to right: Olivia Nichols, Charlene Foote and Haylee Hardin pose in front of the event backdrop

Five dedicated science teachers at Jemtegaard Middle School guided 6-8th grade students as they conceptualized and created unique science fair projects.

“The most inspiring part of the planning process for me has been watching the students engage in the scientific method and get excited about their experiments,” said Kaitlyn Huegli, science teacher at Jemtegaard Middle School. “It’s never too early or too late to start thinking like a scientist!”

The JMS Science Fair was made possible by the JMS Boosters and community support. A donation by United Precision Corporation, a leading aerospace manufacturer in the Port of Camas-Washougal industrial park, funded student prizes for the winning fair presentations. Supplies for the JMS Science Fair were generously donated by the Washougal Schools Foundation.

This event represented another local STEM learning opportunity supported by ESD 112.

“ESD112 STEM Initiatives has been a partner with many districts in their science and STEM programs for decades. We support the Southwest Washington Regional High School Fair and collaborate with many community members to make sure students can see themselves as STEM professionals,” said Hrdina and Purdue in a joint statement.