Lynd students show off their scientific smarts

LYND – While students typically learn a great deal while they are developing their science fair projects, some continue to learn even after the experiments and posterboards are finished. That was the case Friday at the Lynd Public School science fair, as students and visitors seemed to learn from each other.

Lynd eighth-grader Rhiannon Markegard did her project on electromagnetics. As part of her project, Markegard used a cylindrical magnet to lift up BB gun pellets. After the award ceremony, she accidently took her project to another level.

“I set my tub of stuff down on the chair, and it was hard to pick it back up,” she said. “I was able to lift the chair up (using the magnetic object). I wish I’d known I could do that earlier, when the judges were here.”

Even though she didn’t place this year, Markegard enjoyed the project. She also liked sharing it with others, including Adrian resident Ron Reisdorfer, who came to support his grandson Garret Reisdorfer.

“I try to make it every year,” Ron Reisdorfer said. “I enjoy it every time I come. I’m always amazed at how the kids bring the simple stuff to life, things you don’t always stop to think about.”

In some ways, it was like reminiscing, said Reisdorfer, who recalled being in a science club when he was a sophomore in high school.

“I got to go to Mankato,” he said. “I had made a telescope and had to explain how I did the construction of it. I didn’t win any awards, but it was a good experience. I also got a dictionary.”

Noah Mercie’s display, which included live chickens, also got a lot of attention. Mercie’s project involved a comparison between regular Nutrena chicken feed and Nutrena Nature Wise Medicated feed.

“At first, I thought the medicated feed would work better,” Mercie said. “But the regular was better. It helped their feathers come in faster, and they got bigger. At three weeks, they weighed one pound. That’s pretty big for a chicken.”

Mercie pointed out that he and his family raise a lot of chickens. His dad’s chickens are meat birds, Mercie said, while his are used for egg production.

“Last year, I raised about 150 of them,” Mercie said. “They’re Buff Orpingtons. They’re good chickens for laying, especially if you want them to lay in the winter. Even in the cold, they still lay eggs.”

Organizer Martin Boucek, Lynd science and social studies teacher, thought the middle school student projects turned out well.

“We had a lot of kids who stepped it up,” he said. “We don’t do the science fair projects in school anymore. They’re all at-home projects, with the exception of giving out a few directions and then the fair (Friday).”

The projects are graded on a pass or fail system and have wide-open possibilities, which allows the students to experiment with their creativity, Boucek said.

“It’s a good experience,” he said. “It has the scientific inquiry needed in school, and kids can choose their own topic. I check in with them periodically, but they’re all responsible for their own project. Overall, they’re great.”

In the fifth- and sixth-grade competition, Jack Kerr received first-place honors, followed by Stefanie Villeda and Dean Pochardt, who also earn the right to advance to the regional competition in Mankato. While they do not advance, Jackson Gonzalez took fourth place, while Myles Williams was fifth.

In the seventh- and eighth-grade division, McKenzie Milstead was first place, followed by Siomara Garcia and Jayden Strand. Carlee Goslar took fourth-place honors, while Janny Flores was fifth.

“It was nice to see so many parents come to this, not just to visit with their own child, but with all of the students,” Boucek said. “That’s good for the whole Lynd community. I had parents tell me the science fair brought back memories. It’s good to continue the legacy.”