Clifton Forge, VA (May 18, 2020) - Every April for the past several years, the Jackson River Governorâ€™s School has hosted an exhibition - fondly known as the JRGS Science Fair - for students in Barbara Kolbâ€™s research course, NAS-198-199, â€śIntro to Scientific Research,â€ť to show off their projects. Typically, the JRGS Science Fair is held in the Moomaw Center on the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College campus in Clifton Forge each year.
This yearâ€™s pandemic, and the subsequent closing of the DSLCC campus in mid-March, altered, but, ultimately, didnâ€™t stop area high school juniors from completing and turning in their projects, anyway.
â€śWeâ€™re doing the projects,â€ť Kolb says she told the students, despite the circumstances. The accompanying research papers were turned in through a variety of ways, says Kolb, but mostly via email attachments or taking photos of pages with cell phones.
Kolb noted that several students had been working on their projects since the beginning of the school year and had put a lot of work into them already. Others, who had planned to use the science lab, library, and other facilities at the college, had to switch gears and change their topics.
One of them was Alexandre Taylor, an Alleghany High School junior, whose original idea was to measure the effect of electrolytes in different sports beverages. He would have needed the DSLCC lab to conduct his experiments.
Instead, since he knows something about drone flying, Taylorâ€™s research project looked into the practicality of delivering much-needed medications to people living in insolated or rural areas.
Kolb said Taylorâ€™s academic paper was well done, and is not only an example of good research, but also how even high school students are thinking how they can help their community. Alexandre enlisted the services of Adam McBryde, who is a former student of Kolbâ€™s from James River High School, and McBrydeâ€™s teenage step daughter, Leah Manier, to film a video explaining how the drone idea would work, since Alexandreâ€™s drone is broken. The video showed how a drone could deliver an asthma inhaler to someoneâ€™s home.
â€śThis is only one example of how these students are helping others during this time of quarantine,â€ť says Kolb.
For Kolb and her students, the main thrust of the course is not so much the topic, the thesis, or what conclusions they think theyâ€™ll come to, but how the scientific research is conducted. The students werenâ€™t able to display their projects in Moomaw Center and defend them to judges; however, for Kolb, that wasnâ€™t the main point. The main point was the research process, and, for that, Kolb is extraordinarily proud of her students, especially since most communication with them wasnâ€™t face to face in the classroom. That was a huge challenge, says Kolb.
â€śIf they didnâ€™t find what they expected to find, I wanted to know why and how,â€ť says Kolb. â€śThey stayed focused and they worked hard.â€ť
â€śI am incredibly fortunate to work with these young ladies and gentlemen,â€ť adds Eddie Graham, JRGS Director. â€śThey are certainly very capable academically and willing to challenge themselves. Perhaps more importantly, they are very mature for their age and display very positive personal characteristics. I am extremely proud of how they have reacted to the major disruption that this health crisis has caused.â€ť
Topics ranged from comparing this pandemic with others from history to a GPS wildflower study at Douthat State Park. Hereâ€™s a list of the projects, along with the studentsâ€™ home schools:
Savannah Angle (Alleghany High School) - The Distribution of Native Wildflowers in Douthat State Park in Millboro
Kaitlin Arnold (Bath County High School)-- Can Substances Pass Through Plastic Bags?
Madison Bennett (Covington High School)--Can Water Temperature change with the Chemicals emitted from Plastic Bottles exposed to sunlight?
Trevor Broce (AHS) â€“ How Fast do Fast Food Burgers Decompose?
Giovanni Brown (AHS) What Material of Tubing Best Transfers Heat to Improve Motor Efficiency?
Gracie Conner (AHS) --Can a Person's Heart Rate Decrease After Petting a Dog?
Allison Douglas (CHS)--Has Telemedicine Improved Healthcare Throughout Time?
Luke Fisher (CHS)---Differences of Chlorine and pH levels in the Jackson River Above and Below the Paper Plant
Jeffrey Harris (AHS)-Does Magnetism Have an Effect on Plant Growth?
Anna Hayes (AHS)-- Comparing COVID-19 to the Black Death of the 14th Century
Erik Honaker-(AHS)--What is Beauty? Being Average Isn't so Bad
Mason Honaker (AHS)---What Brand of Antacid is Most Effective?
Makailynn Hoke (AHS) â€“Major Pandemics over the Past Hundred Years
Kassie Huffman (AHS - What Effect Do Advancements in Science and Medicine Have on the Number of Contracted Pandemic Cases?
Ethyn Kimberlin (AHS -- Which Form of Education Do Students, Educational Professionals and Parents Prefer--In Class or Online?
Abby Martin (AHS) â€“ Do the Number of Snow Days Have an Effect on SOL Scores?
Alex Newman (AHS) - What Is the Effect of Loud Noises on Pulse Rates?
Andrew Peck (AHS-- Are Men or Women More Accurate When It Comes to Real or Artificial Smells?
Aaron Rosen (CHS)--The Effect of Water Availability on the Rate of Decomposition of Paper Towels
Zoe Spangler (CHS) - Which Method of Testing Is Preferred Between Teachers and Students?
Alexandre Taylor (AHS)â€“ Using a Drone to Deliver Medications to Residents Living in Isolated Areas
Trevor Tomlin (Parry McCluer High School) --Comparison of the Major Pandemics in History
Keegan Williams (AHS) -- Best Alternative Archery Backstops
For more information on the Jackson River Governor's School, please contact Eddie Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JRGS Student Conducting Research on Effect of Snow Days on SOL Scores