South Shore News
Riverview student’s science project wins award
Eighth-grader Josia Jacobs is determined to make a difference serving the community through science.
The Rodgers Middle School student recently won third place in the Junior Botany division at the Hillsborough Regional Science Fair at the Tampa Convention Center. More than 375 middle school students participated from around the county.
Josia’s research question, “How do saltwater and freshwater flooding affect lawns?" was derived from a website entitled www.sciencebuddies.org. She wanted to discover the environmental effect these two phenomena could have on places like Florida.
“I became interested in flooding and finding out if there was a difference between the effects of coastal saltwater and freshwater flooding,” she said. “I followed the scientific method to investigate my research question. I constructed the following hypothesis based on my research.
“If I experiment with coastal saltwater and freshwater flooding, then the experiment with coastal saltwater will cause more damage to the lawns,” she said. “I then tried to test my hypothesis through an experiment.”
In order to do that, Josia developed procedures to support the right hypothesis, she said. For the science fair, she followed county rules to create a poster board for sharing her experimental results.
“Josia is smart, curious and not afraid of challenging situations,” said science teacher Daphne Salas. “I am impressed with the maturity level exhibited by her throughout this process.”
Josia’s passion was ultimately rewarded.
“If we aim for something we dream of doing and stay confident, then we will be able to achieve it no matter how many times we have to try,” she said.
All schools in the Hillsborough district, including private and charter schools, conduct a local Science Fair, where the best projects are chosen to continue on to the regional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Fair.
The process starts in the classroom where teachers provide basic strategies, skills and requirements. Progression continues at home where parents or guardians support the students and help them achieve success. The youngsters are evaluated on creative ability/originality, scientific thought and thoroughness.
In its 33rd year, the regional fair features 1,700 projects from more than 2,200 students representing public and private schools throughout the county, and encourages them to pursue STEM careers.
Lorianne De Loreto is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org