Hundreds of school kids will be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes today and Saturday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. That’s the site of the 51st State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa. Fair director Andrea Spencer says there are a record 560 participants this year.
Spencer says they’ll compete for more than $76,000 in prizes and scholarships. The top overall prize for the senior high group is a $7,000 scholarship. The competitors are in grades 6 through 12. Spencer says the top two individual and team project winners in the high school division will each receive an all-expenses paid trip to Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, Georgia May 11-17.
"There’s over three million dollars in awards and prizes given out there," Spencer said. Many of the projects entered in the Iowa science fair deal with energy production, including wind and biofuels. "Specifically, there’s some that relate to different grasses and the amount of energy that we’re able to get off of those," Spencer said. Another large batch of entrants focus on plant sciences.
Spencer says those include topics such as how to use hydroponics to grow corn and soybeans year round, looking at soil types and entomology studies of farm field pests. The fair is free and open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. today and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.