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Young Futurists

The Great Falls Tribune reported today on the 25th annual Great Falls Invitational Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday at the Great Falls Civic Center. The paper reported on an investigation by Abby Vanderkilk, a 6th grader at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, into the edibility of food that has been dropped on the floor. Abby was testing the world famous theory of the 5-Minute Rule and the accumulation of bacteria on discarded food. “I’ve eaten food off the floor before, but after this experiment I’m not doing it again,”  reported Vanderkilk.

They also delved into the project by eighth-grader Lawrence Phillips who wanted to know how many school books it takes to stop a speeding bullet. “Phillips tested how many 1-inch-thick books it would take to stop bullets fired from three different guns — a 5.56 motel2mm assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22 long rifle — from 10, 20 and 30 feet. He found that it took an average of about six books to stop a bullet.” Young Lawrence said he was motivated by the rash of school shootings and lockdowns at schools across the nation in recent years. ” “I wanted to see if putting a book in front of you could save you,”  said the 13-year old scientist.

The Bugle wants to applaud all the participants in this year’s invitational fair. A thirst for knowledge and training in the methods of science are values we want to foster in all Montana students. Still, you have to wonder what our culture is teaching these future researchers when their gradeschool worries include what they should eat off the floor and how they can protect themselves from crazy people in our school system.

Congratulations to Kimball Hanley, fifth-grader in Mrs. Talbot’s Button Valley Elementary class for taking fourth place in the Insects and Disease bracket. About half of the 400 students in grades 1-12 took home prizes from the science fair. They can all be proud of their participation.


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