Students take creative projects to next level

By Gabby Sahm

Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Sarah Low.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Low.

Tall poster boards stand from end to end. Spots of artificial blood can be seen splattered all over a board, catching people’s eye, while at another table scurrying ants can been seen making tunnels through the dirt. There is only one place where you can see these amazing projects and more.

Coppell Middle School North eighth grader Sarah Low and Coppell High School sophomore Timothy Blazek both competed in the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair on Feb. 14. Both competed individually and had to come up with their own project ideas to test out  and present to different a panels of judges throughout the day.

Blazek’s project is centered around ants. He wanted to create a quantitative way to measure ant tunneling systems and how the tunnels are affected by different environmental pollutants.

“I submitted a project entitled ‘A novel network theory analysis for animal behavior applied to the effects of environmental pollutants’,” Blazek said. “This project idea is similar to my project from last year, but instead I am using ants for this experiment instead of hydra.”

Low’s project is a little different. Her project is entitled ‘Blood Spatter Analysis’, and the goal of the project is to analyze how different types of weapons created distinctly different spatter patterns. It involves the use of ‘weapons’, as well as balloons filled with artificial blood to simulate a murder victim’s own body. The three weapons used on the each of the three balloons were an airsoft gun, a hammer and a knife.

Blazek spent six months on his project, while Low only spent a month and a half on hers. Blazek’s project involves a lot of computer programming, which he learned from his brother.

“I did a lot of research for this project including the research of some of the variables,” Blazek said. “I had to learn a lot of computer programming throughout this whole process.”

Jamie Graves, Low’s science teacher, helped Low through her entire project. From helping her research topics, to letting her put the finishing touches on in class, Graves has given Low the freedom to work of her project when needed. After the project was complete, Graves could not have been more proud of Low’s creation.

“I have not had any other student in all my years of teaching do an experiment like Sarah,” Graves said. “She was very thorough in her experiment design and data collection, which helped her advance in this competition and that help her do very well in my class.”

In the end, Blazek and Low are both moving onto the state level competition on March 22. They both are happy to have this experience under their belts. They enjoyed working on their projects and being able to present their hard work to the judges.

“You should do things you love, not just for the sake of slapping a grade on a school-required project,” Low said. “Pursue your interests, and if you really really work hard on something, other people will like it as well and you might even win something.”