After months of ruminating on science fair projects, children crunching data and parents staying up late to add finishing touches, the Carson City School District winners claimed their reward Tuesday night: a certificate and recognition before fellow classmates and school officials.
Spencer Bean, a Mark Twain Elementary fourth-grader, was eager for his recognition - but not sure where to go. He ran up behind the lectern inside the Bristlecone Building at Western Nevada Community College when his name was called and was directed down the line to shake hands with the district superintendent, two state Assembly members and two school board members. Who they are and how they are relevant to his education is lost on Spencer.
"I don't exactly know at all," he said before dashing back up to an overflow section, the only other place where the friends and family of about 100 award winners could fit.
What the students do know: their science projects, such as determining the musical key of different materials.
"Brass is an A (note), galvanized steel is an E," said Fred Christensen, 9, a fourth-grader from Seeliger Elementary.
MacKenzie Gilliam, 9, a third-grader also from Seeliger, learned how to take her hobby and turn it into a useful invention. She built the Pistol Organizer Pack for her gun. While target shooting with her family, Gilliam no longer has to worry about losing her bullets.
"You put your bullets in this (she held up a neoprene drink coolie that closes with a drawstring) and that keeps your bullets from rolling off," she said. Her invention, made with an outdoor blanket and Velcro strips for $11.68, won her first place.
Madeline Carine, 9, learned about the power of helium and the weight of different household objects.
"It would take three balloons to lift a pencil," she said.
Alex Drozdoff, 10, a soft-spoken girl in a pink outfit, discovered that Lifesavers dissolve fastest in water. Gum balls don't dissolve at all because they are made with wax and sap. She found that fact on the Internet.
Nevin Elliott, 11, took a scientific approach to answering that age-old question "Who is smarter, boys or girls?"
He was surprised to find that boys scored higher on tests of their visual and auditory memories. He had the help of his mother, Mary Delorme, a school psychologist. She likes her son to incorporate his class into projects and then present the results.
"Most of the girls were surprised," Nevin said. "The boys looked at it and said 'Ah, I'm a smart man' and they were all slapping hands.'"
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.