Strawberry plants and candles—one Chapel Hill Elementary fifth-grader recently put them together for an award-winning science fair project.
From among more than 100 fifth-graders, Sinaan Younus won the grand prize for his grade level during the ninth annual Baltimore County Public Schools Elementary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Fair.
"It felt good being No. 1. I was happy, and my dad said he thought I put a lot of effort into it," Sinaan said.
Sinaan's project started with a discussion at his Perry Hall home with his dad and older sister, and a simple hypothesis: If plants produce oxygen, then a plant with more leaves should produce more oxygen.
He decided to measure the oxygen levels of strawberry plants by how long a candle would keep burning inside a jar with just the plant. Sinaan discovered that the difference between a 10-leaf plant and a 20-leaf plant was about an additional minute in burning time.
His hard work paid off when he came away from the STEM Fair with a "pretty big" plaque, a "fancy" microscope and a grand prize ribbon.
"I was surprised because the other projects I saw, they were pretty good, too," he said.
Sinaan said his science teachers at Chapel Hill help to "make science fun."
It's a little early to tell, but he said he could see himself becoming a biomedical engineer or economist.
"I've always wanted to make stuff. I'm really good with LEGOs, and would like to invent stuff like a doctor," he said. "And I'm good at math."
What extraordinary things are the kids in your lives doing? Tell us in the comments.