Kalina Brabeck, a sixth grader at St. Columba School, discovered Lysol makes a pretty good product if you’re looking to kill bacteria.
Samantha Riddell, a sixth grader at Ignacio Middle School, discovered parameciums survive better than amoebas.
Belén Roof, a 10th grader at Silverton School, believes she identified microplastics in the San Juan Mountain snowpack.
The three students were among the 213 who participated in the 62nd annual San Juan Basin Regional Science Fair, held Tuesday in the Exhibit Building at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
“Lysol killed the most bacteria, and that matched my hypothesis,” said Kalina, 12, the daughter of Tracy Farmer and Chris Brabeck.
Kalina compared Lysol with the product her family uses at home, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day household cleaners, and a homemade concoction made up of dish soap and water.
Despite Lysol’s top-place finish in killing bacteria, Kalina said her family will stick with Mrs. Meyer’s products because they have fewer chemicals in them and are less polluting in the water system once they are washed down the drain.
“Mrs. Meyer’s smells good, too,” she said.
Sheila Weahkee with the San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services said students came from schools from Dove Creek to Pagosa Springs and from Silverton to the New Mexico line to present their findings from their projects.
The top five projects in three divisions – sixth grade, junior and senior divisions – will be nominated to attend the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair to be held April 2-4 in Fort Collins.
Samantha was shocked to see paramecium survive in beakers of water she microwaved up to 100 degrees Celsius.
“They’re supposed to withstand up to 25 degrees Celsius,” she said.
Samantha, 11, the daughter of Kristian Roheros and Jason Riddell, said she was interested to see what lived after being zapped in the microwave.
“I microwave a lot of things, and I wanted to see what lived in water after being microwaved,” she said.
Samantha couldn’t find any living microorganisms in tap water, so she ordered parameciums and amoebas online for her experiments.
Belén, 16, the daughter of Cassandra and Robert Roof, thinks she might purse a career in science when she gets to college. She’s also interested in spreading awareness of the hazards of pollution and might go into environmental advocacy.
She identified “non-cellular” structures in eight different samples of snow she collected in glass jars, and she thinks she found some microplastics – and not minerals – because the microscopic particles were bright blue and red.
“I need to analyze them with more sophisticated equipment than I had, a scanning electron microscope and a mass spectrometer, to know for sure,” she said.