Sandcastle technology wins science fair

Published: May 4, 2006 4:57:01 PM
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A group of Boys and Girls Club members adapted an experiment described by an Auburn University faculty member to help them win a national science fair. Their project, "Engineering a Stronger Sandcastle," examined ways to build a bigger, stronger sandcastle. The students modified a reinforced sand experiment from "Soils Magic," a text by civil engineering faculty member David Elton that demonstrates and explains soil oriented lab experiments. Blaine Guidry, from the soils firm TTL, Inc. coached the students and allowed them to use the company's facilities in Montgomery.

The winning team included four students, aged 10-14 years, from the Boys and Girls Club of the Lake Martin, Ala., area. The team entered the project into the Boys and Girls Club of America's Science Fair, a contest sponsored by Dragonfly Quest, the PBS program.

The team's report and presentation won first place in the general science category. The winning students received an all-expense paid trip to Orlando, where they have the opportunity to go to Disney World, as well as spend a night at Kennedy Space Center. Their video presentation will be on display at the National Boys and Girls Club Conference in Boston and on Youthnet, a website designed by the Boys and Girls Club of America.

"The best part of contributing to this is knowing my work made someone happy," Elton said. "These experiments generate excitement and laughter and improve the educational experience of the participants. It's a pretty good feeling."