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Simply Maya

My favorite subject in school is Science

Maya Hand

(March, 2010)  My favorite subject in school is Science. I especially enjoy learning about magnetism, the atmosphere, outer space, rocks and minerals. In Science class about a week ago we were learning about constellations, meteors, meteorites, comets, the sun, the stars and planets and Earthís rotation and revolution. It was so much fun! Right now in Science class we are preparing for the Science Fair. I canít wait until this yearís Science Fair!

I have been interested in learning more about Science for a long time. My first Science Fair Project was presented at the Frederick County Science Fair when I was 5 years old and in kindergarten. I got a crystal-making kit, and my parents and I created different kinds of crystals using different types of salts and water. It was really more of a research and display project than an experiment. I learned that crystals are made up of materials that build up in an orderly, repeating pattern, like a pattern you might build with Legos.

My second Science Fair Project was also a research and display type of project. I called it, "Fossils, Fossils Everywhere!" I was really interested in fossils, where they came from and how they were formed. Dad, Ana and I went fossil hunting in West Virginia and on the Eastern shore of Maryland. We found marine fossils from the Devonian period in West Virginia and on the Eastern Shore we visited a fossil site and looked for fossils on the beach. There we found a few sharkís teeth, and we were given a few others that I added to my growing collection. We also visited the Rock and Mineral show that comes to the State Fairground every year. I collected even more interesting fossils and information there. I learned about the oldest and newest layers of rock, their qualities and how rocks, minerals and fossils are formed.

Last year, when I was in the fourth grade, I decided to perform a scientific experiment with magnets. I made a linear magnetic accelerator using a wooden ruler for the track. I spaced out three magnets along the ruler and taped them in place so they wouldnít move. I placed one steel ball after each of these magnets. I made a ramp that connected to the track, so I could roll the first steel ball down it. As the ball approached the first magnet, it sped up because of the magnetís pull. When it hit, the movement dislodged the second ball and it sped up towards the second magnet which dislodged the third ball, etc.. At the end of the track, the final ball would shoot off the track and hit a wooden block I used for a target. Mom helped me time the process from the first ball drop to the time the final ball hit the target. Then, I made notes on the effect of the number and strength of the magnets on the speed of the final ball roll. Doing this experiment was when I realized how much I really enjoy magnetism and Physics.

This year for the Science Fair I decided to continue my work with magnets. My experimental question is: "How does a change in temperature affect the properties of diamagnetic material?" Diamagnetic materials are especially fun because you can levitate a small magnet between two diamagnetic "plates." Diamagnetic material s revolve on their south and north pole instead of their north poles attracting a south pole and their south poles attracting a north pole. Basically, a magnet will repel a diamagnetic material, no matter the position of the two materials. So, if you have two diamagnetic "plates," one diamagnetic plate being held above the other one with a small space in between, and you put a cube magnet in between the two, the cube will float! But, considering we have gravity, we need another, strong magnet held above the higher diamagnetic plate to compensate for the pull of gravity to get the cube to float. I think that is so cool!! You can even watch the cube spin in between the diamagnetic materials! Awesome! The diamagnetic material I will be working with is pyrolytic graphite. I have read that temperature changes how diamagnetic material works, but I cannot find anywhere HOW temperature changes the properties of diamagnetic material, so thatís what IíM doing!!! Recently we ordered a diamagnetic kit and, the other day, a package was delivered with all the materials I need!!! Iíve already been playing with all the materials. I canít wait to get started on my experiment!!!!

I really enjoy the Science Fair every year. I love presenting the project that I have learned so much about and sharing with other people. I enjoy looking around at everyone elseísí cool Science Fair projects and asking them questions about what they learned. I look forward to a new project every year. Every time you achieve something new, you learn something new as well!

Read other articles by Maya Hand