When Evann Brantley began attending Trickum Middle School as a sixth grader a little more than two years ago, she was afraid of science, her teachers said.
Now, Evann says, "science is the career I want to pursue." She wants to be a biologist or a chemist. Maybe a chemical engineer. Maybe developing alternative fuel sources.
The Science Fair at Trickum Middle School was the turning point, teachers Brian Lucy and Cary Sell said. Students are encouraged to develop projects based on their interests, and anything is fair game that can be measured scientifically.
And that's been the secret of success for Evann, the top winner at the school's science fair last week and for the second year in a row. Her project, which examined the effects of pesticides on organisms and on the nutrient content of the soil, built on her entries of the previous two years.
Started eight years ago by Lucy and Sell, this year's was the eighth annual science fair at Trickum Middle, with more than 500 entires. Other schools in the county are taking note.
"Based on the information we have received from other schools, we will be a model for other middle schools in Gwinnett County," Assistant Principal Rakina Walker said.
The middle schoolers examined everything from which color M&M disolves fastest to the effects of flavored candy on memory retention in third graders to the effect of a hen's diet on an egg's yolk.
'We try not to constrict them" said Lucy. "They can choose any science field" that interests them. The whole idea, he said, paraphrasing Karl Sagan, is that science is more than a body of knowledge. "It's a way of thinking."