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Students test theories, win awards at fair

Staff Photo by: Brendan Sullivan Nathan Dwire, right, 11, of Lawrenceville and Noah Thompson, 11, of Suwanee both of Berean Home School Academy view other students projects at the Gwinnett Science and Engineering fair at the Gwinnett Center on Friday.

Staff Photo by: Brendan Sullivan Nathan Dwire, right, 11, of Lawrenceville and Noah Thompson, 11, of Suwanee both of Berean Home School Academy view other students projects at the Gwinnett Science and Engineering fair at the Gwinnett Center on Friday.

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Staff Photo by: Brendan Sullivan Niki Deckers and her children Kayla, 5, Levi, 1, and Grant, 6 all of Lawrenceville search for Grant's class project at the Gwinnett Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Gwinnett Center on Friday. Grant attends Gwin Oaks Elementary School.

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Staff Photo by: Brendan Sullivan A crowed gathers to see projects created by high school students during the Gwinnett Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Gwinnett Center on Friday.

DULUTH -- Can wind power a car? What are the effects of an electromagnetic field on Bermuda Grass? Are some people inclined to step subconsciously in time to music when they hear it?

Local students were curious about these and hundreds of other questions, so they set out to answer them. The 34th annual Gwinnett County Regional Science and Engineering Fair at Gwinnett Center gave them a venue for their curiosity.

An open house Friday afternoon allowed the general public to come and take a look at the work of some of the county's brightest young minds. William Maddox of Lawrenceville said that's what brought him out.

"I was curious," Maddox said. "It's a good thing I did, because look at all this. Some neat stuff."

Maddox stopped, glancing at projects like those of Markell Jackson and Brandy Clower, both 10th-graders at Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology. The students won their way into the regional fair with a project about the effects of an electromagnetic field on Bermuda Grass.

It was Jackson's first time at the fair. It was Clower's second time.

Clower said she was surprised by the extensive amount of knowledge the judges had. "It was impressive," she said. "They could talk about almost any topic."

Fellow GSMST students Jamie Freeland and Ryan Clark had some questions about cadence.

In their project, they wanted to learn whether a person would begin subconsciously stepping to the beat of a song if it played as they walked.

They determined that variables such as musical experience and musical interest played a large part in whether they would walk to the beat.

At a nearby table, a group of Duluth High School freshmen had put their minds together to determine whether cars could run on wind power. Some of the questions they posed: which type of blade would be most effective and how long would the car could run on the kinetic energy.

Duluth freshmen Kishan Chudasama, Ronak Pipaliya, Keon Grant and Surya Narayananan pioneered the project.

An awards ceremony followed the open house Friday night where the winners were announced.

The projects featured the work of 899 Gwinnett County Public School students from 44 schools as well as Notre Dame Academy and City of Knowledge, two private schools located in the county. Home school children also participated.

All region projects had already earned first place at the schools where they originated.