Science project bonds academics with 4-H


SPENCER – Last year, a student at Sacred Heart Grade School took first place in her school’s Science Fair, but that was just the start of a successful run with the project that flowed out of her love of soccer.

Emma Morey, who graduated in May from Sacred Heart, titled her science project and explored, “Does a Warm or Cold Soccer Ball Go Further?”

“I chose the topic so I would know how hard I needed to kick a soccer ball when the temperature outside is warm or cold,” said Morey, who plays with the Northwest Iowa Soccer Club Galaxy team. “I enjoy playing soccer.”

To identify whether warm or cold balls went further, she inflated soccer balls to 6 psi and refrigerated the ball to reach a temperature of 35 degrees and placed a ball in a sunny window to reach 71 degrees.

“I used a balloon launcher and pulled back 32 inches,” explained Morey, who is now a seventh-grader at Spencer Middle School. “I measured how far each ball went in each of the 15 trials. The warm ball traveled further on average of 51.81 feet compared to the cold ball at 43.92 feet.”

The student acknowledged the most challenging part of the experiment was keeping the cold ball at 35 degrees for each of the 15 trials.

From the school fair, she went on to compete at the Iowa State Science Fair in the spring where she received honorable mention in the Science and Engineering Division – receiving a ribbon and recognition at the awards ceremony in Ames from Iowa State University.

“I was very excited and proud that my hard work had paid off,” Morey said. “At the state science fair competition, I was nervous as I had to answer questions and speak to judges throughout the day about my project and findings.”

This summer Morey entered it as a 4-H project at the Clay County Fair. Her project was chosen to represent the Science and Engineering Division at the Iowa State Fair. At the state fair, eight science professors from ISU looked through all the science, technology and liberal arts projects in the 4-H building. They chose 10 to receive the Future Discovery of Iowa Award.

Morey was “shocked” when she received a phone call, informing her she had been chosen as a recipient of the Future Discovery Award that included a $500 scholarship to ISU.

“Science and math are my two favorite subjects in school,” she noted. “I enjoy doing science experiments.”

Her sixth grade teacher at Sacred Heart, Tenee Jessen, commended Morey on her accomplishments and believes the science fairs as well as 4-H contests to be excellent ways to “excellent ways to apply the work and research she developed in her sixth grade year.”

The teacher said Morey showed dedication in putting in the work to create an excellent project and report. Jessen mentioned she regularly urges students to choose topics for the science fair that they are passionate about.

“Emma’s success derives from her heeding that advice. She loves to play soccer and developed an investigation that related to her real life,” said Jessen, who added that with researching how far soccer balls travel based on their temperature not only related to Morey’s own enjoyment of the sport but the research could be applicable to anyone who played the sport. “I think that is exactly why science and the projects we do in sixth grade are so important. It creates an opportunity for students to realize they are scientists, they can research and develop their own ideas.”

Morey, who plans to continue to be involved in science, said she would encourage other students to focus their projects on they are interested in and like doing.

“I enjoyed going to the different competitions – showing and telling my peers and judges what I had learned through this project,” she said. “I also enjoyed seeing the other projects and talking to the other kids about their projects.”



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