GUILFORD, Maine — Have you ever wondered if listening to music helps you study better?
Are those cheap reading glasses you keep on the coffee table hurting your eyes in the long run?
Does a bullet travel faster in hot than cold water?
Is there an easy way to improve your basketball free-throwing expertise?
These and many other questions were the subjects of the third annual Science and Invention Fair held at Piscataquis Community Secondary School in Guilford April 13-14.
Seventh and 8th grade students set up displays that described their research and conclusions in the science portion while young inventors showed off their creations.
“Our participation has been really good,” said science teacher Trisha Moulton. “One of the incentives has been a chance to attend the Invention Convention at UMaine. Last year, 10 students were chosen.”
The Maine Invention Convention takes place Saturday, May 16 at the New Balance Recreation Center on the UMaine campus.
There was no shortage of unique ideas or scientific studies at the Guilford school’s exhibit this year.
Chloe Hamele likes to listen to music when she studies, but wondered if it affected her ability to memorize. So she asked four of her friends to conduct an experiment using a step-by-step method. “We discovered that three out of four participants could memorize better with music than without it,” she said.
What type of music is best? “Anything that has the same steady beat throughout the song,” Hamele said.
Young inventor Erika Merrill has a lot of deer visiting her property, so she came up with the idea of building an automatic feeder for them. “It’s designed like a bird feeder,” she said. “My dad and I built it together, and we’ve already used it. The deer seem to like it.”
Eben Cooley wondered if cheap eyeglasses do more harm than good. So he enlisted the help of some fellow students to wear them while reading some text in varying type sizes, much like an eye exam. “We discovered that your eyes get tired after awhile,” he said. “That’s not the case with prescription glasses, however. But the over-the-counter reading glasses aren’t good for you.”
Matt Goggin, who likes to fish, invested $2 to invent the Auto Reeler. “I took a window shade reel, cut it down, attached it to a bucket and wound some line around it,” he said. When the flag goes up, the angler just reels the catch right into the bucket. “If I wanted to build something like this, it could sell for $15 easily,” he said.
Moulton said the young entrepreneurs even do patent searches to see what the process is like. “Scientific experiments are pretty straight forward,” she said. “With inventions, however, you choose your topic and make changes as you go along. In both cases, they’ve done an excellent job.”