Posted 5/03/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Tioga High School is seeing success in science.
This year Zach Luallen was selected as an alternate for the international competition in Phoenix from May 7 through May 13.
His experiment involved testing the attraction forces of magnets.
“I didn’t know much about them. I wanted to get a feel for how they work,” he said of his choice of experiment.
His hypothesis is the force of the magnetic attraction would be proportional to the mass of the magnet and the object being attracted to it.
A second part to his hypothesis is there would be an “inverse square relation” between the distance between the magnet and the object being attracted to it.
He used magnets of different materials, including neodymium and iron, and then measured the force of their attraction with a spring force meter. He used washers and bolts to test the attraction of the magnets.
As is the case in science, the goal is to test the hypothesis and determine its accuracy, and in that, Luallen’s experiment is successful. He measured and produced a result.
The results determined the inverse square relation is not reflected in the measurements.
“I concluded my hypothesis was false,” he said.
Luallen presented in the regionals in Williston and then went on to the state competition in Grand Forks.
“I had a good time,” he said.
The way the international placement works is the top three winning spots from the whole state are chosen, but also three top contestants from the region.
“That way each region has some kids that get to go to international,” said Luallen’s teacher, Deb Moe.
Luallen was selected as an alternate, which means he will compete if for some reason the competitors can’t go.
He will still see all the other displays and get the experience of the international competition, which Moe said is quite memorable.
Moe said she usually has students who go to international. Tioga High alumni Cheyenne Liedle and Ryan Joyce are among those from previous years to go on to international.
“It’s very eye opening for the kids to go and see all the different cultures,” Moe said.
Each participant carries around pins to hand out to people they encounter there. Some students, Moe said, wear vests that get covered in pins from around the world during their time at the event.
“I’m excited to go,” Luellan said.