CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 22, 2016) - Arnn Elementary hosted its annual science fair April 21 inside the school's gymnasium with students from 2nd through 6th grade presenting and displaying their projects.

Soldiers from 78th Signal Battalion, Arnn's military adopt-a-school partner organization, acted as a graders and judged the projects, helping to select an overall winner.

"I was really expecting scientific stuff," said science fair judge, Pfc. Eliott Essien, assigned to 78th Sig. Bn.

There were projects like ecosystems and volcano eruptions. There was also a project where an egg was soaked into vinegar and turned into rubber, said Essien, but he found "The Effects of Playing Video Games at Longer Hours" interesting.

"This kid (completed) the experiment with his little brother- sitting down 10 minutes, 20 minutes and 30 minutes- trying to see the effects," said Essien. "He came up with some interesting results. I am a gamer too, so I actually learn something from it."

Another project Essien judged was "How Music can Increase or Decrease your Productivity Based on the Kind of Music You Listen to."

According to the presentation, if people listen to the music they like, they are more productive compared to listening to music they don't like, making them less productive.

"She (the student) used the word 'dopamine'- it's a hormone that we release when we feel good," said Essien.

Based on the student's presentation, "we release more dopamine when listening to music we like; therefore, we become more productive."
Essien said he really enjoyed the "video game" and "music" projects because of the different approaches to science.

"Having a different aspect in thinking, it was kind of modernized for me. It was something that I can actually relate to," said Essien, "that really caught my attention."

The important thing, as a grader, was how proficient and confident the students were as they presented their projects, Essien said, the students were happy to participate in the science fair.

"They were happy explaining it; they were moving around, and they were happy showing what they were doing," said Essien.

Sarah Sides, 5th-grade participant, did "What Plant Grows Best in Sponge?" for her project.

"I took five seeds and put them into a sponge, and grew them near a widow seal," said Sarah. "The spinach seed grew the best, some other seeds started to spout, and some grew some mold."

"My favorite part was seeing how the seeds grew every day and how they changed. The most difficult part was building the board- I had a little space and a lot to write," said Sarah.

Another science fair judge, Pfc. Anteria Roberts, assigned to 78th Sig. Bn., said she enjoyed visiting the school and spending time with the students as they presented their projects.

"I think a lot of the students put a lot of time and effort into their projects... and it showed," said Roberts.

When she had questions, the students had the right answers, said Roberts. "They impressed me."

Dwayne Jefferson, Arnn's assistant principal, said the annual science fair gives the students an opportunity to take an idea and develop a hypothesis, experiment, develop a conclusion and then display their work in one setting.

The projects were judged based off a rubric with first, second, and third place winners chosen.

"Schools host science fairs each year to push STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs," said Jefferson.

"We held a "STEMposium," but the science fair just looks at the aspect of science and having the students get use to learning about the experimental process from beginning to end," he said.

One thing the students were able to accomplish by participating was learning how to be presenters via presenting their projects to the judges, said Jefferson.

"They also learned how to use the scientific process effectively by learning about hypothesis, testing their hypothesis and putting data together."

Jefferson said the students used aspects of math, science, writing, and public speaking for their projects.

"What (the science fair) really showed was how you can put cross-curriculum subjects together to fuse science."