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NCCC helps students
to find fun in science

About 50 area high school students learned Thursday that physics can be fun as they created safety capsules for chicken eggs and dropped them from 20 feet.

In the tests at Niagara County Community College, at least one egg didn't make it.

Another 50 students used computer technology to determine how adding life forms to an area can affect the environment.

The students -- hailing from Hutchinson-Central Technical and East high schools in Buffalo and Barker and Niagara Falls high schools -- took part in the Student Youth Conference held by NCCC's new Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement Center. The program encourages students from econo-mically disadvantaged communities to pursue science careers.

Students had 10 minutes to craft the egg containers from marshmallows, toothpicks, stir sticks, a plastic foam cup, a cupcake paper, cotton and tape.

Valerie Adams, Kristin Bozek and Sarah Dovich successfully designed a container that brought their raw egg to the ground safely.

Sarah said they used the cupcake paper as a parachute to slow the fall while the cotton surrounding the egg in the foam cup absorbed the impact.

In the environmental biology lab, another group used computer programs to predict the effect on brown sparrows of introducing blue sparrows or hawks into their environment.

After the introduction of blue sparrows, the populations of both sparrow types would increase, but not as much as they would have if similar birds were not competing for food. Introducing hawks would not eliminate sparrows; the two populations would rise and fall proportionately, providing a balance in nature.

Paul Caughill of Hutch-Tech said he liked the program because it showed how all academic subjects play a role in the real world.

Jayme Celliotti, assistant director of the Center for Science Learning at the Buffalo Museum of Science, told the students not to let lack of money stop them, since ways can be found "if you have the drive and desire to do something."

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com

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