5th Grade Science Project on Flammability of Texas Roadside Plants

Ava and Laney

I helped judge for the Special Award for the Rolling Plains Master Naturalists organization at the 66th South Plains Regional Science and Engineering Fair on February 25th at Texas Tech University. While the skies were clear in Lubbock, ice-covered streets and highways near Wichita Falls did not allow travel for their two judges. 

Their Special Award went to these two scientific-minded 5th Graders, Ava and Laney. 

When students present their research projects most are reserved, some are shy, some just do not have everything in place for their project. Ava and Laney were outstanding in their presentation telling me all about their project. Their enthusiasm shined through their words and eyes. 

Their project title, Flores Ardentia: The Flammability of Common Texas Roadside Plants captured my interest. They kept me glued during their presentation. Ava and Laney collected dried plants, figured out the best way to conduct flammability of them, and then reach conclusions. The only downside these girls experienced was the regional expert they consulted about plant ID barely could help them. I have told their teacher she better reach out next year to me if both of these girls take this project to the next step.

What this comes down to is the best parts of helping judge Science Fairs. One – is giving the students your time to listen to them about their science projects. Two – is being able to share your knowledge with the students. With Ava and Laney, I shared historical fires information, as well as what I have learned from Keith Blair, with Red Buffalo about prescribed burning. 

Encouraging students who think outside of the box for science projects is needed. Girls, like Ava and Laney, need to be emboldened to not only learn but to participate in science. 

Congrats to these two outstanding girls on their love of science and their project. They did an amazing job!