Winner of Longmont science fair finds that playing video games just before bedtime prevents sleep

The winner of the grand prize at an elementary school science fair discovered that, while video games immediately before bedtime can be detrimental to sleep patterns, ceasing to play an hour before going to bed can be as good as not playing at all.

A total of 30 people from local science-based businesses — including Timothy Schaewe, principal research engineer at Medtronic Surgical Technologies — plus members of the school district and CU were invited to Longmont's Blue Mountain Elementary School on Feb. 24 to judge 225 student projects created for the annual science fair.

First- to third-place prizes were given out in a variety of categories, while the grand prize went to fifth-grader Logan Coppock.

Carrie Goldin, a parent and volunteer science fair coordinator, said that even the pre-schoolers and kindergartners created a science fair project as part of their classes, and that the 225 projects were lined up in the classrooms and the gym.

"Every student met individually with a judge for a Q&A session," Goldin said. "The judges took all day to meet with all the students. That lasted from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. At night, from 5:30 until 7 p.m., we had an open house for the parents."

The students produced a wide variety of projects, including a means to test the speed of footballs inflated to different levels which, as Goldin said, is interesting given the recent scandal involving the New England Patriots. There was a test to see which type of ketchup, including organic and regular store-brand, fell to the bottom of the bottle the fastest, experiments for keeping bread fresh, and a means to test the structure of a bridge across two wooden chairs.

Principal Kristie Venrick said the school has had people come out from IBM, Digital Globe, Seagate, and Amgen to judge the fair over the years.

"It's become a showcase opportunity for students at our school," Venrick said. "The quality of the projects increases every year, and the students' work is outstanding. We have judges that have been coming for all eight years, which points to the quality of the work and the positive experiences that the judges are having."

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