On Dec. 13, the Dare County Youth Council and Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) hosted the Third Annual Dare County Science Fair at CSI. Students from elementary, middle, high schools and homeschools across Dare County were encouraged to compete for a chance to win cash prizes, a tablet and qualification for the upcoming Regional Science Fair competition hosted at East Carolina University. Prizes were provided through donations from the Dare Youth Council, N.C. Farm Bureau and CSI.

Science Fair projects were judged on the proper use of the scientific method, background research, presentation and ability of participants to answer questions on their research. The competition included team and individual projects in the categories of engineering, math, biology, physics and environmental science.

The first place winner in the elementary school division was Kingston Haynes from Nags Head Elementary School with the project "Mousetrap Car Experiment." The high school winner was Ethan Avery from Manteo High School with the project "Gamer's Immunity."  And the middle school winners and overall champions of this year's fair were Anna Figueroa and Maili McManus from First Flight Middle School. The duo was awarded the grand prize for their project called "The Study of Renewable Energy,"  in which they designed, built and tested their own wind turbine and evaluated its capacity to power the street lights in Dare County.

Plans are already being made for next year's competition, and all winners form this year are eligible to compete at the regional level in February. The next STEM competition CSI will host is the NC Renewable Energy Challenge coming up in April, in which student teams from all over North Carolina will compete to build the most efficient wind turbine, solar circuit or ocean energy device.

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