BILOXI -- Jacob Stephenson built a robot that could solve a Rubik's cube. Sharayven Broadnax wanted to know how fast different types of medicine dissolve. And Olivia Myers may have solved how to make strawberries last longer.
All three -- and more than 800 more 1st through 12th graders -- participated in this year's Region VI Science and Engineering Fair, at the Coast Convention Center in Biloxi.
Myers, a 4th-grader from Our Lady of Fatima school, said she got her project idea -- testing whether aloe vera could help stall the growth of mold on strawberries -- from a website.
"But I improved on it," she said. "I added the no treatment control group."
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After examining 54 strawberries divided into three groups every day for almost a week, she determined that aloe vera did, in fact, slow the growth of mold.
The treatment also doesn't affect the taste of the strawberries, she said, so her family would start using the method at home.
"Because Mom buys then on Saturday and then they're bad by lunch Monday," she said.
Stephenson, a third-grader at Oak Park Elementary, channeled his love of robotics in his project.
Based on a video he'd found online, he built a robot that could solve a Rubik's cube in just a few minutes.
He eagerly demonstrated the robot on Tuesday. The machine first scanned all six sides of the cube, then turned the cube and maneuvered the pieces until the puzzle was solved.
Other projects included ones on distracted driving, the so-called "Deflate-gate," making a warmer pet bed and whether eggshells are fragile.
The Mississippi State Science Fair will be held in Oxford on March 24. The International Science Fair will be in Phoenix, Ariz., in May.