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North County Freshman a Top 10 Young Scientist

Jack Andraka said he comes from a family of roofers, which led him to tackle a common roofing problem with his experiment.

North County High School freshman Jack Andraka took his family's history in the roofing business and turned it into a project that earned him a top spot in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

More than 150 county charter school students participated in an assembly Tuesday at Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School in Hanover honoring the 14-year-old who recently was named one of the top 10 finalists in the competition. Jack applied to the competition when he was an eighth-grader at Chesapeake Science Point, a school he attended in grades six through eight.

According to a press release, the contest was designed by Discovery Education and 3M to target students in middle school, the age when research shows a decline in students' interest in science.

To enter the contest, Jack said he was first required to conduct a science experiment using 3M products, then to submit a video entry on the contest website. 

According to Jack, many of his family members work as roofers, and hearing his family complain about tools slipping off the roof when they are working was the motivation behind his winning entry.

“Thirty-eight percent of roofing injuries happen when the roofer's tool slips off the roof and falls to the ground,” Jack said. “When a roofer grabs for the tool and loses their balance, or the tool falls from the roof and hits someone on the ground below, lots of people get hurt.”

Jack said that his project involved him testing several common tools used by roofers to find out at what points the tools make contact with the roof.

“I moistened the tools with water and laid them on a plate of flour. Wherever the flour adhered to the tool's handle, I knew that was a contact point. I then placed 3M Anti-Slip Pads on the contact points to prevent the tools from sliding down the slope of the roof.”

Patty Duncan served as head judge of the finals, which took place in Minneapolis, MN, in early October. According to Duncan, students were judged both on their overall project entry and on two on-site challenges.

“We judged the entries on innovation, use of 3M products and the process of planning and executing their experiment,” Duncan said.

During the assembly, Duncan spoke to students about the importance of science in their daily lives and encouraged them to apply for the 2012 Young Scientist Challenge.

Jack showed students the hammer he used as part of the live competition in Minneapolis, explaining the details of his project.

While Jack did not win the $25,000 first place prize, he was awarded $1,000 cash and a $500 gift card to Discovery Education for being among the top 10 nationwide finalists.

For information about the 2012 Young Scientist Challenge, or to watch Jack's entry video for this year's challenge, visit the Young Scientist Challenge website.

Editor's note: This article has been updated from its original version to clarify that Jack applied to the competition as an eighth-grader at Chesapeake Science Point.

John Rutherford October 19, 2011 at 06:16 PM
What does this have to do with North County High School? The 3M competition is for 5-8 grade level students only...Obviously, even the Discovery Education people also recognized where he earned that credit. If you check the web site for the charter school, you will realize that he did not only attend the school for the 8th grade, he spent three years in that charter school. In other words, as a parent, I would expect Chesapeake Science Point's name at the title where he gained the skills that helped him to become one of the top 10 young scientist of our nation rather than a high school that he has been attending for the past two months. Kudos to Jack! We will always be proud of him. But no Kudos to the patch for such a poor article.
Maya T. Prabhu October 19, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Thanks so much for your comment. I apologize if you found the article to be unclear and I have clarified the article to state that he attended Chesapeake Science Point throughout his middle school years. However, being that this is Glen Burnie Patch and our commitment is to cover local news in Glen Burnie, Brooklyn Park and Linthicum, the article was written in a way to make it local and relevant to Glen Burnie specifically, and North County, the school he currently attends, is in Glen Burnie. Since Jack is a Crownsville resident, when the article appears on Greater Annapolis Patch tomorrow morning the headline will make it local to that area by pointing to the fact that he's a Crownsville resident. I hope this helps clarify things a bit. Thanks again for reading and for your comment!
John Rutherford October 20, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Maya, Thanks for your prompt attention and response to my concern. What would be the Patch that would cover the area where Chesapeake Science Point is located? After the Annapolis recognizing from the residency aspect, may be that Patch could recognize the root cause of this great accomlishment. my 2 cents...

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