State Science and Technology Fair
The 2020 State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa was to be held on March 26th and 27th, 2020, at Hilton Coliseum on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the format moved to a virtual platform this year. Stren Crouch, from Algona High School, competed and placed first in the Physics & Astronomy division.
Crouch’s project was titled “Radio Detection and Ranging with Light.” His goal was to determine which material: plastic, aluminum, or canvas, reflected the least amount of light using radar. Radar stands for radio detection and ranging. In order to determine this, he used light waves. Radio waves and light waves are very similar, so this was an easier approach than using radar.
Crouch cut a hole in the side of a box for a flashlight and a lux meter, which is used to detect and measure light. He then made a stand, put a material in the box, and turned on the flashlight and lux meter. After three minutes, he read the meter. He repeated this process three times for each type of material. Crouch found that the canvas reflected the least amount of light.
Along with this award, Crouch received a scholarship. The top two placing from each category advanced to round two of the virtual judging process. Crouch was recognized at the virtual formal awards ceremony on Thursday, April 23rd. Crouch has been involved in science fair for four years and plans to continue doing so in the future.