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Contact: Karen Lightell: 412-281-2345 School Phone: 614-237-4277

Bexley Students Recognized in National Competition

Team Finds An Inexpensive and Renewable Energy Source

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28 -- Bright ideas, solid research and teamwork won four Bexley Middle School students a berth as semifinalists in the Bayer/National Science Foundation Award, a nationwide program that challenges students to use science and technology to develop solutions to community issues.

"Today's news highlights the continuing loss and rising cost of fossil fuels," say eighth graders Daniel Marous, Kendall Leser, Raphael Arar and Mike Schottenstein. The team noticed the amount of heat rising from a fifty-foot compost pile and decided they could address two issues: the enormous loss of fossil fuels and the wasted heat produced by compost piles.

The students, coached by teacher Jon Hood, were assisted in their research by Kurtz Brothers Composting and Ohio State University's Dr. Fred Michel and Dr. Harold Keener. They decided to try heating water with compost energy. The team built their own compost pile laying a coiled, copper pipe with compression fittings and a faucet in between two truck loads of brown and green yard waste. The project was a tremendous success. The compost pile consistently heated water to an "untouchable" temperature far over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. "A water-heating compost pile would be a 'dream-come-true' for people with low incomes or third world countries, and could change lives dramatically," says the team.

The team began work on its project last fall and submitted a written and visual presentation to Bayer/NSF Award. A panel of community leaders, scientists and experts in science education judged it one of the top three entries in Region 5, which includes Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Nearly 2000 students participated nationwide

A Chance to Compete at Walt Disney World®

On April 17, 10 of the 30 semifinalist teams will be named winners of an all-expense-paid trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort, where they will compete in the Bayer/NSF Award's National Championship, June 22-28.

Rewards include $36,000 in US savings bonds for the top three national winners. In addition, one team will bring home the $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant to help bring its idea to life in the community.

The finalists also will attend the Christopher Columbus Academy, a custom-designed educational program. Conducted by scientists, engineers and educators, the program reveals the science and technology behind the thrills and excitement of Epcot® and the Magic Kingdom®.

Real-Life Experience with Science and Technology

Sponsored by the Bayer Corporation, as part of its Making Science Make Sense program, the National Science Foundation and the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, the Bayer/NSF Award is turning kids on to science. Its cross-curricular, team-oriented, inquiry-based, real-life approach to science education attracts kids of all interests and ability levels. The program premiered in 1996 and is endorsed by the National Middle School Association.