Budding researchers at Monmouth School Boys' Prep came up with the idea of investigating whether food is really still safe to eat if dropped on the floor for five seconds - and scooped top prize at a science fair.
Judges at this year's Monmouth Science Fair awarded first prize to pupils Ivo Woodward, Ozz Opher, Kip Sampson and Oliver Donoghue for their investigation of what has become known as the 'five-second rule' but what the boys saw under the microscope led them to agree afterwards they would never eat anything dropped on the floor again.
They dropped a variety of foods, including ham, on different surfaces at home and in the garden, and then analysed the growth of bacteria in their project entitled: The five-second rule: fact or fiction?
Kip Sampson said afterwards: “I am never going to eat food off the floor again because some of the food we analysed looks disgusting. I think the five-second rule must be a myth.”
The boys' project was chosen from among 30 projects entered by children at Monmouth School Boys’ Prep, Monmouth School Girls’ Prep and Raglan Primary School. They featured a range of scientific research from colour blindness to optical illusions in the fair organised by Dr Sion Wall, the Science and Technology teacher and co-ordinator at Monmouth School Boys’ Prep.
Raglan School’s Holly Hynes and Hannah Jones were awarded second place by the judges for their Float or Sink? project on the densities of different fruits.
Third place went to Monmouth School Girls’ Prep duo Sienna-May Morgan-Rees and Alice Steward, who carried out research into how conditions influence the growth of mould on food.
Dr Wall said: “The children at all three schools were excellent and carried out their own independent research. The standard of the entries went up yet again this year and the judges were incredibly impressed with all the projects, posters and presentations by the children.
“All the children took an idea they were interested in, did everything they could to investigate it, and then produced incredible experiments and posters.
“The boys and girls worked incredibly hard on their projects and did an amazing job planning, conducting and presenting their experiments.”
Climate Scientist Dr Helen Rogers, Education Officer Ms Petra Mitchard, Marine Biologist Dr Vicki Howe and Dr Simone Cuff, Research Fellow at Cardiff University School of Medicine, judged the entries.
Boys’ Prep pupils Rudy Davies, Frankie Thomas and Ojas Shanbhag, who looked into the shape of rocket fins, were also highly commended along with Rufus Coker, George Evans, James Butt and Joe Taylor, who researched the effect of different surfaces on friction.