Fred S. Engle Middle School seventh-grader Ian Clark participated in the Chester County Science Research Competition (Rorke-Adams Fair for grades 6 to 12) recently, where he won first place in the zoology category for students in grades 6 to 8.
His research project, titled “It’s Just a Flesh Wound,” focused on the regeneration of planaria under various conditions. Clark competed against middle-school students from throughout Chester County. A planaria is a freshwater flatworm that can regenerate completely after being cut or sliced. Because the flatworm can regenerate, planaria are used by scientists who study stem cells and make new tissues.
For his project, Clark cut brown planaria across the body and subjected the cut sections to certain conditions, such as total darkness, total light, a mixture of light and dark, and UV radiation. He tested conditions to determine the effect on regeneration time.
Clark also competed in the Delaware Valley Science Fair on April 3 at Drexel University in Philadelphia, which included regional fair winners from southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and the state of Delaware.