By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Veritas students ARISE to the occasion
pic veritas-sci-2a
Veritas School eighth-grade students Lina Melchor and L.J. Alofaituli demonstrate an Antoine Lavoisier’s law of conservation of mass, using water and pancake mix. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
A group of seventh-grade students at Veritas School will take part in a research symposium at the University of California at Davis next month.

Haleigh Petersen, Matthew Murphy, Candice Lao, Waldo Del Angel, Matthew Guerrero, and Jessa Johnson are among those selected to ARISE – acronym for Addiction Research and Investigation for Science Educators – which was made possible by the San Joaquin County Office of Education in conjunction with U.C. Davis.

Each displayed their science experiments involving the use of energy drinks, mouth wash, and generic cough medicine, and the effects each of these over-the-counter products containing caffeine, alcohol, and drugs, in particular, dextromethorphan, using a daphnia as the subject.

A daphnia is a microscopic plank tonic crustacean. Veritas junior high science teacher Mike Gaston ordered about 30 via eBay only to find the need for more after two weeks of experimenting.

“We decided to grow our own (daphnia),” he said at Thursday’s science event held in the Multi-Purpose Building.

The group is preparing to present its research involving neuroscience and the science of addiction at the upcoming symposium.

“This is a great honor,” said Gaston, who noted that students were selected based on their interest in science and criteria including, in some cases, English Learners.

In each case, the youngsters were quick to discover that the daphnia, based on dosage, underwent irregular heartbeat often followed by cardiac arrest.

“Once that happened they often died,” said Petersen.

Murphy was surprised by his findings, using Monster energy drink and a travel-sized bottle of Scope mouth wash.

“Caffeine (Monster) lowered the heartbeat while alcohol (Scope) raised it,” he said.

Lao’s experiment involved generic cough medicine.

“I found that (the dextromethorphan) caused harm to (the daphnia) the heart and also the liver,” she said.

Del Angel found that the combination of energy drinks and cough syrup to minors can cause great harm. “Depending on the dosage, you can run the risk of dying,” he noted.

Johnson, meanwhile, had hoped to use her laptop computer to conduct a power point presentation on the subject. “But I needed wireless Internet,” she said.

According to Gaston, the eighth-grade students conducted experiments applying what they learned in their physical science classes.

Lina Melchor and L.J. Alofaituli, for example, put Antoine Lavoisier’s law of conservation of mass into good use.

“We made pancakes,” Melchor said.

She added, “When you combine two elements, you can produce a product, with nothing gained and nothing lost.”

Mariel Cahiles and Hannah Astorga called their experiment, “The Kool Aid Project.”

They used the famous flavored drink mix to demonstrate saturated and unsaturated in the beaker-filled samples, with sugar as the variable.

“It became saturated when we put too much sugar,” Chiles said.