Their products could solve some of the world's problems and they haven't graduated from high school yet. On Tuesday, hundreds of young inventors and scientists showed off their projects at the Region VI Science and Engineering Fair in Biloxi. The students said the toughest part was trying to impress the judges.
"I got two galvanized nails and I put them in the lemon," said Rylee Trosclair, as she demonstrated how she used acid from lemons to power a small clock.
The students put household products to the test and tried to answer some intriguing questions.
"I looked at males and females to see who put back the shopping carts more, and it seems the males did. My hypothesis was wrong," one girl explained.
Sharp students from across South Mississippi showed off more than 700 projects at the Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Coast Coliseum Convention hall. One young man wanted to know how different water temperatures affect balloons. And to find out how soda affects the human body, Annie Broussard used soda to hydrate her plants.
"It was sticky. Fungus and worms were in it. One was very smelly," said Annie Broussard of St. James Elementary School.
The annual competition also inspired young inventors to create products that could end up on store shelves. Myers Hogan of St. Patrick Catholic High School used simple items like a bucket, batteries, a heater, and solar panels to build a Solar-Powered Compost apparatus.
"It lets me know I can create something with enormous potential, change a lot of people's lives, make composting easier, and lose landfills," said Myers. "I think it's an amazing opportunity so I can compete with other people, so I can show off my invention."
Mike Smith helped invent a device that can trap Sulfur at oil refineries.
"It's to prevent pollution and harm to our personnel at our many refineries," he said.
The projects left the judges with some tough decisions to make.
"There are a lot of great projects here. They've put in a lot of effort and it's hard to be the person that's saying which one would be the best. I really enjoy working with these young engineers and scientists and seeing the different ideas they came up with and how they approached a problem is very fascinating," said Mark Sherrouse, one of the judges.
"I was kind of nervous and it's kind of a thrill. It was nerve wracking really," said Glennie Viverette of Resurrection Catholic School.
The top winners in the regional fair will advance to the state competition next month in Greenville.