Of the 500 projects submitted at the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair—held March 24-26 in Albuquerque, New Mexico—fifth grader Taylahni Jackson, of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, took first place for her entry in the Physics and Astronomy category.
Her project was titled “Depth of Field: Pinhole Lens versus F2.5 Large Format Lens,” which demonstrated her understanding of the optical properties known as “circle of confusion” and “depth of field.” To do this she developed photographs from two camera lenses—one a pinhole lens she built and attached to a 4 x 5 view camera, the other a World War II era Aero Ektar f4.5 lens, also on a 4 x 5 view camera—and compared the photographs.
Taylahni attends Theodore Jamerson Elementary School (TJES) in Bismarck, North Dakota and had previously won the North Dakota Native American Science Fair, which qualified her for the national event. To enter, she had to write a scientific abstract using at least five literary sources and her project had to meet Intel International Science and Engineering Fair standards.
“I plan to attend again next year,” Taylahni said. “It was fun to meet people from all the United States and Ontario, Canada. I saw projects from all over.”
Taylahni’s science coach was Mark Anderson, TJES Gifted and Talented instructor.