Education

Student of the Week: Columbia student challenges herself, wins school science fair

Columbia student wins science fair with Vitamin C project

Isabella Frasure, a seventh-grade student at Immaculate Conception School in Columbia, talks about her science fair project on comparing the amount of Vitamin C in four fruit juices.
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Isabella Frasure, a seventh-grade student at Immaculate Conception School in Columbia, talks about her science fair project on comparing the amount of Vitamin C in four fruit juices.

Isabella Frasure knows something many people don’t, thanks to an experiment she did — pineapple juice has more vitamin C than orange juice.

The experiment won Isabella, a seventh-grader at Immaculate Conception School in Columbia, the top honor at her school’s science fair last month.

“I’ve always been interested in health and dealing with vitamin C and trying to stay healthy,” she said.

She started brainstorming ideas for her science fair project in the fall and completed it over Christmas break.

The experiment took 4  1/2 hours to complete. Isabella, who wore a lab coat and safety goggles during the experiment, had some help from her grandmother Marilyn Frasure, a former science teacher at Immaculate Conception, and mother Desiree Frasure.

“The setup was quite extensive,” Desiree said. “She really worked hard. I’m so proud of how she did.”

Desiree said her daughter had her sights set on winning “best of fair” at her school’s science fair.

“She knew she wanted to find a project that was a little bit harder,” her mom said.

Isabella came up with the idea for the project on her own. “She comes up with ideas of what she wants to do, and she really kind of attacks it and goes after it,” Desiree said. “I don’t know where she gets it from. I absolutely love it.”

Her grandmother helped show her how to use the equipment, and her mother helped with research and editing.

Isabella submitted her idea for the science fair project to her teacher Dan Kassebaum in the fall. It included a list of materials she needed. He helped her get everything on the list and allowed Isabella to borrow some of the school’s equipment over Christmas break.

Kassebaum had high praise for Isabella, who did an experiment using titration as a 12-year-old.

“The point is not how sophisticated the project is, it’s about having a controlled set of data,” Kassebaum said, and Isabella’s experiment had that.

He described Isabella as a “good student. To me a good student is someone who has an interest and puts a good effort in,” he said.

Desiree, 34, a stay-at-home mom, described Isabella as a “well-rounded” kid. She’s involved in several school activities including scholastic bowl, Science Olympiad and Tech Club.

Out of school, Isabella does figure skating. She picked it up in third grade and has been skating ever since. “She just took off from there,” her mom said. “Now she has so much dedication to it.”

Isabella said she had to choose between river dancing and ice skating. How did she decide? With eeny, meeny, miny, moe, of course.

Isabella gets up at 4:40 a.m. two mornings a week to allow for an hour of figure skating before school.

“I usually get coffee to survive,” she said.

She skates in Webster Groves, Kirkwood, Creve Coeur and Brentwood. She’s part of the St. Louis Skating Club and the Theatre on Ice Team, where she competes in nationals.

“She’s very driven, and it’s just amazing to watch that,” Desiree said. “I’m so proud of what a hard worker and dedicated student she is. She’s a good kid. She’s smart. She’s funny and she’s kind — really what else could you ask for?”

She’s very driven, and it’s just amazing to watch that. I’m so proud of what a hard worker and dedicated student she is. She’s a good kid. She’s smart. She’s funny and she’s kind — really what else could you ask for?

Desiree Frasure, mother of Isabella

Here’s what Isabella had to say about her science fair project:

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

A: “I love to eat oranges and I know there’s a lot of vitamin C in them, but I was wondering if different juices or fruits have more vitamin C than oranges so I decided to try out different juices that I like. So I did lemon, lime, pineapple and then orange.”

Q: What was your hypothesis?

A: “My hypothesis was that orange juice had more vitamin C than the other three juices.”

Q: What did you find out from your experiment?

A: “I found out the pineapple had more vitamin C than orange juice, which is actually kind of cool. I think everyone thinks orange juice as more vitamin C.”

Q: How did you determine which juice had the most vitamin C?

A: “I did a titration, which is an unknown solution and a known solution. So I used a buret and a ring stand, and I used iodine in the buret. I had to make three solutions. I had to put some of the solutions together with 10 drops of the starch into the flask. I used the stopper to have one drop (of iodine) at a time come out. You found out when you are done when it was a blue or blackish color.”

Q: Were you surprised you won best of fair?

A: “I had a science background, but I didn’t know if I would win or not because there were some other good projects out there.”

Q: Have you started drinking more pineapple juice?

A: “Actually, I haven’t been drinking more pineapple juice. I’ve been sticking with my orange juice.”

Q: What other science fair projects have you done?

A: “In the past, I’ve done one to see how much air pressure you put in a ball, how high it would bounce. I think we used a volleyball for that. Last year, we did a project of testing to see if different colored study guides, like the color of the font, would affect a kid’s memory on remembering certain words, and help see if we produce study guides like that if kids could get a better grade on tests. I think blue was maybe the best.”

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe

Meet Isabella Frasure

  • Age: 12
  • School: Seventh-grader at Immaculate Conception School in Columbia, plans to attend Gibault Catholic High in Waterloo
  • Mom: Desiree Frasure
  • Pet: Dog named Lucky
  • School activities: Scholastic bowl, Science Olympiad, Tech Club, performs in plays and musicals (at her school and Gibault) and plays saxophone in the band
  • Sports: Ice skating
  • Favorite music: “I like all the music,” she says.
  • Favorite movie: “Schindler’s List”
  • Favorite foods: Lasagna, pizza and salad
  • Favorite restaurant: Cheesecake Factory
  • Favorite subject: Science
  • Least favorite subject: Spanish
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