Nicole Daniell thought ginger could have positive effects on blood clots.

And the Dallastown Area High School senior's science fair project proved her prediction to be true.

"I really like the health field, and I wanted to do something that would help people," said Daniell, who took first place in the Medicine and Health category of the 53rd Annual Dallastown Area High School Science and Engineering Fair.

Daniell spent about 30 hours on her project titled, "Determining the Effects of Zingiber Officinale on Coagulation."

Working together with York Hospital, she studied the effects of ginger on patients who were experiencing blood clots.

"Ginger does serve as a blood thinner, and it is similar to aspirin," Daniell said.

People can reap the healing benefits through ginger tablets, eating ginger, or in lesser amounts when they drink ginger tea, she said.

She received a cash award for the Best Senior High Medical Research Project.

Daniell entered another project in the physics category titled, "Determining the Coefficients of Kinetic Friction for a Pointe Shoe," which won a cash award for being the Highest Scoring Senior High Physics Project as determined by a combined score of the physics judges and physics teachers.

Experiments are what makes the strong science fair tradition at Dallastown so important, said Mark Ilyes, science department chair and physics teacher at Dallastown Area High School.

"We think it is important for kids to learn and really do science," Ilyes said. "You can't substitute experiments with textbooks and lectures."

The faculty spend lots of extra hours mentoring and helping students with their projects each year, he said.

Out of the 314 projects that were entered this year, 142 took first- or second-place awards in both the junior and senior high divisions.

Those students have the option to advance to the York County Science and Engineering Fair at Penn State York March 2 to 7.

Ilyes said about 30 percent of the projects at the county fair are done by Dallastown students.

"Part of it is tradition," he said. "Every school has its traditions, and this is one of ours."

Several of the Advanced Placement and Honors courses at the high school require independent projects that translate well into science fair projects, he said. Other teachers offer incentives such as extra credit.

For senior Lauren Hodge, this was her last science fair entry after entering every year since third grade. Lauren Hodge received a cash award for Student who has Demonstrated Consistent Participation and Quality in Science Fair Competition.

Although her project, "Biomimicry: The Effects of Tubercles on Water Turbine Efficiency," was her last, her brother, Jonathan Hodge, an eighth-grader, was entering for the first time.

His project, "Increasing the Effectiveness of Water Turbines" involved cutting Gatorade bottles into different sizes, feeding in water, and measuring the voltage output.

"Mine was more green," said Jonathan Hodge, comparing it to his sister's project.

"We're in a different age group, which is good," said Lauren Hodge, explaining that this takes away from any sibling competition factor.

"I've seen some really good projects," Jonathan Hodge said. "My theory is that if I can't understand what they're saying, it's a good project."

The Senior High Division Grand Champion was Michael Arcieti. His project was titled "The Effectiveness of Methylcellulose on Isolating Probiotics Immobilized in Ca-Alginate Hydrogel Microspheres from Gastric Acid and Pepsin."

The Senior High Division Reserve Grand Champion was Max Lohss, with his project, "Tyloses and the Mechanical Properties of American White Oak."

For the Junior High Division, Katelyn Salotto was the Grand Champion with "The Comparison of Polyphenol Levels in Various Teas Using Spectrophotometric Analysis."

Junior High Reserve Grand Champion was Alexander Kim with "What is the Effect of Different Wavelengths on the Human Naked Eye?"

- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or cshank@yorkdispatch.com