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Fort Daniel Student Investigates Restaurant Playgrounds

First grader Luke MacFarlane took on challenging project for school science fair.

Luke MacFarlane

First grade student, Fort Daniel Elementary

Accomplishment: Fort Daniel first grader Luke MacFarlane recently completed an ambitious project for his school science fair.

As part of the age group many restaurant playgrounds are marketed towards, Luke decided to find out just how clean those facilities are. He and his mother, Kareen MacFarlane, visited two local restaurants where they took photos and used swabs to gather samples for Luke’s project.

Luke carefully charted the growth of the cultures and discovered something he found disturbing.

“From doing our research, we’ve found that there are no national guidelines, and within states, counties and cities, oversight often falls through the cracks,” he wrote in his science project report. “Health departments may inspect restaurants for cleanliness and food safety but not the play areas.”

As a result of the experiment, Luke reached the following conclusion: “With the dust and dirt build-up both inside the play areas and on the outside, as well as the trash left around the areas, my conclusion is that they do not clean these play areas often enough,” he wrote. “After doing this experiment, I’ve decided to not play in these play places anymore until the restaurants clean them on a regular basis.”

Though the project, which won first place in the Fort Daniel science fair, required a great deal of work for a 6-year-old, Luke is proud of his accomplishment according to Kareen MacFarlane.

“He really is a hard working kid,” MacFarlane wrote in an email describing Luke's project.

Key to success: Luke is a well-rounded young man. He is in the gifted program at . He is also an advanced green belt in karate and currently trains at the . Additionally, Luke plays piano and is a member of the Daniel Park Twisters swim team.

“He is very outgoing (not usually shy at all) and speaks his mind. He won't hesitate to ask someone a question if he has one,” MacFarlane wrote. “[He] loves computers, building things with dad, and watching movies. All around he's a pretty happy kid, especially if he's playing with friends.”

According to Sharon Dolph, Luke's teacher, "Luke is a very bright child. He is enthusiastic about learning. His hand is always raised with the answer. He often comes up with questions as well because he is always curious."

Dolph described Luke as a good friend to everyone in class and said fellow students enjoy working with him.

"Luke is a joy to teach, because he thinks learning is fun," she added.

Nominate an Outstanding Youth: Do you know of an outstanding child, teen, team or club? Submit your nomination in our comment box below or e-mail the information to Kristi.Reed@Patch.com. Be sure to include all of the following information:

  • Name of child, teen, team or club
  • Age or grade level
  • School
  • Child, teen, team or club accomplishment
  • Key to success
  • one high-resolution photo of the child, teen, team or club.
Chip Mautz November 20, 2011 at 02:19 PM
The Gwinnett Department of Public Health should get this. This could have policy implications that could benefit us all! What a smart kid! Good job!

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