Lightning flashed and thunder rolled in a dark room in the Westerville South High School library as three students gave a lively demonstration on "The Science of Lightning."

Lightning flashed and thunder rolled in a dark room in the Westerville South High School library as three students gave a lively demonstration on "The Science of Lightning."

The demonstration by Jeshurun Adarquah, Gaby Fuentes and Rhyan Klima was one of several presentations by Westerville South students at the International Baccalaureate Science Symposium held Friday, Jan. 22.

"It is very possible to get struck by lightning multiple times," Adarquah explained.

She said a lightning bolt can damage a person's nervous system -- changing vision, hearing, smell or taste -- or cause broken bones, paralysis or death, if someone is struck near the heart or other vital organs.

"A lot of people may suffer from depression after a lightning strike, because they have leftover pain, such as severe headaches," she said. "Many feel isolated and fall into depression."

Klima described the physics behind lightning, and Fuentes explained the chemistry.

After the girls' presentation, three more students, Luke Carpenter, Lyrin McKibben and Roman Szwabinsky, presented on the same subject.

Fourteen other groups presented research on the science of basketball, Pandora (from the movie Avatar), murder, roller coasters, swimming, music, the apocalypse, nuclear disasters, the hydrogen bomb and nuclear power, pizza, stress, skiing and snow days.

Even "The Science of Baking Cookies" was demonstrated, with Eric Atta, Kam Crist, Evan Frank, Matt Hoffman, Greg Larkin and Samir Mansour handing out free cookies afterward.

Teacher Bill Heinmiller said 80 junior and senior IB students were involved in the symposium.

"The students chose their topics in early December and did most of their work outside of class," he said. "Each will get a grade based on their analysis of the science behind their subjects."

He said 142 students are involved in IB classes at Westerville South, with 34 on track to earn IB diplomas.

Heinmiller has taught IB classes since the program began at the school in 2005. This year is his first leading the program.

"I couldn't ask for a better group of students to go through my first year as coordinator," he said.

Westerville South's first class of 28 IB students graduated in May 2007.

"We have been fortunate to have strong support from the district and the community," Heinmiller said.

He said the symposium was a good way for the students to demonstrate their research.

"The great thing about IB is that there are a variety of ways for students to show what they know," he said. "The symposium also was a good way to show their communication and collaboration skills.

Gift Akora, Cheyenne Barbeau, Brielle Collier, Will Daugherty, Dominick Femia and Ennis Thomas explained "The Science of Basketball."

Femia said that topic was an easy pick.

"Playing basketball involves the human body, so there was an easy connection with biology," he said.

"We enjoy basketball," Daugherty said. "I liked being able to meet all the components and actually experience the science."