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Grade 8 Science Fair Deepens Scientific Thinking

Scheck Hillel Community School’s Grade 8 students filled the Athletic Complex November 16 with the products of their curiosity, displaying results from more than 70 science experiments. This year’s Science Fair entries reflected an impressive application of academic disciplines, including technology, biology, chemistry, physics and statistics. Some projects were very personal: Ariel Ohev-Zion’s project was inspired by Hurricane Irma, whose arrival on his Bar Mitzvah weekend led Ariel to explore how a hurricane could be dispersed. Liat Finger incubated lettuce samples washed in various ways to determine bacteria growth for each method. Sammy Merenfeld studied how magnetic fields affect the rate of water flow, designing a contraption that allowed him to control all variables. To determine whether color impacts plant growth, Carla Lewinsky grew coleus plants outdoors and wrapped them in cellophane sheets of different colors. Shiri Osovitzki was curious to find out whether chemicals in water affect its temperature. From hypotheses to results, students sharpened a range of analytical and communication skills to complete their projects.

Nineteen volunteer faculty and staff judges, in addition to Grade 8 science teachers Jessica Best and Angela Williams, scored projects using a detailed rubric that evaluated items such as experimental design and testability. Twenty-three students were chosen to go to the next round of judging. An additional panel of science teachers will now look at these 23 projects and choose a subset to represent Scheck Hillel at the Miami-Dade County Science and Engineering Fair.

Ms. Williams was most impressed with the students’ level of engagement and independence through several months of work. Mazal tov to all participants, and best of luck to those moving onto the next round of competition!