Scheck Hillel Community School’s Grade 8 students filled the Athletic Complex November 15 with the results of their research, displaying the outcomes for more than 96 science experiments.
This year’s Science Fair entries reflected a broad range of academic disciplines, including technology, biology, chemistry, physics and statistics. From hypotheses to results, students sharpened a range of analytical and communication skills to complete their projects. These young scientists owned their learning, citing research and previous understanding of their subjects. Kayla Bigelman tested reflex time across three sets of age groups, measuring the time between the release of a tennis ball and the ball being securely caught by the subject. Alas, her research confirmed what she and many of us already suspected: the older we get, the slower our reaction time. Alan Berner addressed the negative effects of noise pollution, testing various methods of shielding from loud noises. He used cell-phone ring tones as his test. The most effective? Place your phone inside a wooden box! "People generally don't know how to measure noise levels, but there's an app that can help with common noise sources," Berner explained. Carolina Benun created a survey to determine the impact of cyberbullying. She polled 100 youth, and found that 12.25% of her respondents had experienced a drop in school grades as a result of cyberbullying. About 8% had felt anxious as a result of cyberbullying. This serves to mobilize, "and stand up to the bullies," she said. Jonathan Bacal was curious about the impact of different types of salt on ice-cream-making speed. Kosher salt beat out Himalayan salt on freezing speed, which he attributed to higher chloride content in kosher salt.
Seventeen volunteer faculty and staff judges, in addition to Grade 8 science teacher Angela Williams andLuis Comulada, scored projects using a detailed rubric that evaluated items such as experimental design and testability. A subset of projects will now be chosen 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 on to the next round of competition!