May 30th will be a exciting day for many of the sophomore research kids. The science fair will be taking place all over the third floor of the annex, starting at 3:30 pm and ending at 6:00 pm. There, student projects will be judged by five different judges.
All sophomore research students must make a project, and they are given about a month to work on it. While working as a team or individually, they can choose their own topic, with approval from a teacher. There are under 100 contestants, but about 120 judges. The judges are a mix of alumni, juniors and seniors in AP Research, and a handful of teachers.
As a bonus, there will be free food, Mr. Glenn Elert, a physics teacher, said, adding, "Everyone likes that. Free food is good."
Mr. Elert is also the teacher who compiles the scores from the judges into a spreadsheet. From there, the winner, runners up, and honorable mentions are calculated based on their scores.
Maham Ghori '21 explains her research results to Dr. Trevor Stokes, biology teacher and judge for the science fair. Photo Credit: Justin Chow.
Sophomore Aaliyah Gordon's project involves the cleanliness of water and the effect of boiling. She said, "I chose this project because my parents boil water instead of using tap, so I was wondering if that was effective. They also buy cases of bottled water to drink, so I was wondering if it has little to no bacteria. There is a stigma in America that tap water is bad and bottled water is good, and I wanted to test this for myself."
Though the teachers don't choose the project topics, they do help guide the students in their work.
Jeanine Jardine '21 said, "My research teacher Mrs. [Shaniece] Mosley has worked so hard to support us. She constantly gives us ideas and advice to make our experiment better."
Ms. Mosley, a chemistry and research teacher, said, "I've got some very inventive projects this year, but I won't say specifically [who she thinks will win]. I think some great things will come out of my class."
Jaden Thomas '21 and Tasnia Shadat '21 tested the effect of color on the
efficiency of water purification. Photo Credit: Justin Chow.
Some projects have presented unexpected challenges. Sophomore Lucie Lim's project dealt with how the fat percentage of cheese could affect bacteria.
"Since we are making our own cheeses at home, the experiment is flawed," she said. "We don't know how to make cheese, so we could disrupt the controlled experiment. I now have a newfound appreciation for people who make cheese."
And sometimes, science just stinks, literally.
Gordon said, "I absolutely despise the smell of growing bacteria. It is horrendous, but being able to see what's inside of my water is fascinating."
Overall, the experience has been a valuable one.
"What I like about the experiment is getting a taste of how a lab works and what we do in a lab," said Lim.
The fair itself is on May 30, and the award ceremony will most likely take place June 14.
"May the best project win," said Mr. Elert.
Written by Hillary Michel (Class of 2020)
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Argus.