The Annex’s was packed with hesitant judges and classrooms filled with edgy sophomores; This was the scene at the annual science fair on Thursday, May 29.
"The science fair left me speechless, literally," Amber Tucker ’16
Every year the sophomores of Science Research, who after taking a course crammed with experiments and presentations, are finally put to the test by showcasing their results at this highly anticipated event. With just under a month to find a project, test variables, and analyze experimentation, preparation for the science fair never fails in leaving students overwrought.
"It was really stressful getting here, but in the end, it was worth it," said Diane Ling ’16. "We learned valuable experiences in the process."
However, unlike every fair, there were many more alumni this year, giving predecessors a chance to relive their judging experiences.
"Being in research since sophomore year, Midwood Science has done so much for me," said Nicholas Lee, who graduated last year. "It was an honor to be able to come back and judge and also to see so many familiar faces in our research family. There were many great projects that I was impressed with and that goes to show the talent of our students that keeps the Midwood Research program going strong!"
Many senior research students had already judged last year, but the anticipation of this much too rare event never ceases to excite past participants.
"I definitely look forward to the science fair every year," said Kiara Nunez ’14. "It’s nice to see the new wave of students coming into research and presenting the projects. Plus, I always look forward to the food."
After viewing, listening and asking questions, the judges calculate a grade out of 60, or 70 for teams, based on presentation, research, data verification and more. Judging this year was an especially gratifying experience for juniors, who had the pleasure of being on the other side of things this year.
"Being able to judge instead of being the one presenting this year was really fun," said Jessica Yip ’15. "I finally got to see what we were being grading on and how the points were distributed. Seeing the sophomores so nervous reminded me of how I was last year."
The winners of the science fair are determined by their respective grades. Each participant gets a grade from five judges, but the highest grade and lowest grade are dropped in an effort to eliminate any extraneous decisions. The highest average of the three remaining grades takes home the first place, separately for individuals and teams, with each trailing grade winning second place, third place, or even an honorable mention. Despite the high levels of competition in the race for the trophy, the science fair is always a great time to learn interesting facts and meet new people.
"After the judging takes place and nerves have settled, the fair turns into a get-together where students and teachers socialize and just have a good time," said Nunez ’14. "The science fair gives research students from all three grades the opportunity to come together, which rarely happens."
In the eyes of the science faculty, this year’s science fair ran quite professionally.
"This year we had more alumni than ever before, nearly 60 versus the normal 30," said Mr. Glenn Elert. "We also had two professors serve as judges, Dr. Frank Grasso from the Psychology Department of Brooklyn College and Ms. Yara Adam from the Physics Department. The large number of alumni and guests made the judging process exceptionally smooth. It was great fun to see them all again and catch up on their lives after Midwood."
While some aspects of the event never change from year to year and others were quite better this time, everyone can agree that the science fair is a perfect blend of the intuition and creativity of science and school spirit.
"The science fair took patience, work and diligence, but paid off at the end," said Angela Christopher ’16.
Shanna Huang & Hussain Bokhari (Class of 2015)
This article originally appeared in the June 2014 edition of Argus.
Photos courtesy of Prianka Zaman (Class of 2013)
Line drawing by Nicole Ng (Class of 2011)