Winning projects focus on solar heating, algae

Judges recognized 25 eighth-graders with finalists’ awards at the conclusion of the Cunha Intermediate School Science Fair Wednesday evening.

Among them was Sophia Pappalardo, named the overall winner for her project, “Feeling Frustrated.” The project involved testing participants’ blood pressure before and after attempting to copy a paper clip pattern onto an electromagnetic grid. What they didn’t know was that Pappalardo was changing the grid’s polarity as they tried the task, making it impossible to complete.

“I was definitely surprised,” Pappalardo said of winning top honors. “There were a lot of really good projects.”

Pappalardo also took first place in the behavioral sciences project category.

Other first-place projects included those by Ryan Dubois and Phoebe Will. For his assignment, Dubois was inspired by a science show his dad was watching on television featuring a large satellite dish that melted objects with mirrors placed on its surface. He made different reflectors using household items and measured the temperature to determine which had the highest concentration of energy.

“I learned there are so many different kinds of science (through the science fair),” Dubois said.

Phoebe Will’s project received the teen choice award from a group of high school students in addition to garnering first prize in the ecology category. She explored where coralline algae best grows at Coastside beaches based on wave intensity, finding that it was most common at Mavericks.

“I thought I would get honorable mention or not even that,” Will said. “I spent a lot of days and hours out of my winter break, but I didn’t think I was going to do as good as I did.”

The top 25 projects will move on to the San Mateo County STEM Fair, scheduled for March 1-5.

Science fair winners

Cunha Intermediate School students delved into a wide array of subjects for their winning science fair projects. Here is the list of the 2015 finalists, whose projects will move on to the San Mateo County STEM Fair in March.

Life Science 1 – Plants

1st place: Mailie Bowers, “The effect of percent concentration of sucrose on germination”

2nd place: Rachel Brody, “Trees of life”; Xitali Duran, “Is the amount of seeds inside a fruit consistent?”

Life Science 2

1st place: Rachel Dantes, “Webstatic”

2nd place: Shay Heath, “Effects of spices on mold and bacterial growth in food”; Michaela McGee, “My mom’s kitchen sink is filthy: let’s clean it!”

Behavioral Science

1st place: Sophia Pappalardo, “Feeling frustrated”

2nd place: Hallie Beier, “More than meets the tongue”; Alex Hosilyk, “The highlighter effect”; Micah Warner-Carey, “Fading memories.”

Ecology: Earth

1st place: Maya Pratt-Bauman, “Three ways to collect fresh water”; Phoebe Will, “Coralline algae”

2nd place: Nate Coruccini, “Local creek water quality”; Hayes Gilmour, “Got fog”; Mackenzie Mell, “Is it safe to surf?”; Paola Villegas, “Limestone rocks dissolving.”

Physical Science 1: Force and Motion

1st place: James McEachen, “Building a better rocket”

2nd place: Jessica Humphry, “Singing wine glasses”; Zach Minor, “Centripetal force”; Angelo Molossi, “Archery”; Luke Outman, “Bahm!”; Max Paik, “To cork or not to cork.”

Physical Science 2

1st place: Ryan Dubois, “Most effective homemade solar-heating device”

2nd place: Casey Co, “Are you safe in your home?”; Julie Raffetto, “Enamel enemy.”

• Overall winner: Sophia Pappalardo

• Jerry Trenter award, named for longtime former Cunha science teacher: Mailie Bowers

• Gil Ellis award, named for science fair founder and former Cunha science teacher: Ryan Dubois

• Teen choice award: Phoebe Will

 

 

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