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Middle School Science Fair Expands to All STEM Fields

Seaford Middle School’s annual science fair added a new dimension this year, incorporating all aspects of STEM education. The afterschool event on Feb. 6 featured presentations by students who have been studying the areas of science, technology, engineering and math for several weeks.

The voluntary fair was open to all students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Middle school and high school science teachers were joined by administrators, parents and siblings in talking to the young scientists about their projects.

Eighth graders Justin Cettina and Ryan D’Orio have worked together on science experiments during all three years of middle school. This year’s topic was water quality, and the pair analyzed water from several different sources. Their testing including their home faucets, the middle school water fountain, rain, a local pond, filtered water and bottled water.

“It’s cool to do experiments from questions that we have,” Ryan said.

Seventh graders Nadia Matos and Rachel Schnaier teamed up to study climate change, specifically looking into its effect on sea life. To study the effect of chemicals in water bodies, the girls put seashells into both water and vinegar, and noticed that the vinegar caused some of the shells to disintegrate.

Nick DeLeo designed a virtual reality headset while Megan Reder and Kylie Silverstein partnered to build a prosthetic arm. Science fair coordinator Roseann Zeblisky said that these engineering-based projects that foster the “inventive spirit” are exactly what she was seeking from students in expanding the scope of the event.

Justin and Ryan took first place among eighth graders, while the top finisher in seventh grade was Emily Richardson for her project, “Does the way a bike helmet is worn affect its ability to protect a head upon impact?” Jackie Bodycomb and Ella Tietz won the STEM category for their rain gutter turbine. The winners are now eligible to enter the annual Nassau Community College Honors Program Science Fair Competition.