On Wednesday, March 1, Newton Country Day School held the 22nd annual Science and Engineering Fair. Girls in Grades 7 and 8, and participating Upper School students in Independent Research, presented their projects to over 60 judges. Seventh grade students focused their research on life science, while eighth grade girls presented on engineering. The judging panel was comprised of members of the math and science community including current Newton Country Day seniors, teachers, and alumnae.
For their projects, Grade 7 girls followed the scientific method to complete experiments that involve biology, life, consumer, and general sciences. Two teams were awarded first place: C. Ellis ’22 and A. Janne ’22 for their project “Soda You Know What’s Happening to Your Teeth?” and G. Brucato ’22, A. Folz ’22 and G. O’Malley’22 for “Mind Your Melon.” Using eggshells to imitate the enamel on human teeth, Ellis and Janne soaked each shell in different brands of sodas for 21 days to show which soda degrades teeth the most (Coca-Cola!). Brucato, Folz, and O’Malley’s goal was to find which material, when placed inside a football helmet, gives the best protection against a concussion. The team wrapped cantaloupes in various materials and dropped them from three meters. The experiment helped them to show what material offered the most protection to the cantaloupe and therefore, a human head.
Second place went to V. Braccia ’22
and T. Mourmoutis ’22
for “Fire drill! How the Stroop Effect Impacts Neural Firing.” The girls gave adults and adolescents a colored Stroop Test to determine how interference between different information affects different age groups. They found students/adolescents suffered more interference than adults across the board.
Third place was awarded to E. Lesher ’22
and G. Sylvester ’22
for “Does that Make Scent?” The girls used colored and scented candles to demonstrate that the positive correlation between color and scent causes people to like an object more than if there is an expected scent associated with an unexpected color.
For their projects, Grade 8 girls used physics experiments and engineering challenges presented in the Physical Science curriculum in advanced levels individually or in a team. The emphasis on each project revolved around the evolution of a design through several iterations in an attempt to meet the project’s goal.
A. Woolbert ’21
came away with first place for her project “Fear the Burn.” She created a reminder system that buzzes after a certain amount of time, depending on the activity, to tell the user to put on sunscreen.
Second place was awarded to M. de Luis ’21
for “Apothecare,” a pill dispensing machine that gives out the appropriate amount of medicine three times per day and checks to make sure the correct pills have been dispensed.
I. de Luis ’21
and E. Lesher ’21
won third place for their engineering project “Remember? Now you can.” The girls designed an application to help people with memory loss. By experimenting with buttons, labels, images, and background color, de Luis and Lesher determined which arrangements helped a person remember answers best when taking an online quiz.
The top five projects in each grade move on to the Middle School Region V Fair on Saturday, April 22 at Regis College. Regional winners advance to the Massachusetts State Middle School Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday, June 3 at Worcester Technical High School.
With her project “What Factors Trigger Seizures in Fruit Flies,” first place winner K. McCormick ’20
addressed the issue of epilepsy and seizures in Americans. McCormick showed that dehydration can cause an increase in seizures in fruit flies and therefore, in humans.
E. Weiss ’20
was awarded second place for “99 Problems, and Penicillin Allergies Are One of Them.” The frequent reports of penicillin allergies cause a higher, unnecessary cost for the health care system, a longer time in hospital, and the use of less-effective drugs. Through her research, Weiss discovered that only some of the people who reported positive for penicillin allergies were truly allergic.
Third place went to E. Kelly ’19
for her ongoing project “The Mystery of Fallopian Tube Cancer.” Her research showed how a history of child delivery, hormonal contraceptive use, body mass indices, diets, physical activity, breastfeeding, race, and geographic location all contribute to the likelihood of developing fallopian tube cancer.
Seven projects from the Upper School will be entered in the Region V Fair at Regis College on Saturday, March 11. McCormick and Weiss will move on to the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on May 5-6.
View photos from the Science and Engineering Fair