Fair-Article Duality: Predictable Normalcy and Unforeseeable Weirdness at the Science Fair

Text and Photos by Chandler S. ’17

Part One: Predictable Normalcy

It was a banner day for Country Day science as 22 Middle School students and a pair of Upper Schoolers advanced to the North Museum Science and Engineering Fair at F&M’s sprawling Alumni Center on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Lily D. ’17 won the Junior Reserve Championship as well as four auxiliary awards for her project, “Measuring Indoor Air Quality: Do Enclosed Skating Rinks Have Elevated Levels of CO and NO2?” Jacqueline K. ’17 won first place in the Engineering Division and also took home an auxiliary award for “Solar Ovens Modification To Determine The Most Functional Use.” Seventh-grader Lauren M.’s project, “Apples: How to Keep the Brown Down,” earned her third place in the Consumer Science Division, and classmates Teddy A., Abby S. and Victoria G. also won auxiliary awards. Overall, the Science Fair was a runaway success and a fun day for all of us who participated.

Part Two: Unforeseeable Weirdness

On Wednesday morning, we all thought the Science Fair was just about science. We were wrong. Our hypothesis was wildly incorrect. Not every student won a prize, but all of us took home brushes with fantastic behind-the-scenes strangeness that we might well carry with us forever.

After leaving the school on a chilly, supposedly spring day and walking to F&M, we made our way through long aisles of posterboard triptychs to our projects, and got ready for the judging.

The fair grouped projects by theme, so it was unlikely that a student would get stationed near her friends, but Sammy S. and I got lucky. The judging/waiting gave us all the perfect opportunity to spend four hours chatting with a neighboring stranger. Those four hours became especially lively if your neighbor happened to burst into song about whales and dolphins whenever she wasn’t busy telling fairy tales to no one in particular. Sammy and I were thoroughly entertained.

When we couldn’t rely on others to entertain us, we had to do the work ourselves, which Sammy and I managed by doing our best Westminster impressions, impressing the judges with good posture, eye contact and slightly cloying smiles. We thought about using our magical charisma to woo the U.S. Air Force judges in particular, but decided our strategy of hugging them and proclaiming them our new best friends might come off more weird than warm.

Then the real fun started.

Excited, and hungry, 11 of us headed over to Rosa Rosa’s Pizza for a meal before attending the awards ceremony. We never thought that we’d go through three pizzas and three baskets of French fries! Mr. Bushong and Dr. Collins made certain that no one left hungry. Thank you for the meal, Mr. B and Dr. Collins!

It turns out there is indeed more to science fair than science; there also is fun, camaraderie, excitement, and laughs, lots of laughs. Whether it was Jackie K.’s camera shyness, Arthur M.’s famous, blindingly neon orange pants (it was never difficult to locate him), Lily D.’s ’17 successes, or simply the strange and entertaining individuals you met for the first time, there was never a dull moment! These are the memories we will carry with us for a lifetime.

Thank you to everyone who made the fair possible, the school for buying us pizza (we greatly appreciate that), and congratulations to everyone who participated in the fair!

Category Award Winners

Jackie K. — First Place — Engineering
Victoria G. — Honorable Mention — Engineering
Tyler W. — Honorable Mention — Engineering
Lauren M. — Third Place — Consumer Science
Lily D. — Junior Reserve Champion — Earth Science

The 24 Junior and Senior division participants and their projects were:

1)    Bryan A. — The Rust Effect
2)    Nicholas A. — Best Cushioning For A Fragile Object
3)    Michael E. — The Effect Of Temperature On Static Friction
4)    Sarah F. — Got A Hunch About Your Bunch?
5)    Dannie L. — This Might Hurt A Bit
6)    Matt L. — Soil’s pH Effect On Bean Plant Growth
7)    Maggie L. — Cookie Karma: How The Sheet Affects The Cookie’s Future
8)    Lauren M. — Apples: How To Keep The Brown Down
9)    Tyler W. — Does Surface Area Affect Golf Ball Flight
10) Maya M. — A Piece Of Cake: Energy And Efficient Baking
11) Grace L. — Glowing Green: Measurement And Comparison Of Sky Glow
12) Teddy A. — Bridging The Gap: Bridge Engineering Safety And Earthquakes
13) Thomas C. — How Much Does Color Affect The Amount Of Heat Absorbed From Light?
14) Lily D. — Measuring Indoor Air Quality: Do Enclosed Skating Rinks Have Elevated Levels Of Co And No2
15) Caroline F. — Keeping Good Fruits From Going Bad
16) Daniel F. — What’s In Your Tank?
17) Victoria G. — Gliding Through Life: Building A Hovercraft
18) Jacqueline K. — Solar Ovens Modification To Determine The Most Functional Use
19) Arthur M. — Finding A Better Way: Testing The Harmful Effects Of Deicing Chemicals
20) Abby S. — Sunscreen: Effective And Protective?
21) Sammy S. — The Mpemba Effect
22) Chandler S. — How Permanent Is Permanent?
23) Bruce L. — Synthesis And Analysis Of Biodiesel Fuels
24) Olivia X. — Searching For Metal Oxides As Possible Catalysts For The Photoelectrolysis Of Water