A science fair held at Corona’s Louis Armstrong Middle School on Feb. 15 featured 67 projects focusing on environmental themes, according to science teacher Greg Grambo.
Most students at the school, which teaches grades 5 through 8, were encouraged to participate, Grambo said, except for eighth graders, who have their own special “exit projects.”
Students began working on their science projects over winter break, and one project from each class was eventually selected for the school-wide fair, held in conjunction with the school’s Parent-Teacher Association meeting.
Grambo, who has taught for 32 years, said the school “has been getting really environmentally friendly.” Beyond this year’s science project theme, the school received a grant to lower energy consumption, leading to the formation of a “Green Team,” a group of some 15 students, last year.
Some of the Green Team’s initiatives include making sure all lights and electric appliances are turned off at the end of the school day. The enthusiastic environmentalists have frequently turned off lights at the end of classes while teachers are in mid-lesson, Grambo said with a laugh.
For students to complete their environmentally-related science projects, they had to keep detailed scientific journals and follow the steps of the scientific method.
Grambo highlighted one project that showed that dirty water can be cleaned with rocks, clay and a little bleach, illustrating how people in impoverished places “can clean their water and not have to drink filth,” the science teacher said.
Other projects focused on using gray water — such as dish water — for use on farmland and cleaning bird feathers after exposure to harmful toxins.
The first-place winners were as follows: Victor Riso, “Why Spatter Matters!” (5th grade); Alexander Walk, “Liquid on the Run” (6th grade); and Alexandra Sharzynski, “Astrophotography!” (7th grade).
Kelly Casottana (5th grade), Tatiana Kochuthara (6th grade) and Vidhi Shah (7th grade) won second-place prizes. Tahira Hassan (5th grade), Damione Gardner (6th grade) and Ahmed Wasir (7th grade) won third-place prizes. And Rebecca Feldman (5th grade), Brianna Settles (6th grade) and Gabriella Mendonica (7th grade) won honorable mentions.