Eleven students were recognized for their superior work (front, from left): Sam Calise, Devon White, Yasmin Diaz, Anna-Marie Ferris, Jillian Hughes, Melissa Munoz, Violet Shaker, (back row, from left) teacher Sara Costanzo, Teacher Michael Santilli, Tyler Bouffard, Michael Harris, Matthew West, Ryan Sutherland and principal Dan Richard. Missing from photo: Hernes Ferrer.

Eleven students were recognized for their superior work (front, from left): Sam Calise, Devon White, Yasmin Diaz, Anna-Marie Ferris, Jillian Hughes, Melissa Munoz, Violet Shaker, (back row, from left) teacher Sara Costanzo, Teacher Michael Santilli, Tyler Bouffard, Michael Harris, Matthew West, Ryan Sutherland and principal Dan Richard. Missing from photo: Hernes Ferrer.

The annual Saint Raphael Academy Freshmen Science Fair on April 28 was the culmination of months of planning, experimentation and research for the Class of 2019.

The science fair, run under the guidance of Mark Santilli and Sara Costanzo, is an opportunity for freshmen to develop ideas and research into a major project. Students gain experience and skills in research methodology, investigative practices and oral presentation.

Projects spanned a variety of science disciplines, including chemistry, physics, botany, psychology and sociology. Students chose a research topic early in the school year, and then spent the winter months testing and experimenting with their hypothesis. As spring came, students made their conclusions based on the evidence they gathered and designed their display boards.

The freshmen were judged by faculty members, and—for the first time this year—they were also judged by seniors from the AP Biology class.

“The kids were more nervous to be judged by their own peers,” said Mrs. Costanzo. The peer judging was just a portion of the student’s overall evaluation, which included grades from their science teachers and faculty judges.

“Our students did a fantastic job, and we were especially proud of their presentations to the judges,” said Mr. Santilli.

Sports was a common theme among the projects. Connor O’Brien, who has a great interest in baseball, wondered, “Do baseballs average a faster exit velocity from a BBCOR bats than wood?” He hypothesized that the BBCOR bat, which is made of carbon fiber, would produce a faster velocity.  After measuring velocity by taking numerous swings with both a BBCOR bat and a wooden bat, Connor determined that there was actually little difference in the exit velocity in the two bats.

Violet Shaker’s project, “Scents and Sensibility,” questioned if certain scents would improve test scores. For her experiment, she asked 28 people to complete simple math equations, and then again after smelling lemon oil, and again after smelling lavender oil. Overwhelmingly, testers performed better after smelling lavender oil, which surprised her as she had expected that lemon oil would produce better test scores.

That evening, parents viewed the class projects, and 11 students were recognized for their outstanding work. They are: Tyler Bouffard (Aspirin Growth), Sam Calise (Electrolyte Challenge), Yasmin Diaz (Do Lefties Have Better Memory?), Anna-Marie Ferris (Sweet Results), Michael Harris (Do Worms Really Effect Plant Growth?), Jillian Hughes (Burning Compounds), Melissa Munoz (Not That Cool), Violet Shaker (Scents and Sensibility), Ryan Sutherland (The Science of Catapult Statistics), Matthew West (Earth’s Waters), Devon White (Mycrobacterium Tuberculosis in the Striped Bass Population) and Hernes Ferrer (How Much Pressure?)

 

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