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Amateur Scientists Present Research at Saint Raphael Academy Science Fair
On May 21, 2015
Saint Raphael Academy presented another successful freshman science fair, with topics ranging from sports to food to music and everything in-between, and covering all science disciplines. Students began thinking about their projects before they officially entered their freshmen year at Saints, and then spent the next several months developing hypotheses, performing experiments, analyzing data and forming conclusions.
Mike Santilli and Sara Costanzo, science teachers and co-organizers of the fair, were pleased with the efforts of all the students. Mr. Santilli explained to the group of parents gathered for the project viewing that, not only did students complete all the research, but they each had to clearly present their findings to two judges.
Of the nearly 100 science projects, 10 students were formally recognized as having projects of superior merit. Those recognized were Christopher Storti, Ruby Costello, Toyin Okele, Micayla Bourski, Luz Padilla, Zachary Mardirosian, Eric Martineau, Bryce Gillis, and Grace Gomes and Brady Thibault.
Bryce Gillis was curious why there didn’t seem to be as many flowers in the West as there are in the East. He collected samples of soil as he visited family in California, Colorado, Utah and the southern U.S. His experiment analyzed the growth of marigolds in these samples compared with Rhode Island soil. He found that the flowers in the Rhode Island soil developed a fungus while the flowers in the western soil grew healthy.
Steven Gaunt chose his topic because of his love of sports. He studied the relationship between friction and air pressure in a soccer ball, and how differences in psi affected kicking distance. He admitted that his time for experimentation was shortened because of the amount of snow covering the ground this winter.
It was a similar experiment done by Ben Franklin that inspired Grace Gomes’ project about color and temperature. She analyzed the effect of different colored incandescent light bulbs on different colors of cloth. She discovered that a red bulb shining on black fabric produced the highest heat—107 degrees, to be exact.
Another project by Huascar Beato tested balance and coordination. He designed a box with holes and then asked family members to maneuver a marble around the holes while balancing on one leg. Participants needed several tries before they could successfully complete the task and Huascar concluded that, across different age groups, it was difficult to perform two tasks at once.
The Saint Raphael Academy science fair allows students the opportunity to pursue a topic of personal interest in greater depth, learn research and analytical skills, and gain confidence with oral presentations, reinforcing the Academy’s mission to welcome, inspire and challenge its students.