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Battle of the Brains

Sean Muth, Sentry Staff Reporter

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While there are many ways for the next generation of scientists to demonstrate their abilities in experimentation and data analysis, there is none as exciting as the science fair.

On Saturday, January 31, the annual science fair was held between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.. Hundreds of students showed up to explain the experiments they put together to judges in the hopes of reaching the Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair or earning a few points of extra credit in their respective science class. However, the science fair is not only a great opportunity to win ribbons and earn extra credit. It is the best opportunity for young and passionate scientists to show off their hard work and become leaders of tomorrow’s scientific community.

Freshman Sam Markowitz participated for his first time at the science fair, entering a human subject experiment.

“My project was the effect of the color of cereal boxes on what cereal subjects choose,” said Markowitz. “So I painted cereal boxes different colors, and asked people which one they would buy if they had to buy one at the store. There was a yellow, blue, red, green, brown and white box. Most people picked the yellow box.”

Preparing for the fair is no easy task. While most students have some time  in class to think up their experiment, the data collection, analysis and board preparation has to be done on their own time.

“For the board it took me from 6:00 to 10:30 in one night,” said Markowitz. “Cutting everything out and gluing took time because everything would look uneven.”

Because science teachers continue to encourage their students to enter the fair each year there is always a large turnout. They believe that presenting the experiment to a panel of judges and explaining the process is just as important as collecting the data.

Daniel Zito, brother of Biology and AP Environmental Science teacher Mr. Michael Zito, was one of the many judges at this year’s fair. Parents of students volunteer each year to be judges at the fair.

“Of course I like it,” said Zito on his time as a judge. “If I didn’t I wouldn’t keep coming back, even if the other Mr. Zito might not be happy about it.”

Students whose projects got first place in their respective categories can advance to the Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held between March 6 and 8. Students were informed of their projects rankings the Monday after the fair, February 2.

“Each judge evaluates the projects individually,” said Zito, “and then we get together to discuss our thoughts and come up with a combined score and overall ranking.”

Principal Dr. Raymond Pasi has attended the fair for the past eighteen years and each year he is always impressed with the projects he sees there.

“I remember the project I did in eighth grade,” said Pasi. “It was so simple. It was on electricity. I am so happy that none of you have seen the project. I am always staggered by the experiments I see. Truthfully I don’t understand half of them. I had students, just this past Saturday, explain to me what they were doing. I understood some of it, not a lot of it. And I’m so impressed by all the work that they put into it, and the knowledge our teachers have to help guide them in their research.”

The science fair will always be the best place to go to see the young minds of today who will become the leaders of tomorrow.

“There have been many interesting projects over the years,” said Zito. “The ones that stick out in my mind are those where the student’s passion about what they did and what they want to do for further research shines through.”


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The student news site of Yorktown High School
Battle of the Brains