Student Club Hosts Middle School Science Fair
A team of Rocky Run MS students eagerly explained that the inspiration for their science fair project stemmed from a nosebleed suffered by a student’s relative. The uncle of one of the students, who was taking a blood-thinner to prevent a stroke, went to the hospital with a nosebleed. Because blood thinners (e.g., the drug warfarin, commonly sold under the name Coumadin) interfere with the body’s natural clotting ability, people taking these drugs can land in the emergency room with cuts, bruises, and bleeds that for others would be mere nuisances. The student and his colleagues decided to apply their knowledge of natural astringents and drying agents to create an inexpensive, shelf-stable, homeopathic remedy to treat nuisance cuts and bleeds at home or on the go. They call their remedy, made of guar gum (a hydrophilic polymer), turmeric (an antiseptic), and tannin extract (an astringent), Hemoceez Nature Pack.
This impressive research team was just one of the groups showcasing their projects in the annual Invitational Science Fair conducted by TJ’s Mythvestigations Club. Founded five years ago by four girls from the Class of 2015 and sponsored since its founding by French teacher Cynthia van de Kamp Washington, the Club hopes to prepare middle schoolers for participation in high school level research competitions, encourage STEM exploration, and build research and communication skills. Each year Club members solicit and review applications, recruit judges, and organize the Fair.
The Fair is open to students in grades 5-8 residing in any of the jurisdictions that send students to TJ. Students submit a written summary, prepare a poster board, and make a 5-minute presentation. The judges — all TJ students — evaluate entries based on creativity, scientific inquiry, adherence to the scientific method, and presentation, and provide constructive criticism. The 2017 Grand Prize winner was a 7th-grade girl from Nysmith School for the Gifted, whose project proposed a method of harvesting the piezoelectricity (electric charge that accumulates in response to mechanical stress) generated by vibrations in order to reduce the energy consumption of appliances.
This year, the group added two evening statistics sessions, held in January and February, in order to help the younger students analyze data in preparation for the March 18th event. The sessions helped the participants while providing the Fair organizers a chance to try their hand at teaching a difficult subject. Sophomore Serena Xia said, “At a session held to teach students how to use inferential statistics, I realized that teaching others really brought a sense of joy. The students were curious about STEM and wanted to further their knowledge. Later at the science fair, it was so great to see the students incorporate the information from the statistics session into their projects. Knowing that my team and I have encouraged their curiosity in STEM truly is the best part of being a part of the Mythvestigations Club.”