Grade 6 and 7 ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY students presented their science projects at the 13th annual IPA Middle School Science Fair on January 16. The science fair is the culmination of a months-long project for the middle school students, who start working on their projects in the Fall. Each student, or small group of students, formulates a scientific question they are interested in and then conducts research, designs experiments, and executes their project.
Alyssa Kuffel, IPA Middle School science teacher and Science Fair Coordinator explains the long process. “In August, the students brainstorm five ideas they want to do, and then narrow that down to one. They plan their experiments, and we work together on their lab reports – determining materials, methods, variables. Then they do their experiments, analyze the data, put it all together in to a board, and present it at the science fair.”
The projects represented a range of categories including Animal Sciences; Behavioral and Social Sciences; Biomedical and Health Sciences; Chemistry; Earth and Environmental Sciences; Microbiology; Plant Sciences; and Physics. Research topics included magnetic effects on plant growth, how beta fish react to color and shape, a comparison between plant and chemical antiseptics, and the aerodynamics of Star Wars spacecraft.
At the science fair, students presented their research publicly through their poster boards and oral presentations. Volunteer judges – comprised of faculty, upper school students, and science professionals from the community – interacted with the students, listening to their presentations, asking questions, and providing feedback. Judges ranked the projects and determined which will move on the next level.
This year, twenty-four projects were selected to advance to the Hawaiʻi Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) District Science Fair, which will be held on Saturday, February 15 at Hanalani School. In the morning, students will once again present their projects to judges; in the afternoon the fair will be open to parents and the public from 1 PM – 3 PM.
The winning projects at the district level will advance to the Hawaiʻi State Science and Engineering Fair (HSSEF) held at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on April 8-10.
[Video created by Digital Media students Nathan Starke ’23 and Carlos Munevar ’23].