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CRMC rewards RI students for science fair projects
April 10, 2018, WAKEFIELD – The RI Coastal Resources Management Council has awarded gift cards to six Rhode Island junior, middle and high school students for their winning projects in the 2018 Rhode Island Science and Engineering Fair.
This year’s science and engineering fair took place in March at the Community College of Rhode Island’s Knight Campus in Warwick, and showcased engineering, science and environmental projects from 30 schools and 300 students from grades 6 through 12. This year students showed a total of 350 projects, and the CRMC awarded VISA gift cards for projects on floating houses, hydro power and solar panels, as well as a study of the natural world, with projects about effects of ocean acidification on oyster shells, jellyfish, and the positive impacts of being in nature.
The six students were winners of the individual science fairs at their schools; teachers are allowed to send as many as 15 winners per school. The CRMC awarded prizes in the special awards category, which allows organizations and groups to set their own criteria and choose their own winners.
In the Senior Division, for students in grades 9-12, the first place prize of a $100 gift card from the CRMC was awarded to Abigail Harbeck of Coventry High School for her project, “Amphibious Houses,” where she made a model house in an aquarium. Harbeck looked at different base materials for buoyancy and stability, and looked at different anchoring systems, and researched floating houses in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
Elizabeth Taylor of Rogers High School was awarded the second place prize of a $50 gift card for her project, “Hydro-Power to Supply Electricity to the Newport Bridge.” From her sailing experience, Taylor knew currents accelerate near the bridge pilings, so she designed a turbine to harness the tidal energy to run the bridge lights.
Third place and a $25 gift card went to Olivia Kelly of South Kingstown High School for her project, “How Seawater Acidification Affects Oyster Shells.” Zeibeth Martinez of Times 2 Academy received Honorable Mention for her project, “The Water Quality of the Narragansett Bay.” Martinez was inspired by her concern for the water quality at Oakland Beach in Warwick, where her family goes in the summer.
The CRMC also awarded three gift cards in the Junior Division for students in grades 6-8. The winner of the first place $100 gift card was Aria Teare of St. Augustine School for her project, “Do Jellyfish Make Good Pets?” (And no, they do not make good pets, though if you do keep one in an aquarium, it must be a circular tank.)
A second place gift card for $50 went to Jonah Cohen of St. Pius V School for his project, “The Positive Effects of Spending Time in Nature,” which studied the physical benefits of spending a few days in the woods. Cohen measured blood pressure and did stress and cognitive thinking tests on his Boy Scout troop members. He concluded that there are definite benefits to spending time outside.
Jameson Conlon of St. Margaret School received third place and a $25 gift card for the project, “Oysters: Filter or Food?” which focused on the function of oysters as filter feeders in the context of water quality improvements. Ashley Quintal of St. Philomena School received an Honorable Mention for her project, “Which is the Best Building at St. Philomena School for Installing Solar Panels?” Quintal made a portable, adjustable solar panel that allowed her to move it to different locations and test for the best rooftop location.
The Council has been giving out special awards for the science fair for more than 15 years. This is the 70th year of the science fair. Special awards were established as a way for local businesses and organizations to promote what they do and get students interested in science and engineering-related research. The top two winners of the Rhode Island fair’s general awards category will go on to compete in the international science fair later this year.