Upper Schoolers explore, experiment their way to knowledge
This year, thirty five projects were lined up in the Jacquelyn Michelle Ross Auditorium, where Upper School students stood in front of their hard work and explained their results to visitors including classmates, faculty, staff, parents, and the entire Lower School, who came by in shifts to glean some new knowledge and ask some hard questions.
"I wanted to read this and learn more about it," said first grader Atticus T., standing in front of an experiment by USthat looked at the systems that could be put in place to reduce human error. "Maybe I want to do a project like this when I grow up," he said.
Classmates Sarah D. and Risha S., who were standing in front of "Little Liars," by US2 students Owen H., Josh B., and Paul T., were reading about a project that examined a correlation between lying and age. The two girls said that they haven't done science projects just yet, but they might like to do one. "This is how people learn how to change the world," remarked Risha.
One of those world changers was US3 student Jordan E., whose project "Storm Surge Safeguard" sought to find out what sort of foundation best could withstand a storm surge. "Storm surges are side effects of hurricanes," he explained. "I made a storm surge simulator to measure how well my structures did on a variety of tests — how much of the foundation got wet, how many sides got wet, how much it tilted."
Jordan hopes to one day become an architect, so the problem of constructing homes to withstand storm surges was personally interesting to him. "Fortunately, we don't get very many hurricanes or tsunamis here. But with global warming, you can't be sure what's going to happen," he said.
It's fair to say that US3 student August L. was hoping to make change in his world, too. His experiment, "Autism Awareness at Mirman School," tried to answer the question: "Does exposure to autism increase awareness?" He found out by surveying his peers at Mirman that, yes, a personal exposure to someone with autism does increase awareness of what autism actually is. But for those who didn't know someone with autism, he said, his survey in and of itself definitely increased awareness on Mirman's campus.
"My favorite part of Science Fair is seeing students when they finish their project which takes a long time and a lot of work," said Dr. Jay Fisch. "Watching them present to the Lower School students and their other guests, you really get to see the students so excited about the science and describing what they did. And for me, one of the most important parts of science is, you've done a great experiment, how do you now describe that to people in terms of how you did it, what you found, why it's important and how it actually improves our understanding of the world around us. You really get to see the joy on the students' faces as they talk about science."
For some students, that joy will continue at the Pasadena Convention Center later this month when they participate in the 68th Annual Los Angeles County Science Fair. The students who moved on to this next hurdle are:
Aidan D. (US2): "It's a smash hit: platonic solid edition" | What is the strongest platonic solid?
Jordan E. (US3): "Storm Surge Safeguard" | "How can structures withstand storm surge damage?"
Charlotte N. (US2): "Wipeout" | "What's the best way to clean your mouth?"
Alex S. (US3): "A Whales Way of Life" | How may climate change impact grey whale migration?
Mason L & Paul K. (US3): "Under Cover Colors" | What colors do people see on first glance?
Asha H. & Chiara N. (US3): " Rooting for the Heat" | Does the temperature of your soil matter?
Julianna H., Sophie S., & Mischa D. (US2): "How to Fix Famine" | Should you throw out a bruised apple?
Congrats are in order for all of our US2 and US3 scientists!