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Poland Science Fair judging takes place virtually

March 15, 2021

 

 

Five judges on a screen for virtual science fair presentations


Poland Central School District Science Fair judges interact virtually with Poland students about their projects on Wednesday, March 10. From left, top row: James Van Wormer, Oneida-Madison-Herkimer Counties School Boards Institute coordinator for board training; Dale Meszler, principal engineer at 260 Structural Engineering, and Derek Bush, physician’s assistant in the Mohawk Valley Health System. Bottom row: Alexander Meszler, adjunct music professor at Mohawk Valley Community College, and Colleen Hagan, care coordinator at Tenderrose Dementia Care in California.


 

 

POLAND – This year’s Poland Central School District Science Fair was unlike any of the district’s previous 32 science fairs.

Fifty students in grades 7-11 made Google Sites for their projects with video presentations, and 24 judges from three continents signed up to review the projects online. Students with some of the top projects also gave virtual presentations to a panel of five judges.

“It has gone well,” said Poland science teacher Kevin Ford. Ford and Poland science teacher Jessica Meyer serve as 2020-2021 Science Fair coordinators. “It’s a different experience for the kids, for the teachers and for the judges.”

The winners of the 33rd annual Poland science fair will be announced this week with a virtual presentation. Trophies and more than $3,000 in prizes will be awarded. Students who win awards will be eligible to advance to the Utica College Regional Science Fair.

For this year’s science fair, judges received links to students’ online presentations instead of visiting students’ presentations in person. Judges had about 10 days to review an assigned group of projects. The judging determined the category award winners and was used to help determine the special category award winners.

A panel of five judges conducted virtual interviews with some science fair participants on Wednesday, March 10. The judges were:

   Poland graduates:

  • Colleen Hagan, care coordinator at Tenderrose Dementia Care in California

  • Derek Bush, physician’s assistant in the Mohawk Valley Health System

   Local professionals:

  • James Van Wormer, Oneida-Madison-Herkimer Counties School Boards Institute coordinator for board training

  • Dale Meszler, principal engineer at 260 Structural Engineering

  • Alexander Meszler, adjunct music professor at Mohawk Valley Community College


Students sat in front of a large screen and camera in a room at school and presented their projects to the judges virtually. Then judges asked the students questions.

Eighth-grader Maddison Haver told judges about her project that compared taproots and fibrous roots by pouring water into samples of each type of root she gathered in soil.

“The goal was to figure out which type of root has a bigger effect on erosion,” she said.

Freshman Frank Sudakow explained to judges his project measuring the amount of electrolytes in Gatorade, Bodyarmor, Bolt 24, orange juice and tap water. Bodyarmor not only had the most electrolytes, but it also tasted the best, he said.

 “The real world application I could think of for this is which one people could use to replenish their electrolytes the most after a hard day of work,” he said.

Sophomore Shelbi Hagues showed judges various photos of her experiment involving testing various blenders to see which one blended the smoothest smoothies. She tested the blenders with liquid and with cookies. Judges asked her favorite part of the project and got a very logical answer.

“Probably drinking the smoothies afterward,” she said.

Sophomore Sarah Zuchowski guided judges through her project of testing which out of a gel capsule, uncoated tablet or coated tablet of acetaminophen dissolved fastest in hydrochloric acid. The gel capsule won.

“The purpose of my experiment was to see which one would give you the fastest pain relief,” she said.

Sophomore Gavin Krauciunas conducted an experiment using filters to produce red, blue, amber and white camera flashes and test which ones took people’s eyes the longest to respond to. Blue light, which has the shortest wavelengths, took the longest to adjust from, he said.

He got the idea for his project from noticing his eyes reacted differently to the blue light on a stove at a friend’s house and the red light on the microwave.

“So I just wanted to figure out what could be making this happen,” he said.

“I didn’t want results to be completely off because of one outlier,” he said.




Maddison Haver speaking to virtual judges for science fair


Poland Central School District eighth-grader Maddison Haver presents her Poland Science Fair project virtually to a panel of judges on Wednesday, March 10.


 

 

Frank Sudakow speaking to virtual judges for science fair


Poland Central School District sophomore Gavin Krauciunas presents his Poland Science Fair project virtually to a panel of judges on Wednesday, March 10.


 

Shelbi Hagues talking to a panel of virtual judges


Poland Central School District sophomore Shelbi Hagues presents her Poland Science Fair project virtually to a panel of judges on Wednesday, March 10.




Sarah Zuchowski speaking to virtual science fair judges


Poland Central School District sophomore Sarah Zuchowski presents her Poland Science Fair project virtually to a panel of judges on Wednesday, March 10.





Gavin Krauciunas presenting virtually to science fair judges


Poland Central School District freshman Frank Sudakow presents his Poland Science Fair project virtually to a panel of judges on Wednesday, March 10.