FI School Brings Home Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair Awards

Hannah, Sophie and Aaron

Congratulations to Aaron Kane, Hannah Peabody and Sophie Streimer, Fishers Island School (FIS) juniors, who earned prestigious honors at the 2014 Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair held at Quinnipiac University March 11-15 2014.

Aaron Kane – CT State Science Fair High School Finalist, Award winner in the Environmental Sciences, and a Special Award from Long Island Sound Foundation for Investigating Bivalve Bioremediation in a Warming Climate.

Hannah Peabody – Special Award Winner, given by the American Society of Safety Engineers, for measuring and analyzing the hazards of texting when conducting various activities.

Sophie Streimer – Second Honors Award for testing to determine how the amplitude of sound affects the behavior of shrimp.  She was recognized and awarded a Horning Grant from the Fishers Island Conservancy, which made possible the purchase of the necessary equipment for the experiment.

Karen Goodwin added, “Kudos and Thank You to Science Teacher Carol Giles for inspiring and mentoring our young scientists who, under her guidance, continue to explore and excel in the sciences year after year.  Gratitude also goes to Teaching Assistant Aly Cochran for her support of the students as they worked through their research, and to IT/Tech Teacher Jared Kaplan who ‘blind read’ every FIS entry!”

It is worth noting that of the 10,000 projects entered in the Connecticut State Science Fair this year from 130 schools, 203 received Science Project Awards.  FIS entered 13 projects and received 5 awards – or, another way of looking at this – FIS entered .13% of the projects and brought home 2.5% of the awards! A continuation of the success FIS has experienced since it began the student participation in the Science Fair.

Science Exploration: In their own Words. Each Science Fair entrant submitted an “Abstract”, or a brief explanation of their experiment.

Aaron-Kane-Tanks-20131129_124114-Aaron Kane ’15, Project Number 3080
Investigating Bivalve Remediation in Warming Climates
Which is the most efficient filters of phytoplankton: Eastern Oysters or Quahogs, and how does raising temperatures affect their filtering efficiency?

Abstract: My experiment was comprised of 3 one-gallon tanks containing salt water, tetraselmis (phytoplankton) and either Eastern oysters or Quahog clams or no bivalve.  I removed 670 milliliters of water from a gallon and added 350 milliliters of tetraselmis to get the dispersion to 100,000 parts per million. I used a spectrophotometer to calculate the light attenuation of water samples and a fluorometer to determine the fluorescence of the phytoplankton in the water.

Both of these machines were located at Avery Point, UConn campus, Marine Science Lab. I did three trials at 18, 22 and 25 degrees Celsius. I heated them with 25 watt, electric fish tank heaters. Two days before each trial, I acclimated the bivalves to the temperature that I would test them in. I took water samples every 15 minutes using a pipette and sample tubes. I used bubblers to keep the phytoplankton constantly mixed so they wouldn’t sink to the bottom.

I got my oysters from Steve Malinowski who grew them in the waters off of Fishers Island, and I got my Quahogs from Big Y Supermarket. One problem that I ran into was when I heated the water to 22 degrees with phytoplankton in it, the phytoplankton aerosolized out of the bowl. I remedied this issue by putting saran wrap over the bowls for the experiment at 25 degrees.

Hannah-photo-1-Best-330SQHannah Peabody ’15, Project Number 6047
Keep Your Hands on the Handle

Abstract: The purpose of this experiment was to illustrate the dangers of texting while driving.

In order to safely demonstrate this hazard, I tested the ability of people to walk through a meandering path while texting. I recorded any mishaps in walking, which included hitting a path boundary, stopping in the middle of the course, or walking slower than a normal pace. I arbitrarily decided that three of those walking errors would constitute a major auto crash. If a person completely walked out of the path that also constituted as a crash. Each volunteer was asked to text the same sentence; however, I based my data off of their ability to walk rather than text.

Of the thirty-six test subjects, twelve were considered crashes, and seven made two mistakes. Only five people made zero mistakes, which showed that texting while walking or driving is in fact dangerous.

Sophoe-shrimppics1-2-best-330SQSophie Streimer ’15, Project Number 3076
iShrimp: Understanding Sound Effects on Marine Life

Abstract: The purpose of this research and experiment was to determine the effects of sound/noise on palaemonetes (ghost shrimp) behavior to include: orientation, avoidance, attraction to a sound source and ability to collect and consume food.

This experiment and research will help improve field research, which can be extremely complex since there are no easy methods to associating absolute responses to specific noise levels.

This experiment investigated the effects of changes in noise/frequency, ranging from 0 Hz to 1500 Hz, and observed their influence to marine life behavior and response.

The most affected area of the results was the decrease in ability for the ghost shrimp to collect and consume food with the increase of frequency.

The results give insight to more complex marine life during a time of increased noise pollution resulting from activities such as oil reserve exploration and boat traffic.

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