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Forming a large horseshoe in the expansive space of the Underhill Building, fourth graders proudly displayed the results of months of scientific research and experimentation at the Fourth Grade Science Fair.

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Each student-scientist stood at the ready to explain and demonstrate their particular field of scientific interest. “The fourth graders have been learning about the Scientific Method this year, how to apply it in order to plan and perform an experiment,” said fourth grade Science/Math teacher Mariya Goldfarb.

In November, students perused 200 topics and selected the one they were interested in exploring the most. Stretching their credibility skills, they learned how to distinguish viable websites of potential research from inaccurate ones, while simultaneously extending their research to the school’s online library database.

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Once students created their hypotheses and a list of materials, they were ready to proceed to experimentation. “Which gum flavor stays the longest – regular or sugar-free?” investigated Keira. “How does color affect a person’s mood?” asked Luca. And, “Which material prevents the most erosion on a slope (plants, rocks, or mulch)?” considered Ashton. In all, students performed 24 different experiments.

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To prepare for the fair, fourth graders designed both poster boards and digital slide decks, which included their hypothesis, procedure, results, research, and conclusion. “Our fourth grade scientists also wrote speeches explaining their findings and possibilities for further research,” described Mrs. Goldfarb. “They also researched the accomplishments of famous scientists such as George Washington Carver and Rosalind Franklin,” she added. “The science fair is a wonderful display of students’ research and culmination of science learning in our Lower School,” said Mrs. Schlicht, K-3 LS Science Teacher.

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Visiting grades and teachers also got to experience the science fair and were equally impressed. “Thank you for inviting me to the Fourth Grade Science Fair – I loved all of the different experiments that the children did,” praised Second Grade teacher Sara Weinstein. “What impressed me most was that because they did all of the work in school, they were truly able to speak about their experiments and research. I learned so much from speaking to each student. Outstanding job!”

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As part of the scientific process, a final step of reflection prompted students to analyze the entire process from different angles. “You need multiple tests to get an average for more accurate results,” said one student. “Pressure is a complicated topic and requires research,” found another. “Making a science trifold takes time and has several components,” added one more student. “There are female coders,” announced one other student. And last, but not least, “Scientists are cool!”

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Photography by Margaret Pegno/Friends Academy

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