Who would’ve thought to try generating electricity from fruit? Aarohi Unadkat did. The seventh grade student from Peterson Middle School took apples, pears and bananas and measured the electricity they produced when they were unripe, ripe and overripe. Unadkat’s conclusion: Ripe fruits produced the most electricity.
Such was one of the 272 science projects featured at the 2015 Santa Clara Unified School District Science Fair, held at Wilcox High School on May 13. Three hundred and 15 students between fourth and eighth grade participated.
“The purpose of the fair is to encourage the students to pursue their interest in science,” says Sarah Hedges, chairperson for the science fair and member of Santa Clara Unified Parents (SCUP). “I saw a lot of projects relevant to the environment, like ones about water conservation and use. I loved the originality of one project titled, ‘Will playing a ukulele affect a chicken’s egg production?’ Events like this make me feel optimistic about the future of the science community.”
“This event allows students to share their thinking and learning around science, and their excitement and understanding of science,” adds Marie Bacher, a science teacher on special assignment.
Students from 17 schools arrived at scheduled times to meet with judges. The early morning marked the arrival of students from Peterson Middle School.
“I did a project where I put nitrogen fertilizer on certain plants to see which one would grow taller, the ones with the nitrogen fertilizer or the ones without,” Maria Nelly Belmont says. “It turns out that the ones with nitrogen fertilizer grew more. Because the source of decomposing organisms wasn’t there, the nitrogen fertilizer acted as a substitute.”
“My experiment is about the importance of electrolytes; I measured the amount of electrolytes in Gatorade, another drink called Propel, Powerade and tap water,” Ivan Cvjetinovic says. “I measured the electrolytes with a multimeter, and I found Gatorade had the most electrolytes.”
Many members of SCUP volunteered at the science fair. In past years, SCUP sponsored the fair.
“The district finances have improved so that the Santa Clara Unified School District is now able to fund the costs of the district science fair,” writes school board member Jodi Muirhead in an email. “It has been an incredible asset to our community that Santa Clara Unified Parents has supported the event for the last three years and continues to provide the volunteer power so that the event can be as meaningful to the students as it has been.”