student working on a laptop

Science Fair 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2019

landmark high school science fairDozens of Landmark High School students competed in the annual science fair and displayed their ambitious projects for judges and observers on February 14.

Some students proved their hypotheses (rap music helps basketball players sink shots better than country or rock music) while others were surprised by their findings (adults ages 40 and over have better memory than teenagers). Despite the outcomes, the students reported that their projects taught them a thing or two about the scientific process and they gained an appreciation for the level of detail required to defend a hypothesis.

Each project was assessed by four judges and by their science teacher. The teacher's score was given double weight. Projects were judged on presentation, scientific thought, thoroughness, and creativity. The students were required to state the purpose of the project, the hypothesis, the scientific procedure they followed, observations, gather and interpret data, draw a conclusion, and finally, present the project to judges. 

The Scientific Process

landmark high school science fairRuairi tested the effect of heat and cold on battery life and performance. He hypothesized that batteries would be less efficient in cold environments and function normally in warm environments. He correctly hypothesized that batteries were negatively affected by cold temperatures. "In particular, iPhone devices became completely useless in environments below fridge temperatures," he said. "Android devices did work, but they lost power." He found that with alkaline batteries, the smaller the battery the more effect temperature had on them. To measure performance, he put phones in an incubator or freezer overnight, and then played a Youtube video for 10 minutes and measured how much batter life was lost. In cold environments, they lost on average 16-20% and only 5-7% at warm temperatures. He found that Android devices lost power faster than iPhones. He hypothesized that Android's larger screen and battery size caused the devices to be less energy efficient.

Elizabeth wanted to find out if name-brand sugar tastes better than off-brand. She made two batches of ice cream, one with Domino sugar and the other with a store brand. She tested two groups: students and teachers. The student group was evenly split. The teachers preferred the ice cream made with Domino sugar 2–1. Asked what inspired her to choose this experiment, Elizabeth said, "Who doesn't want to make ice cream for a week during school?"

Thank you to Greta Wright '20 and Lydia Jackson '20 for sharing these photos.