Great things are happening in the Everett, MA Public Schools. Of particular note: The Everett High School Science Fair, held on January 12. Exhibitions in biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics offered answers to some intriguing questions. How does the application of heat affect a pineapple’s enzyme activity? Are naturally optimistic people more capable than pessimists of telling a fake smile from the real thing? Is organic or synthetic fertilizer more conducive to plant growth? What drinks have the most dramatic impact on blood pressure?
Featuring 109 projects, the fair represented the work of well over 125 students, who either submitted individual projects or partnered with a friend on the effort. Many of them expressed their interest in STEM subject matter. “Science is my favorite subject in school… along with English,” said 9th grader Wendy Ralon, whose project, “The Eggsperiment,” examined the behavior of chickens’ eggs in a variety of liquids. “I think it’s interesting and fun to figure out how things work.”
The Everett High School Science Fair is a product of a new initiative — Project Engage! — a program designed through a multifaceted collaboration of professionals, including representatives from the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF), the Intel Corporation, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, the Everett Public Schools, and the Marlborough Public School system — the latter as a “mentoring” school district. “[MSSEF's] role is to help with professional development and help students be part of the science fair system, which, for many students, becomes a pathway to college,” MSSEF Executive Director Cora Beth Abel said.
Project Engage! — or Engage Everett! as it’s called locally — involves Everett Public School students in grades 6 through 12 in independent science and technology research experience, with the goal of building a culture of research in school districts across the state. The initiative aims provide students with the skills they need to tackle scientific questions and invent solutions. It does so by putting students into the role of the scientist. The program is being modeled in Everett, with the goal of expanding across the Commonwealth.
Here’s a two-minute slideshow that highlights some of the projects on display at this year’s Everett High School Science Fair. Congratulations to all the entrants on their hard work and inquiry!