Environmental Theme Emerges at Katonah ES Science Fair

First grader Charlotte presents her science project about cake. Credits: Katonah-Lewisboro School District

KATONAH, N.Y. - Protecting the environment was one of the top themes at this year’s Katonah Elementary School Science Fair on Monday, Feb. 26.

Katelyn, a first grader at the school, presented her project, “A World Without Food,” which highlighted the importance of bees in growing fruits and vegetables. Her family’s backyard was once a haven for bee pollination activities and gave her family access to delicious honey. Last summer, unfortunately, all of the bees died.

“We think maybe someone in the neighborhood was using pesticides on their lawn,” Katelyn said.

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Science Fair co-chairs Susan Williams and Leah Jacobson, said Bedford 2020—a local initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions— may have played a role in influencing the projects. Other environmentally themed projects included “Polar Bears and Climate Change,” “What Soil Types Make Plants Grow Faster,” “Soil Erosion in a Town,” “Coastal Erosion,” “Hydroponic Soil,” “Hydropower” and “Global Warming and What We Can Do About It.”

In keeping with the environmental theme, no bottled beverages were served at the Science Fair. Children were encouraged to bring their own water bottles.

Other projects included:

  • Kindergartner Tazio built a trebuchet to carry out a catapult experiment;
  • First-grader Charlotte disproved her hypothesis that time in the oven made a cake rise;
  • Second-grader Rapha created several charts of data gleaned from experiments connecting popcorn price to taste;
  • Third-grader Erin tested various household surfaces to determine the bottom of her shoes have the most germs;
  • Fourth-graders Kate and Amelia focused on the variables of wind and storms in their analysis of building strength; and
  • Fifth-grader Nina used pH test strips to conclude that soy milk is more acidic than dairy milk.

Visiting scientists, identified by their white lab coats, included John Jay High School science students, Katonah Elementary School parents who work in the sciences and Katonah-Lewisboro School District teachers. They conferred with the students about their projects and awarded stickers to all participants.

“The Science Fair is an exemplary experience of what we want for our students—an intellectually engaging, inquiry-based approach to learning,” said Principal Cristy Harris. “Answering questions and receiving constructive feedback from the visiting scientists contributed to the authenticity of the event.”

Other guests included Superintendent Andrew Selesnick, Board of Education President Marjorie Schiff, Katonah Village librarian Stephanie Hartwell-Mandella and retired Katonah Elementary School Assistant Principal Terry Costin.

“The informational sessions for students, which were held after school leading up to the Science Fair, provided the necessary resources, information and dedicated time for some students who otherwise may not have been able to participate,” Harris said. “I’m thrilled with the high level of interest and participation among the students from all grades. I am so proud of our young scientists and for being a part of a community that embraces opportunities for learning beyond the classroom; fostering curiosity and encouraging students to pursue their interests.”

Information in this article was provided by the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.

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