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May 1, 2014

Middle schools hold science fairs, students win top honors

Seventh- and eighth-graders in Haverhill’s middle schools recently held their second annual Haverhill Middle School Science and Engineering Fairs. Students, family, friends, and members of the public were invited to see what Haverhill middle schoolers have learned in the areas of science and engineering this year. About 550 projects were featured this year.

The fairs were held at the Hunking Middle School on April 9, and at Consentino School, Nettle Middle School, and Whittier Middle School on April 10.

Plans for this year’s fairs started in September when students chose partners and topics and began their background research for papers due in December.

Next, they developed and performed experiments or created and tested engineering designs. The final step was to compile their results.

At the fairs, students shared their findings and what they had learned about research and design.

This year’s fairs were bigger and better than last year’s, according to Science and Technology Curriculum Supervisor Meg Keppler.

In addition to expanding to include engineering designs, the fairs featured judging of all projects.

“The topics chosen by the students were more challenging than last year and the students were better prepared to speak about their projects and what they learned in the process,” Keppler said. “The students were eager to talk with the judges and proud to share their work.”

This year’s projects included both traditional science experiments and engineering designs. One group investigated the effects of playing video games on blood pressure. Another group investigated the effect music has on heart rate. Another group built several model bridges and tested them to see which bridge design was strongest, while another group built wind turbines to determine the best shape for the turbine blades.

John Mele, principal of Consentino, said his students presented more than 200 projects in their school’s gymnasium and even helped set up the tables for their displays.

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