Local Winners in Zoo Event
March 11, 2011
Students in grades fifth through 12th from six Chicago Public Schools participated in the second annual Chicago Zoological Society science fair held Feb. 25 at Brookfield Zoo.
The event included 27 science projects that were judged by Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd), state Rep. Toni Berrios, WBBM-TV news anchor Jim Williams, student mentors, and Chicago Zoological Society staff. Chicago’s Southwest Side and the Clearing neighborhood in particular were well represented among the winners.
Placing first was Joseph Komperda, a seventh-grade student at Nathan Hale Elementary School. His project was called “Think Red.” Komperda diluted contaminated water with pure water to test how much pure water is needed to purify the contaminated water.
The second-place winner was Nicole Sheedy, a sixth-grade student at Hale School. Her project was called “Which Candle Burns Faster?” Sheedy tested the burn rate of candles based on their color.
The third-place winner was Alma Gonzalez, a sixth-grade student at Grimes Elementary School. Her project was called “Solid to Liquid.” Gonzalez froze soda, orange juice and coffee for one day, then removed the liquids from the freezer and tested which would unfreeze the fastest.
The fourth-place winner was Asma Shuaibi, an eighth-grader at Dore Elementary School. Her project was “In Which Liquid Would Alka-Seltzer Have the Quickest Reaction.” Shuaibi tested water, milk, orange juice and Pepsi to see which would dissolve Alka-Seltzer the quickest.
The first-place winner received a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo’s Swamp exhibit. The second- and third-place winners received a one-year family membership to Brookfield Zoo, and the fourth-place winner received a Brookfield Zoo sweatshirt.
Students participating in the event were from six of the eight partner schools of CZS’s Levels of Engagement program.
The program offers CPS teachers training in helping students use creativity and judgment to create science fair projects outside of the normal demonstrations.
In the spring, the program will evolve to offer student peer-to-peer mentoring by pairing juniors from Charles Allen Prosser Career Academy, located in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago, with younger middle school students.
Students will work one-on-one throughout the spring and summer to develop science fair projects in preparation for next year’s school and area science fairs.
“The Chicago Zoological Society’s Levels of Engagement program is a collaborative effort with CPS to engage and empower students to develop meaningful science fair projects,” said Jennifer Gibson, Chicago Zoological Society school program coordinator.
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