This story is by Treena Joi, science teacher in grades 6-7 at Corte Madera School in Portola Valley:
Corte Madera School sent 12 student projects to the San Mateo County Science Fair in February. Three projects, by a team from each middle school grade, are being recognized with a trip to the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles on May 21 and 22.
Christopher Sauer and Jonathan Zdasiuk represent the sixth grade, with their two-year engineering research project titled, "Making the Mag-Lev Train Move." In the biology category, seventh-grader Brooke Rothschild-Mancinelli will show off her work titled, "The Effect of Salt on the Boiling Temperature of Water."
An engineering project by eighth-grader Will Strober, "Acceleration by Magnetic Forces and a New Propulsion System," rounds out the Corte Madera science team this year.
Brooke's brother Kyle Rothschild-Mancinelli, a Corte Madera graduate and a ninth-grader at Carlmont High School, will also compete at the state fair. His work, "Breaking the double helix: Effects of solar UV radiation on super-coiled DNA," is an environmental science entry.
"I am really excited about going to the state science fair," says participant Jonathan Zdasiuk. "We worked really hard on this project for two years."
It's "sort of neat to levitate the train car," he says, using a magnetic track that he and Christopher Sauer built. "It's neat how it is just floating in the air like that using magnets!" Christopher adds: "For our science project, we added an electromagnetic propulsion system that we wired so you can move the train by pressing a switch and rotating a dial."
Thank go out to all of the parent volunteers and science advocates in the community. Corte Madera Science Fair coordinator Brigetta Brown and fellow science teachers Treena Joi and Jeanne Rusch are working with the Portola Valley School District administration to lengthen the school-wide science fair from two to five school days to better provide students and community members more time to enjoy all the hard work Corte Madera students put into their consistently innovative and dedicated science inquiries.
About the author: Treena Joi teaches 6-7 grade science at Corte Madera School. She is a member of the newly formed Portola Valley Science and Nature Committee and the Portola Valley Climate Task Force. She has a master's degree in education from Stanford. She has a Web site that is "helpful and entertaining for students of all ages." Click here: Web Link