IR Science Fair showcases scientists of tomorrow

Say “So long” to that styrofoam solar system and “Bon voyage” to the baking soda-and-vinegar volcano. Last week, for the first time in well over a decade, Indian River High School students presented months of research and data in the form of projects at the 2010 Indian River Science Fair, and it wasn’t their parents’ kind of science fair.

Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor: Indian river 10th grader Christian Constantino stands before his award-winning science fair project about wave pools.Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor
Indian river 10th grader Christian Constantino stands before his award-winning science fair project about wave pools.

The work and projects of nearly 100 students were featured last week, covering a wide spectrum of categories, including chemistry, medicine, botany, consumer science, zoology and more.

“The science teachers here have really encouraged the kids,” said Steve Cardano, the Indian River School District’s science coalition specialist. “I gave them the ball, and they ran with it. It’s the first science fair here, at Indian River, as far as I know, and I have been in school district for some time.”

Expert scientists from Intravet, DuPont and the Center for the Inland Bays came by to assist science teachers in the judging of the projects. The top three projects in each category were recognized and will advance later this spring to compete in a county-wide science fair. The projects were judged based on creativity, organization, presentation of data and adherence to the scientific method.

“There has been a lot of interest from the students since they started their projects in the fall,” said Indian River science teacher Sommer Chorman. The science fair, which was open to students in all grades at the school, saw an impressive turnout from the younger students, with freshmen and sophomores making up the majority of the entrants.

“It’s pretty neat to be a part of [the science fair],” said sophomore Christian Constantino, whose project analyzing the affects of dunes and waves earned him the blue ribbon in the engineering category. “I bodyboard all the time, and I got the idea for my project when I saw what the dune and dredging had done to the waves.” A custom-built box demonstrated the movement of water as it flows over varying dune heights.

Freshman Jacob Martin earned a second-place showing in the environmental science category for his wind blades project.

“With all the talk of off-shore wind power,” he said, “I wanted to see if there was a difference in blade design that would help to produce the best results.”

The turnout of students participating was a better one than most of the school’s science teachers expected, and they said they hope to continue the fair in years to come.

“There are a lot of talented, smart students here,” said Cardano. “These kids can go on to states and regionals with their ideas and win scholarships, grants – all sorts of things. It’s nice to bring something like this to Indian River High School.”