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In January, seventh grade science teacher Victoria Mauro and eighth grade science teacher Rob Dahl provided guidance to 100 student scientists who competed in the school’s annual Science Fair. 

 

7th Grade

Ms. Mauro has been teaching science for three years, and it is her first year at Northwest.  Mauro shares, “Science is a great equalizer.  Everyone has DNA. Everyone interacts with physics.  Everyone can see the stars. I love getting my students as excited about science as I am!” In helping prepare students for the Science Fair, Mauro provides a timeline and shares Science Fair  project examples. Students form small groups and begin by brainstorming topics before choosing a topic with Mauro’s guidance. Students then do much of the work on their own.

 

As all the Science Fair projects explored interesting questions, it was difficult for Mauro to choose only four of the projects to share! One student group investigated how quickly the eyes produce    tears while cutting onions at  various temperatures. Students used frozen onions, refrigerated onions, baked onions, and microwaved onions. Another project explored using soda instead of eggs  and butter for baking vegan cakes. The student scientists wanted to know which soda makes a cake taste the most “normal.”  

 

Two of the 7th grade projects advanced through the Northwest Middle School Science Fair competition for competing at the District level. Marnely Rivera, Arely Guarneros, and Alyssa Chaires’  hypothesis claimed slime could be used as a stress reliever improving Student Scientists Compete in Science Fairconcentration while taking a math test. Much to the students’ surprise, when the data came in, their slime hypothesis was  proved wrong!  Brooklyn Booth and Saheda Be investigated which every day materials would make the best storm drain filter for preventing oil drainage.  These student scientists tested  six different materials for speed and clarity of filtered water. This project is going on to the regional Science Fair at the University of Utah in March. We wish Brooklyn and Saheda the best of luck!

   

 

8th GradeStudent Scientists Compete in Science Fair

Mr. Dahl has been teaching science for seven years—all at Northwest.  Dahl shares, “I love that science uses interesting and fun ways to solve problems and answer questions while applying skills from math, Language Arts and other disciplines.” Dahl prepares students to participate in Science Fair by using the new SEEd standards.  He stated, “Everything we do in science is centered on phenomena.  As we work through phenomena, students gain expertise on how to solve problems and answer questions.”  According to Dahl, Science Fair provides the opportunity for students to choose their own phenomena, problem, or question to study. 

 

Eighth grade students investigated many interesting topics this year, but a few projects stood out.  One student group tested which brand of skateboard ball bearings were best while another group focused on how sunscreen affects coral reefs. Another project explored how food reacts in a vacuum. This year, one eighth grade project advanced through both the Northwest Middle School and District Science Fair competitions to the Regional Science Fair competition held at the University of Utah in March.  Shantel Arraiz and Marianne Sanchez’ project explores how stress affects memory.  We wish Shantel and Marriane the best of luck!

 

Congratulations to all the student scientists who competed!

To view the entire gallery, click here.

 


Seventh Grade Student Scientists Conduct Carbon Dioxide Cell Experiment

Seventh grade student scientists in Ms. Mauro’s classes conducted experiments to understand how our cells create energy. Students mixed yeast with either salt, sugar, or flour, and then capped their test tubes with balloons. They observed which balloons filled with carbon dioxide – the gas that our cells produce – and which did not. This experiment was part of a larger unit on cells and energy that student scientists have been working on for the past few weeks.

To view entire gallery, click here.

Seventh Grade Student Scientists Conduct Carbon Dioxide Cell Experiment


7th Grade Science Students Display Knowledge about Organelles

Ms. Duffy’s and Ms. Maurro’s 7th grade science students created posters after learning about organelles.  Organelles are small, specialized structures inside cells, which operate like organs by carrying out specific tasks. Working in small groups, students were required to display their learning by drawing oversized organelles and labeling the parts including the nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplast, and cell wall. Students then presented the posters to the class.

Student organelle poster

 


Science Students Learn About the Characteristics of Life

Science teacher James Chandler and his students are exploring the characteristics of life.  Using inquiry as the method of investigation, students blew large bubbles and recorded scientific observations using their five senses.  Students then categorized their findings based on the characteristics of life. Students wrote a scientific explanation answering whether they thought bubbles were alive or not.  This required making a claim, using evidence based on their observations, and required reasoning based on their background knowledge.  Classes then engaged in spirited debates based on their findings.

Science Students Learn About the Characteristics of Life

 


Science Research Students Collect Water Quality Data

Science teacher Dani Bainsmith and her Science Research students took their monthly trip to the Jordan River to collect water quality data.  Students look at dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, and temperature.  Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of the water due to the amount of suspended sediment.  Students learn that when turbidity is too high, sunlight is blocked and can have a negative effect on aquatic plants and organisms, and can carry contaminates such as lead, mercury, and bacteria.  Students measure the pH of the river water to determine how acidic or basic the water is.  It is a measurement of hydrogen ion concentration.  The pH levels are important because, if it is too high, the river becomes inhospitable to life.  Students upload the data into the Utah Water Watch database, a citizen science program that helps monitor waterways around the state.

 

Science Research Students Collect Water Quality Data

 


Science Students Learn How to Build Earthquake-Safe Houses

Science teacher Victoria Mauro and her students have been discussing Utah’s earthquake fault that extends along the Wasatch mountain range for 220 miles. Students learned that it  isn’t a single fault line, but a series of fault segments.  Students learned that the Wasatch mountains were created by many earthquakes that happened along this fault zone during the last million years. Students used popsicle sticks to build structures that could hold the weight of a small pumpkin.  In this activity, students were exploring how to construct earthquake-safe houses.  Classes will be discussing the buildings that are located along the fault line and which ones have been retrofitted to withstand an earthquake.  

 

Science Research Students Collect Water Quality Data

 


 

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