As the school year recently came to a close, the North Bergen School district celebrated the world of science with experiments, fairs, competitions and awards, and a special visit from a representative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The school fair featured summations of several dozen science projects. Parents were invited to attend and witness the awards presentations. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three students in each grade.
“It was a project-based assignment,” said teacher Inaya Jaafar. “It had all the different areas incorporated.”
“We were very pleasantly surprised,” said teacher Jane Lynch. “It was a great success. We were shocked by the students that qualified.”
Out of about 200 submissions, nearly 60 seventh and eighth grade students at Lincoln School passed classroom preliminaries to present tri-fold posters of the scientific experiments they had done.
Patrick Cobos designed a working hovercraft in which his sister Patricia, 19 years old and 110 lbs., floated in a three foot circle in their living room.
“It gives the students an opportunity to have science come alive and get them enthused.” – Al Orlando
Aya Hourani, 13, performed an experiment on the relationship of magnetism to gravity. Kristina Almonte’s demonstration tested conductors of heat.
Lucas Lopez, 14, tested four different brands of batteries to see which lasted the longest. Nada Zohayr tested whether or not images affect people’s moods throughout the day, using a series of pictures.
“Our students did a great job and our teachers did a great job,” said Principal Francis Pastore.
At Franklin School, the big honor was a visit from Glen Schuster, project director of the NASA Endeavor Program, which recognizes and honors science programs which use innovation in teaching.
“NASA has put out the call for educators across the country who are potential leaders and they have been awarded NASA Endeavor Fellowships,” Schuster said. “These teacher-leaders are helping educators throughout their districts around the country to be successful in science, technology, and engineering education.
“One of the things that we have seen here in North Bergen which is really outstanding is that the local fellow, Stephanie Stern, has been able to take NASA content and the way we do things and spread it throughout the district in grades 3-8, not just in her own classroom,” he said. “It’s a whole change in the way science and technology is taught and it is being done at a very low cost, using NASA assets available through the Endeavor Program.”
Stern represented the school and its program during a trip to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., last fall, and authored an article about the visit in the teachers’ newsletter.
“I think it’s good we’re using some of NASA’s models (for teaching) they posted on their website,” said Al Orlando, science district supervisor. “It gives the students an opportunity to have science come alive and get them enthused.”
At Robert Fulton School a night-time Science Fair event was held. Prizes were presented to students at a night-time ceremony, according to Lee Perez from the school.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.