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An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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Upper School Science Fair Culminates Months of Scientific Research

This year’s Upper School Science Fair showcased 70 projects from students in King School’s Grade 9 science class as well as students in Grades 10-12 who are enrolled in the Science Research elective class and ASPIRE program. The impressive range of work spanned numerous scientific fields, with presentations highlighting the diversity of student interest at King.

Nina Griffith ’27 was inspired by her participation in King’s Frog Conservation Project club to determine the effect of different sugars on the survivability of fruit flies, the main diet of the frogs. Her initial hypothesis was that the common sugar sucrose would yield the highest survivability of the insects.

“What I discovered was actually that coconut sugar was higher at 33%, while sucrose was only 17%,” she said. 

The finding led Nina deeper into her investigation. 

“I didn’t even consider this, but coconut sugar has the most nutrients out of the sugars that I tested, which is probably why it was more effective.”

Director of Science Research Victoria Schulman was impressed with the increase in the complexity of projects on display at the fair, now in its eighth year.

“The projects overall are getting more and more advanced even at the beginning scientist level,” she said. “The statistical analysis on almost everyone's projects was stepped up, and many students had creative ways of assessing complex data.”

In their bridge strength project, Jaxon Grayson ’27 and Cooper Roth ’27 aimed to determine which common bridge design was capable of supporting the most amount of weight. To test this, Jaxon and Cooper constructed arch bridges as well as Warren and Pratt trusses. A truss bridge is a bridge whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, a structure of connected elements, usually forming triangular units.

Weight was added to each bridge in increasing increments until the structures collapsed. The team then divided the weight the bridge held before breaking by the bridge’s own weight to determine a winner.

“A bridge might be heavier because of how it was constructed and be able to hold more weight,” noted Jaxon, pointing out that their method accounted for this bias. “We wanted to get the most accurate data possible.”

Other projects aimed to find solutions to global problems.

Looking to mitigate the effect of temperature on coral bleaching, Lucia Vivanco ’26 tested the components of the Dimethylsulfoniopropionate compound. After studying established research in the Science Research Elective course under Schulman, Lucia enlisted the help of science and Marine Biology teacher Ben Lovewell for her experiment.

“He helped me set up the aquariums and showed me how to test the salinity and pH to make sure it wasn't interfering with the coral,” she said.

Lucia documented coral in five different tanks over the course of three weeks. At the end of her study, she was able to conclude that coral exposed to higher tropodithietic acid concentration partially resisted the bleaching process and lived for an average of five days after bleaching occurred. Tropodithietic acid is a derivative produced by marine bacteria.

Behind the impressive work on display is the science curriculum at King, which provides students with a greater understanding of how professional scientists work while simultaneously helping them to develop inquiry, research, and presentation skills essential to a multitude of careers.

Winning projects will be announced at the STEM Colloquium on Wednesday, May 22. First, second, and third place awards are given in three categories: Grade 9, Science Research Elective, and ASPIRE. Honorable mentions and a single Best-In-Fair award are also presented at the colloquium.