Solorsano students thrive at science fair

Solorsano students thrive at science fair

Ascencion Solorsano Middle School students brought home a bevy
of awards at the county’s Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and
Technology Championship and judges named Solorsano as outstanding
middle school for the fourth year in a row.
Ascencion Solorsano Middle School students brought home a bevy of awards at the county’s Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship and judges named Solorsano as outstanding middle school for the fourth year in a row.

Now, Solorsano eighth-grader Brent Butler and sixth-grade students Peter Peddie and Lucas Miller are looking ahead to competition at the state science fair in Los Angeles later this month.

“Obviously, you know we’re very proud,” Solorsano Principal Sal Tomasello said, adding that the competition at the event was tougher this year than in years past.

Solorsano, the only Gilroy school to participate in the March science fair, took home 20 specialty awards, 14 category awards as well as seven first awards and three first-place prizes, among other awards.

Some of those awards consisted of cash prizes and medallions among other tokens of honor, and a couple of students received certificates signed by the U.S. Surgeon General.

Dawn O’Connor, who oversees the Solorsano science program with fellow teacher Cathleen Johnson, also was named as an outstanding middle school teacher at the event.

The local middle school sent four students to the county science fair the first time it participated in the event six years ago, O’Connor said. This year, the school had 52 participants with 41 projects.

Solorsano receives help from San Jose-based A Schmahl Science Workshop, a nonprofit that provides hands-on science activities for youths. Schmahl mentors meet with the students and teachers once a week as students come up with a product list of what they need, experiment with materials and analyze data, O’Connor said.

O’Connor, who studied science in college, said students’ projects are far more advanced than the science projects she did when she was their age and are more reminiscent of the projects she did in college.

Schmahl’s assistance at Solorsano helps “level the playing field,” as many of the students that Solorsano competes with have students whose parents work in science-related careers, O’Connor said.

The county science fair took place at the San Jose Convention Center March 17, while an awards ceremony occurred at Great America on April 11.

The upcoming state science fair will be May 17 and 18 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

At the fair, Peddie and Miller will enter a physics team project that examines whether a rocket that spins when it climbs in altitude goes higher than a rocket that does not spin. Butler is entering a botany project that examines the growth impacts on the offspring of plants whose parents are cultivated in different salt concentrations.

Students come up with their own projects based upon their interests, O’Connor said.

“What we’re trying to do is getting down to the root of what they are passionate about,” she said.

Ascencion Solorsano Middle School Project Awards 2010

School Teacher Student Award Title Grade

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolSarahBrownClara IsabelVirgen-Silva3rd Place Award – $100 Cash and cert, American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Northern California BranchHow will Different pH Levels Affect Daphnia and Duckweed? (Zoology)7

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolCathleenJohnsonSamantha MyDolan$100 Cash Award, certificate, Fair Manager’s Graphic Design AwardThe Glowing Plants (Botany)6

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolCathleenJohnsonGianfranco FabrizioFilice1st Award, Individual Project, Physics CategoryWill a Large Crystal With a Small Antenna Work Just As Well As a Small Crystal Radio With a Large Antenna (Physics)6

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolCathleenJohnsonLucas Miller1st Award, Team Project, Physics CategoryDoes a Rocket that Spins When it Climbs in Altitude go Higher Than a Rocket that Doesn’t Spin? (Physics)6

       Connections computer accessories, Kitislazender sports deluxe sling, magnetic floating pen/holder, certificates, and certificate holders, United States Air Force  

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolCathleenJohnsonPeter BrendanPeddie1st Award, Team Project, Physics CategoryDoes a Rocket that Spins When it Climbs in Altitude go Higher Than a Rocket that Doesn’t Spin? (Physics)6

       Connections computer accessories, Kitislazender sports deluxe sling, magnetic floating pen/holder, certificates, and certificate holders, United States Air Force  

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorGiovanni DoValleAviles1st Award, Individual Project, Physics CategoryWhat is the Effect of Scotch Tape on X-ray Production in a Vacuum? (Physics)8

       $75 Cash Award plus Certificate and holder, Varian Medical Systems  

       1st place student- Middle School – $100 plus cert, American Vacuum Society, Northern CA Chapter  

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorBridget LeeBrownHonorable Mention, Individual Project, Medicine/Health/Gerontology CategoryThe Effect of Caffeine, Tobacco, and Nicotine on Heart Rate in Daphnia magna. (Medicine/Health/Gerontology)7

       Certificate of Achievement, signed by Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service Award  

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorBrent DalyButler1st Award, Individual Project, Botany CategoryHow Will the Salt Percent Threshhold in the Fast Plants Affect its Next Generation Offspring? (Botany)8

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorJordan CarrascoHM Certificate of Award (from National APA org), American Psychological AssociationPick Me, Pick Me! Would you Choose This or That? (Behavioral/Social)7

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorKatrina GabrielleCarter2nd Award, Individual Project, Biochemistry/Microbiology CategoryIs UV vis Lethal to Acne Bacteria? (Biochemistry/Microbiology)7

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorHeidi HeleneCostello2nd Award, Individual Project, Environmental Sciences CategoryEffect of Non-Point Source Pollution on Daphnia magna Viability (Environmental Sciences)7

       1st Place – Multi-volume Set of Books on the Marine Environment, Monterey Bay Aquarium  

       Certificate, NOAA Medallion, letter, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorHaleigh AnnDalkeHonorable Mention, Individual Project, Chemistry

CategoryWhat is the Effect of Doubling and Omitting the Ingredients Have on the Texture of Chocoolate Chip Cookies (Chemistry)8

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorAlison AdairDayThird Place MS–$50 plus cert, RAE SystemsOptimal Ethanol Production Time (Environmental Sciences)7

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorKatie GuardinoHM Certificate of Award (from National APA org), American Psychological AssociationPick Me, Pick Me! Would you Choose This or That? (Behavioral/Social)7

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorSinead MegumiJernigan1st Award, Individual Project, Environmental Sciences CategoryWhat Are the Long-Term Effects of Phosphorous Compounds and Medicine Run-Off Seperately and Synergistically on Aquatic Life? (Environmental Sciences)8

       1st place- $50, certificate, and voucher for course materials and attendance at a safe boating course., United States Coast Guard Auxiliary  

       Gardening Book & $25 class voucher, Common Ground Organic Garden Supply & Education Center  

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorHannah LouiseMarquezHonorable Mention, Individual Project, Biochemistry/Microbiology CategoryWhat is the Affect of Cinnamon on Mouth Bacteria? (Biochemistry/Microbiology)7

       Certificate of Achievement, signed by Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service Award  

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorSafieh MoshirfatemiCertificate, NOAA Medallion, letter, National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationWhat is the Effect of Runoff From a Golfcourse Below and Above the Course? (Environmental Sciences)7

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorAlondra Navarro1st Award, Individual Project, Environmental Sciences CategoryWhat Effect, if any, Does Air Pollution Have on the Growth of a Vanessa cardui Butterfly? (Environmental Sciences)8

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorAliyah NicolePurnellHM Certificate of Award (from National APA org), American Psychological AssociationPick Me, Pick Me! Would you Choose This or That? (Behavioral/Social)7

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorKatelyn MarieVisnaw1st Award, Individual Project, Biochemistry/Microbiology CategoryWhat is the Effect of Exposure Time on UV Light Bacteriocidal Activity in E. coli (Biochemistry/Microbiology)7

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolDawnO’ConnorJames BradfordWalling IICertificate, NOAA Medallion, letter, National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationDo the Turbidity and Dissolved Oxygen Levels of Little Arthur Creek Change from Upstream to Downstream? (Environmental Sciences)8

       GR 6-8 : 2nd Place Award – $75 Gift card plus cert, California Water Environment Association  

       Honorable Mention MS – cert, American Society of Civil Engineers  

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolMalinaTarascoJosh WilliamBassiHonorable Mention, Individual Project, Botany CategoryWhich Plant Will Absorb the Most Lead (Botany)6

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolMalinaTarascoAlea Furushiro2nd Award, Team Project, Medicine/Health/Gerontology CategoryWhich Type of Earbud Material Collects the Most Bacteria? (Medicine/Health/Gerontology)6

Ascencion Solorsano Middle SchoolMalinaTarascoNicole KellyHolder2nd Award, Team Project, Medicine/Health/Gerontology CategoryWhich Type of Earbud Material Collects the Most Bacteria? (Medicine/Health/Gerontology)6

 

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