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Science in action! MPS features students’ work at fair

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- More than 200 science projects were on display at the Milwaukee County Zoo on Thursday, May 1st for the 7th annual Milwaukee Public School District Science Fair.

273 students participated this year, from 36 schools all over the district which is a substantial increase from last year. Organizers say not only is the fair growing in size, but it is evolving in regards to the topics of projects.

“The quality of projects is moving towards where we want to see them. They are fulfilling the whole scientific process,” said Jon Breedlove, the Science Curriculum Specialist for Milwaukee Public Schools. “I think it opens their eyes to see when they take a particular topic and they do the research on it, they learn more about, they learn how it affects them, how science is applied in the world. Often times they sit in class and go through lessons and they’re thinking how does this affect me and my life."

The majority of the participants won or placed at their schools science fairs, and moved onto the district fair to compete again. The experiments and projects were done by students from kindergarten to high school, and the topics varied a great deal.

8th grader at Fernwood Montessori, Cecelia Mihelich, channeled her love of music into her project. “I've always felt everyone has a connection to music,” she said, “I measured people's heart-rate and people's blood pressure with the effects of different types of music.”

High School Junior Oliver Ramireze and his classmates decided to study the effect of caffeine, drugs, and alcohol on embryos. “What we saw was that caffeine had the least detrimental effects than nicotine and ethanol. “We had an unforeseen bacterial infestation in the experiment and that contaminated our results, but what we saw was that caffeine had the least detrimental effects than nicotine and ethanol,” explained Ramireze.

Judges walked around the projects, awarding places and prizes for individual age groups -- Kindergarten – 2nd grade; 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade; 6th 7th and 8th grade; and high school.

“Mostly I`m looking for kids that are really engaged with what they`re doing, that they they`ve dug deep with the topic that they`ve chosen that they`ve asked a lot of questions and at the end have even more questions,” Lynn Petros, Judge.

However it can be argued that the big take away was the lessons learned, and how they can be applied in the future.

“Some medications are used today for blood pressure and heart rate control, if I can control, or any kind of scientist can control people`s heart rates with music or some kind of engineered song then we wouldn`t need the harmful effects of pharmaceuticals,” said Mihelich.