Middle School Student Wins BNL Science Fair

For her project focused on students’ success on exams based on how they are administered, James Wilson Young Middle School sixth-grader Emily Phua captured a first-place win for her grade level at this year’s Brookhaven National Laboratory Science Fair.

“I was very surprised when my name was announced,” said Emily. “It felt really good that all of my hard work paid off.”

Employing the skills she had acquired in her school’s science research class, Emily completed the project over a six-week period, during which time she created two math exams and administered them to 17 volunteers. Introducing variables into the experiment, Emily worked to determine if a person’s score improved or declined based on how they take the exam; that is, whether they complete it from start to finish in one sitting or whether they take short breaks. After graphing her results, Emily noted a 32 percent decline in her subjects’ scores when breaks were taken.

Speaking to the benefits associated with students completing research projects, teacher Kathy Brand explained, “Science research, and in fact science in general, teaches students how to reason. With the skills they acquire during this class, they begin to look at world problems with an eye toward the scientific process and always ask questions about why things occur.”

This is the third time a Bayport-Blue Point student has won the BNL Science Fair in the past five years, which is how long the science research program has run at the middle school.