FLORHAM PARK – Local students put the scientific method to the test in a recent competition. In the end, five of them outperformed their peers from across the region.
Students at Brooklake Elementary School and Ridgedale Middle School participated in the Fair for Emergent Researchers (FER), a national program that aims to increase diversity, accessibility, and communication in scientific research by mentoring students from 5th to 8th grade.
Students are tasked with coming up with their own science experiments, presenting their scientific findings, and answering questions from a panel of judges from different universities.
The fair took place virtually on Monday, April 30. Local students competed against students from New Jersey and New York, with six total schools participating, according to Florham Park Schools Superintendent Steven Caponegro.
Brooklake fifth-graders Justin Kim and Nathan Plumb won first place in the regional competition or their experiment on how lower pH levels in acids affect metal corrosion.
Fifth-grade student Allison Dolan won second place for her experiment on the effects of climate change on plant growth.
Additionally, Devina Chatterjee and Alaa Bennasser, also fifth graders from Brooklake, received honorable mention from the judges for their experiment in how sound travels.
The five students secured their place among some 78 competitors from grades 5 to 8.
“We are incredibly proud of all of our students who participated in this year’s FER program at Brooklake School,” Superintendent Caponegro said.
“It was the first year of its implementation and what a success it has been. Working with university professors and students from across the country has been a wonderful experience for our students and our district.”
He said “the help and supervision of fifth-year science teacher David Lechinger was instrumental in guiding our young researchers.”