Article | Sentinel & Enterprise

Industry Pros Award Students for Science Project

Check out this article about Fitchburg Memorial Middle School students winning an award during Student Industry Connects!

Sentinel & Enterprise

Posted on March 31, 2024

“FITCHBURG — When you work hard, try your very best and have fun in the process, usually good things happen.

Just ask some 7th-grade students from teacher Megan Mayo’s Memorial Middle School class if that’s true.

The group of Jacquie Pagan, Crystal-Lynn Ellis, Chris Allen, Marcus LaDue and Julian Martinez submitted specific work samples from an OpenSciEd unit to One8’s Student Industry Connects Showcase.

The work that was submitted was reviewed by industry professionals and these hard-working students were recently selected as winners for their project.

“It’s a little crazy,” Mayo said. “I showed them the email and they were like, ‘we never win’ and I was like, ‘well, look at what you did and all the hard work you put in, everything you learned and all the progress you made.

“I’ve had these guys for two years, so the progress they’ve made over the last two years is pretty significant. I’m going to get choked up. I’m really, really proud of them. They are really great kids. They are able to make these really crazy, amazing connections through all of the work they are doing that can sometimes be hard.

Fitchburg Public Schools Science Curriculum Director, Jessica Stodulski, says she’s extremely proud of the students for the work each one of them put into this project.

“The students’ work showed clear evidence that they had applied what they learned about heat transfer to design an effective solution to minimize heat transfer,” Stodulski said. “Thank you to One8 for the recognition of their hard work. We are very proud of the work they do each and every day and are grateful that others recognize the great things they are doing.”

Have you ever had your ice in your coffee or soda melt too fast on a hot day and water down your drink? This is the problem the students were trying to solve, and the project required students to select different household materials, such as cotton balls or aluminum foil. The intent was to design a cup which would stay colder for a longer period of time than a regular plastic cup would. Most importantly, students had to then explain how the items they chose would be implemented into the design to slow the transfer of energy from the air and sun, which would allow the drink to stay cold longer.

“We were pretty happy about the project,” LaDue said. “The thing I was most happy about that I learned is that I learned how to make cups. Aluminum foil keeps in the cold longer.”

Martinez added: “I enjoyed creating the cup and using different materials in different ways.”

Designing was perhaps the biggest hit with the students.

“I was excited because we got to design our own cups that we could see if they worked or not,” Ellis said. “Some of us added cotton balls to it. I took my cotton balls and glued them to the cup, but my cup didn’t kind of work, but it did.”

“We usually had our own cups, but if we didn’t have our own cups we helped other people with their cups and we did a bunch of tests with our cups,” Pagan said. “We put a lot of work into this. It didn’t feel like work because it was fun.”

Martinez’s cup tested the best and kept in the cold the longest. So what made his cup so special?

The class believes that because before Martinez put the aluminum foil on the cup, he put a cardboard Cozie on it and used that as the initial barrier. He then put the foil on after that. No one else had thought to use the cardboard Cozie, which proved to be the winning decision.

“We talked about what made it the best and they came up with that it was an additional barrier to keep the energy out of the cup and to keep the cold inside the cup,” Mayo said.

Allen said he had fun and learned a few things during the process.

“Learning about cups wasn’t my big cup of tea, but I guess it was fun how they do stuff, I guess?” he said. “The biggest thing I learned the most is the bigger the hole is on the cup, the more water you lose and you contaminate your water.”

The students also submitted hand-drawn models, along with video and written explanations about the reasoning behind their designs.

Their hard work and effort paid off as one Industry professional stated:  “I love all the thoughtful design and material choices for this project which demonstrated understanding of the science and applying real-world concepts. The class pictures are a delight to see.”

“We put some work into it because we had to design it, write about it and then we had to test it,” Ellis said.

“It was a lot of trial and error, and coming to a consensus as a class, and they worked really, really well together as a class,” Mayo said. “I’m really proud of them.”

Hard work does pay off.

-Fitchburg Public School District”

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