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Science Fair Ignites Lifetime of Curiosity

The annual science fair at Northbrook Junior High was held as scheduled on Saturday, January 23. But instead of a gym filled with students and poster-board displays, the fair was held via Zoom breakout rooms.

For the 41 students who participated in the semester-long Independent Science Research class, this was their time to shine. Much like the in-person science fair, they each presented their projects to two judges and received scores for their knowledge on scientific method, and the quality of their research paper and presentation.

Students explored such topics as leaching of plastics, effects of music on plant growth, water purification, and behavioral studies such as the “effect of genders on lying” and “the effect of organization on mood.” A total of 26 students received a gold award, qualifying them for the Illinois Junior Academy of Science regional competition March 6.

Science Teacher Mark Frye, one of four who taught 7th and 8th grade students both in-person and through the Remote Learning Academy, said he was fortunate to have the technical tools to make the event possible. “Getting to present to judges and then most importantly, to get the back-and-forth between the judges and the students was of paramount importance for us. It's an experience you can't replace. We were amazed at the preparedness of our students and I'm very proud of their hard work,” he said.

It’s fair to say this experience ignites curiosity in some students that lasts a lifetime. Many of this year’s judges are Glenbrook North High School students who have stayed involved in science since their experience with the science fair.


Allison Lau “The science fair was truly the first place where I realized how interested I was in science and its potential for solving some of our world's biggest issues,” said Allison Lau, a junior at GBN whose college plans are leaning toward environmental sustainability.

Jenna Ciesla “I did both my (science fair) studies on behavioral science and fell in love with the brain,” said Jenna Ciesla, also a junior at GBN who served as a judge this year and plans to study nursing and psychology in college. “ISR gave me an outlet to dive in on what I found interesting and gave me what I need to be successful in scientific studies.”

Congratulations to all the student participants and possible budding scientists! 

8th grade gold award winners

8th grade ISR students who qualified for regionals include, front row, from left, Ruby Werber, Haley Schaff and Abhimanyu Khurana. Back row, from left, Zoe Saperstein, Ellis Farber, Danielle Yakhnis, Mackenzie Love, and Daniel Bilous. Not pictured: Caitlin Schuster, Mattew Wincek and Stephanie Zhou.

7th grade gold award winners

7th grade ISR students who qualified for regionals include, front row, from left, Emma Lee, Arpi Kirakosian, Callie Zhao, Maxim Djits, and Maria Zhang. Middle row, from left, Ben Sabin, Emma Noll, Molly McAnally, Mimi Peifer, Sarah Goldberg, Emma Fraczek. Back row, Maggie Gjermano, Clare Gartz, Emily Rogers and Kate Nelson. Not pictured: Matthew Wincek and Stephanie Zhou.