Press Release  


Young Scientists Converge at Morningside for Annual IUSD Science Fair

Inglewood students displayed creative scientific thinking in a wide range of projects at the Inglewood Unified School District’s 26th annual district-wide science fair, held on Saturday, June 3, 2006.

The day before, the 1st through 3rd place winners from each school assembled poster board displays, photographs, props, abstracts, and journals at Morningside High School in preparation for the event. On Saturday morning, they waited patiently in front of their projects, quietly rehearsing what they would say to the judges. Projects were judged by teams of Raytheon scientists and Inglewood teachers.

“This is one of the ways we can close the achievement gap because it gives children the opportunity to become proficient at the scientific method at an early age,” said Alma Davis, IUSD Director of Instruction, thanking volunteers for their time.

Project categories for the upper grades (6-12) included physical science, engineering, life science, behavioral science, and botany. Originally offered to students in grades 6-12, the science fair was expanded to include grades K-5 seven years ago in an effort to encourage students of all ages to engage in the scientific process. This was the first year that elementary school students were required to complete a journal about their projects.

For Susan Atkins, coordinator of the K-5 science fair, the judges are important role models for children. “Part of the value of doing this competition is that when students are interviewed by the judges, and they see how young some of the judges are, they can see themselves as scientists,” she said.

Kindergarten teacher Wendy Frandell, who served as a judge alongside Raytheon engineer Jocelyn Hicks-Garner, enjoyed working in a team to judge the projects. “I had the grade level experience and my partner had the technical aspects of science,” she said. “We made a good team.”

“The science fair gives [children] a chance to express themselves and let their little minds wander,” said Cecilia and Alven Alexander, parents of Duanna Alexander, a kindergartner from Woodworth Elementary School. “It also gives them a chance to see other projects so they can improve on theirs next year.”

Morningside High School chemistry teacher Brian Clamp agrees. “What I like about science is that it allows [students] to demonstrate creative thinking. You see them make a guess, prove that it’s wrong or right, graph it out, demonstrate it, and explain it,” he said. “It also opens up a lot of career paths that students can choose from.”

Out of a group of six students from Monroe Middle School, all six have their sights set on science careers ranging from engineering, astronomy, and computer science, to quantum physics, psychology, and mechanics. Eighth grader Ca’Ron Fowlkes from Parent School wants to be a cardiovascular surgeon. “My dad once told me that there are not a lot of African American doctors, and I want to change that,” he said.

Monroe students Juan Plascencia, Steve Melgar, and Jonathan Davila placed 3rd in the engineering category for their project on robot efficiency. “The main purpose of the project was to find methods of making the robot more efficient,” said Juan. “We did that by modifying the circuitry and adding new devices such as resisters to some of the parts of the robot while at the same time remaining on a low budget. Our teacher, Ms. Genota, helped by buying some of the parts for us.”

Oak Street School 6th graders Guadalupe Juarez and Jessica Diaz turned to recent events for their project topic—“How Do Tsunamis Form?”—which placed 2nd in the 6th grade life science category.

A team of 11th graders from Morningside High School, Jesus Garcia and Jose Neri, placed 1st in the behavioral science category for their project on brain hemispheres. “I really didn’t know we had a dominant side [of the brain],” said Jesus, who does a behavioral science project every year and is interested in pursuing a career in psychology. “Every time I learn something different,” he said.

When asked what he likes about the science fair, 4th grader Christopher Edwards from Parent School responded, “I like to win trophies.”

In the assembly following the judging, special trophies were awarded to students who placed in the top three for each grade level (K-5) or science category (6, 7-8, 9-12). Student winners in grades 6-12 also received cash awards sponsored by Raytheon.

Six years ago, Inglewood High School science teacher Olivet Cunningham approached Raytheon’s Charles Rampton with a request for support. Since then, Raytheon has generously supported the IUSD science fair with cash awards for students and volunteer judges.

Taking home the perpetual trophies for the most wins this year were: Frank D. Parent Scshool (K-5), Monroe Middle School (grade 6 and grades 7-8) and Morningside High School (9-12). At the close of the ceremony, a special recognition was given to Alma Davis, who is retiring this year.

“Science is probably one of the most important disciplines, and sometimes people tend to overlook it,” said Patricia Richardson, the Morningside High School science teacher who coordinates the 6-12 science fair. “This is becoming a problem in our society because we are not producing young people interested in going into math and science careers. Hopefully, because of their involvement, students will not see science as just for so-called “smart” people. If you have the desire and are willing to take the challenge, it can be mastered by anyone. The science fair gives young people inspiration and the belief that they can accomplish their goals.”

Inglewood Unified School District
26th Annual Science Fair Winners


1st – Maya Chambers
2nd – Arely Garcia
3rd – Duanna Alexander

First Grade
1st – Anthony Freeman
2nd – Lauren Burnett
3rd – Stephen L. Williams II

Second Grade
1st – Hunter Gray
2nd – Janet Gudio
3rd – Cameron Evans

Third Grade
1st – Zoe Ram
2nd – Aletris Palm
3rd – Alana Bell

Fourth Grade
1st – Daisy Sanchez
2nd – Austin Smith
3rd – Chris Edwards

Fifth Grade
1st – Khamal White
2nd – Phoebe Williams
3rd – Malik Brinston


Physical Science
1st - "Catapult,” Cesar Gonzalez & Heraclio Rojas, Monroe
2nd - "How Fast Does Home-Made Perfume Evaporate?" Sonia Vallejo & Gabriela Saucedo, Monroe
3rd - "The Earthquake Machine," Essence Horton & Maria Lariios, Freeman

Life Science
1st - "How Are Toxins Released from Our Bodies?" Emoni Farmer, Freeman
2nd - "How Do Tsunamis Form?" Guadalupe Juarez & Jessica Diaz, Oak St.
3rd - "Sight vs Taste" Ci’onna Bentley, Parent


1st - "Which Plant Enhancer Will Promote Plant Growth at a Faster Rate?" Diego Castro, grade 7, Parent
2nd - "Red Bean vs White Bean Sprouting in Artificial and Natural Light," Staci Martinez, grade 7, Parent
3rd - "How Will Music Affect Plant Growth?" Elellee Omar, grade 8, Lane

Life Science
1st - "How Does the Soil Type Affect the Water Flow?" Ryan Reyes & Augustin Tapia, grade 7, Monroe
2nd - "Examining Unlike Soil Types," Maria Zamudio & Guadalupe Gomez, grade 8, Monroe
3rd - "Enhanced Performance and Decreased Water Loss in Athletics: Gatorade vs Water," Jaisha Martin, grade 7, Parent

1st - "Mousetrap Go Kart," Francisco Bucio & Bryant Solares, grade 8, Monroe
2nd - "Humpty Dumpty Fell off the Egg Express," Jennifer Santana & Miguel Leyva, grade 8, Monroe
3rd - "How Efficient Are Robots?" Juan Plasencia & Steve Melgar, grade 8, Monroe

Physical Science
1st - "How Do Home-Made Rockets Work?" Bryant Solares & Steven Guerra, grade 8, Monroe
2nd - "Water & Carbon Conversion Of Energy In Viable Objects vs Inanimate Objects," Luke Chaniel, grade 7, Parent
3rd - "The Science of Crystals,” Jose Ojeda & Dulce Rios, grade 7, Monroe


Behavioral Science
1st - "Brain Hemispheres: Which is Dominant?" Jesus Garcia & Jose Neri, grade 11, Morningside
2nd - "Which Type of Music is Conducive to Learning?" Angelica Sanchez & Karen Espana, grade 12, Morningside

1st - "Drive Systems," Eduardo Serrano, grade 10, City Honors
2nd - "Hybrid Cars: Why Are They Hot?" Evert Umana, grade 12, Morningside
3rd - "Fire Alarm Sensitive Device," Carolina Reynoso & Anthony Jaurega, grade 11, Inglewood

Life Science
1st - "Measuring Sound Awareness," Luz Jimenez & Vanessa Rodriguez, grade 12, Morningside
2nd - "What Is the Best, and What Needs to Be Added?" Gwendolyn Whited, grade 10, Morningside
3rd – “The Walking Worms,” Jamell Jones, grade 10, Morningside

Physical Science
1st - "The Effect of Temperature & Magnetic Energy," Isabel Granados & Monica Sanchez, grade 10, Inglewood
2nd - "The Effect of Shutter Speed on a Picture," Raul Gaina, grade 10, Inglewood
3rd - "What pH Level is Most Conductive to Corrosion in Iron and Copper?" Angela Holcomb, Lizardo Andres, & Ramon Jimenez, grade 11, Morningside

Page updated 11.27.06