Littleton Middle School Students Earn First, Second, Third Place Awards at State Science and Engineering Fair

Littleton Public Schools
Dr. Kelly R. Clenchy, Superintendent
33 Shattuck Street,
Littleton, MA 01460

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Media Contact: Jordan Mayblum
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Littleton Middle School Students Earn First, Second, Third Place Awards at State Science and Engineering Fair

LITTLETON — Superintendent Kelly Clenchy is pleased to announce that several Littleton Middle School students earned first, second and third place awards at the Massachusetts Middle School State Science and Engineering Fair this weekend. 

The fair was held at Worcester Tech High School on Saturday, May 11. Six Littleton Middle School students competed in the fair with five science and engineering projects. 

Madeline Shea, an eighth grade student, received a first place award at the fair for her engineering project. Shea designed a device to measure the amounts of ozone and particulate pollutants in the air, and she also learned how to code and created three prototype devices for her project.

Brandon LaVoie, an eighth grade student, was awarded a second place award at the fair with his hovercraft project. LaVoie built a hovercraft and tested the effect of ground temperature on the lift and speed of the machine.

For her project on the effect of UV light in the degradation of watercolor pigments, eighth grade student Katherine McDonagh won a second place award. She built a UV light chamber for her project to expose selections of watercolor pigment to UV light. She then used Photoshop to measure red-green-blue color values in pigments that both had been exposed to the light and had not.

Aparna Deokar, an eighth grade student, placed third at the fair for a civil engineering project. Deokar tested her hypothesis to see if bioconcrete could be made with a fungal material instead of bacteria, which is added to fill any cracks that may form in the concrete. She made a control concrete block, a block with fungal mycellium and a block with non-activated mycellium. Deokar then used a compression machine to create cracks in the concrete blocks and measured the sizes of the cracks over time. 

“The depth of knowledge and understanding of science and engineering concepts that these students exhibited with these projects is remarkable,” said Valerie Finnerty, an eighth grade science teacher at Littleton Middle School. “Each one of them found rich topics, researched extensively and conducted their work with close attention to detail. It is so exciting to see them recognized for their hard work.”

Shea, LaVoie, McDonagh and Deokar are eligible due to their success at state and regional science and engineering fairs to enter the Broadcom Masters program, a national competition for students who earn top scores in regional and state science and engineering fairs.

“It is thrilling to see our students using their big-picture understanding of science and engineering to conduct such high-level, challenging research,” Superintendent Clenchy said. “Congratulations to each of these students. Your hard work and knowledge of these topics is exceptional.”

Earlier this month on Friday, May 3, seventh grade students Hannah Jonsson and Julianna Magin also placed third at a regional Middle School Science and Engineering fair in Lowell with their project, titled “OJ All the Way.” Jonsson and Magin compared the amount of vitamin C in frozen, fresh and concentrated orange juice.