Experiment, invent, learn and empower at the SIS Science Expo


Families on a budget can’t afford to waste money when eggs mistakenly break in a cardboard carton, according to Arianna Malick.

That’s why the Shelton Intermediate School seventh grader invented “The Eggshell,” a protective, insulated carton to hold a dozen eggs.

“You won’t have to spend a lot of money replacing eggs,” Arianna said.

Observers were impressed when she tested her invention, she said.

“When people saw the carton fall but no eggs break, they said, ‘Wow!’” she said.

Arianna was one of about 110 SIS students to participate in the school’s Science Expo, which combined a science experiment fair and an invention convention.

Gianna Maurati, a seventh grader, decided to see whether Tupperware containers or Ziplock bags would keep strawberries fresh longer in the freezer. The Tupperware did much better, she said.

Inventions ranged from a glove stretcher to a self-injecting gel hair brush, and a cell-phone mitt to lighted slippers.

Experiments looked at whether blind fish can see food better, if microwaving water affects plant growth, and which beverage stains teeth the most.

‘Bug list’

Tina Genova, SIS science curriculum leader, said the experiments and inventions help youngsters “develop their critical thinking process and inquiry skills.”

With experiments, Genova said, “They come up with a question, they hypothesize, and they share the results.”

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Inventions are created to solve real-world challenges. “They come up a ‘bug list’ of things that bother them in every day life, and then they come up with an idea to solve it,” she said.

Mayor Mark Lauretti was impressed with what he saw when he visited the Science Expo. “I’m a fan of stuff like this because it brings out the best in students,” said Lauretti, a former science teacher in Bridgeport.

“I saw a lot of creativity by a lot of young minds, which is what education is supposed to be all about,” Lauretti said.

Mark Holden, Board of Education chairman, was just as impressed — and perhaps a bit jealous. A self-described science geek, he said there weren’t science fairs when he was growing up in Trumbull.

The SIS Science Expo lets students “get practice using scientific methodology,” Holden said.


Harrison Bromberger, an eighth grader, invented a magnetic zipper that makes it easier to put together the two parts of a zipper.

He was inspired to pursue the project based on a special needs child, taught by his mother, who has trouble with zippers.

Briana Rowe, an eighth grader, looked at whether playing music would help seeds germinate. Some radish seeds were exposed to pop music and some were not. She found it made no difference in how they grew.

Ian Boath invented “Sock Buddies,” a piece of plastic that keeps two socks together when they are washed. The eighth grader noted he has lost some socks when doing his own laundry.

Nate Gencarelli, a seventh grader, compared the flexibility of plastic shopping bags and plastic trash bags. His tests found the Walmart shopping bag was the most flexible, which also meant it broke most often.

Siddharth Jain, a seventh grader, did an experiment to see what color light created the most wavelength energy. Red light did better than four other colors in his experiment, which was titled, “The Voltage Change from Different Wavelength Radiations on a Solar Panel.”

‘Wonderful experience’

SIS Principal Kenneth Saranich said the expo is “a wonderful experience for kids who really like to explore in the area of science.”

“This is all about inquiry learning, with students asking, ‘What will happen if I do this or that?’” Saranich said. “It empowers students to validate their own learning, and is more hands-on than a lecture or reading a book.”

Science teacher Timothy Gilson, who worked with fellow teacher Erica McNeil on the expo, said this was “the biggest year ever” when it comes to the number of student participants.

“They get the experience of having to present and then being judged,” Gilson said.

He said some of the students hope to pursue their invention prototypes. "They want to keep going with it,” Gilson said.

Falling objects

Vanessa Lewis, a seventh grader, tested whether the weight of an object impacts how fast it falls to the ground. She dropped a rock, a roll of tape and a biscuit from 12 feet in the air three times, and found they all fell at the same rate.

John Michael Recker, an eighth grader, wanted to know if the amount of salt in water would affect the freezing and boiling points.

“The more salt you add, the higher the boiling point and the lower the freezing point,” he said.

Students Hailey Greenleaf and Bridgette Kline, seventh graders, did an experiment to see what would keep ice cold the longest.

Ice was wrapped in various materials and left on a table. They concluded Styrofoam is the best ice insulator.

The top three SIS finishers in both the invention and experiment categories will move on to statewide competitions.