Ottoson Science Fair Club

The Ottoson Science Fair Club was kickstarted in 2014 with funding from an AEF Innovations in Education grant.

Excerpt from Ottoson Principal Weekly Newsletter
May 15, 2017


This year the Ottoson Science Club was pleased to have 12 students that completed 10 projects which were presented at the Region IV Middle School Science Fair on Friday April 28th at the Tsongas Center in Lowell. We were pleased to learn that Tyler DeLabarre’s project “Anti-theft Backpack” earned a first place finish at the fair. Victor Chen’s project “Should I walk” earned a second place finish at the fair. Harry Averill (Leading Edge Control Surfaces) will join Tyler and Victor at the Massachusetts State Science Fair on June 3rd at Worcester Technical High School. We are looking forward to these students sharing their projects with a larger audience in June.

This year the Science Club has been supported by the Ottoson Parent Advisory Council. The success of our all our young scientist would not be possible without the support of their advisors including, Laoti Bussone, Karen O’Hagan, Michael Hansen and Robin Varghese.

List of projects:

  • Anti-theft Backpack: Tyler DeLabarre
  • Should I walk: Victor Chen
  • Leading Edge Control Surfaces: Harry Averill
  • What is the most common way to get goose bumps? Eva Bussone
  • A more effective cooler: Diamond Gutierrez-Kraybill
  • Bombs away: Jack O’Hagan
  • Wifi Blockers: Alexander Qazilbash & Aidan Thielman
  • Memory muscle and the Rubix cube: Ali Merchant
  • Go with the Glow: Kai Collins & Noah Varghese
  • Shielding against E.M.P’s: Vittorio Prete

Excerpt from April 2015 Superintendent’s Newsletter

Three Ottoson Science Fair Club Projects Advance to State FinalsOMS Science Fair Club

This month, the Ottoson Science Fair Club sent nine outstanding projects to the 2015 Northeast Massachusetts Regional Science and Engineering Fair–a first for both Ottoson and our district. I am pleased to report that three of these projects are advancing to the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair to be held in Worcester on June 6. We had two Region IV second place finishes:

  • Team entry, Nathan Skoczenski, Meghna Gite and Benafshay Merchant, What Makes Yawning Contagious
  • Solo entry, Keshav Gowthaman, The Effect of Light on Peripheral Vision

Thanks to a wild card entry the group received, OMS was allowed to choose one of the other seven projects to also move forward. The quality of all the projects is very high, so the Club advisors asked Principal Ruggere to participate in a random drawing. The third project to advance is:

  • Solo entry, Lana Popovic, The Aquacar

I want to congratulate all the members of the Ottoson Science Fair Club for their hard work. In addition to the five students named previously, Sasha Berryman, Matt Chen, Neelaza Dahal, Tyler DeLaBarre, Max Hannon, Nathan Jones, Alan Lee, Varun McIntyre, David Peng, Kelsey Roy, Matthew Schmelzer, Valerie Saykina, Chris Skambas, Ford Stark, Tyler Stewart, Jacob Woolf and Xiaozhuo Zhu participated in this very successful Club pilot.

I am grateful to Byron DeLaBarre, Susan Stewart, Anne Skoczenski and Robin Varghese for their leadership of the group. Thanks also to the parents who supported their children in this tremendous effort, and to the Arlington Education Foundation for the Innovations in Education grant that funded the Club. I am happy to share the good news that the Ottoson Science Fair Club will be running next year, so students can start thinking about possible projects now.


Excerpt from February 2015 Superintendent’s Newsletter

OMS Science Fair Club Prepares Twelve Projects to Present at Regional Competition

A very special event will happen at Ottoson during the first week in April. At that time, the members of the new Ottoson Science Fair Club will show their friends and families the projects they have been working on this year. The nine girls and fifteen boys will be presenting their work at the Northeast Regional Middle School Science and Engineering Fair on April 11. Twelve projects will be entered in the Fair. Some will answer questions such as “How does music affect athletic performance?”, “What makes yawning contagious?”, and “How does time perception change as you age?” Others involve designs that include a robot ball thrower for dogs, a solar-powered water desalinator and a wind turbine. All the ideas come from the Club members, and reflect topics that are of personal interest.

Ottoson parent and scientist Byron DeLaBarre decided that it was time to get Arlington students involved in Science Fair competition. He has been judging at the state level for eight years, and has never seen an entry from our town. He confirmed that our district has not been submitting participants to the Regional Fair, so he applied for, and was awarded, an Arlington Education Foundation Innovations in Education Grant to correct this.

Three other parent volunteers, Ann Skoczenski, Susan Stewart and Robin Varghese (aka Dr. “V”, a science teacher at Ottoson) help with the Club and are committed to keeping everyone on track to meet the April deadlines. The snow has presented some challenges, but the tech savvy students communicate through email and use their access to shared Google Drives to work on documents together. The entries include both individual and group efforts.

Talking part in Science Fair competitions is a wonderful way for students to build confidence and learn more about doing independent work using the scientific method. I am grateful to Dr. DeLaBarre and his volunteers for their dedication to our young people, and I am excited about the interest this has sparked across all three grades at Ottoson. I look forward to hearing about their experience at the Regional Fair.

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