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Judges determine 2024 winners at MPS STEM Fair as students display nearly 300 projects

A student explains her STEM project to a judge.At the 17th annual MPS STEM Fair, in an exhibit hall at the Baird Center downtown, students created designs with swinging pendulums and rotating spinners that dripped, spattered, and lashed paint, while they also absorbed lessons in gravity and variables.  

Elsewhere in the hall, students of all ages and from every region in the school district explained their STEM projects to competition judges and anyone simply curious, through re-creations, illustrations, and photos.  

Fayth Henry and Victoria Hicks, 2nd graders at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, illustrated their “Getting Down with Density” experiment by adding liquids to a clear glass: corn syrup, tonic water (colored green), vegetable oil, dish soap, and baby oil, plus a little glitter. Voila — the liquids stayed layered instead of mixing, thanks to different densities, the girls said.   

At another table, Jencarlos Rito Martinez, a 7th grader from Doerfler School, explained his carefully controlled experiment on whether the amount and type of ice affects the production of fog. Jencarlos is deciding whether to be a scientist, engineer, or mathematician someday. 

The students were among nearly 600 from MPS who took part in the fair on May 9, presenting almost 300 projects.   Winners were chosen at the 2024 MPS STEM Fair, held at the Baird Center.

Other exhibits included a sustainable model city and “trashion,” articles of clothing made from discarded items. They included a cap from Dr Pepper soda cans, a skirt from fundraiser-candy-bar wrappers with a coordinating top made of the gold paper folded around the bars, and a dress made of silver bubble-padded envelopes. 

This year’s STEM Fair began adding more arts into the event, such as the pendulum and spinner paintings, and Makey Makey music machines, which use the human body plus a conductor — anything from a banana to Play-Doh and graphite pencils — to form a circuit and make music.  

Organizers already are looking ahead to 2025. The goal for next year is to move from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to STEAM (the addition of arts) by integrating more art into student projects and demonstrations at the fair, said Rebecca Nowak Gimenez, MPS science instructional coach. 

The STEM Fair was made possible with the generous support of GE HealthCare. In addition, representatives of GE HealthCare were among the 127 judges in the STEM competition, along with MPS staff, retired educators, and others.  

MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley congratulates a STEM winner.Congratulations to the winners of the 2024 MPS STEM Fair: 

K-2 Science 

1st place: Gaenslen School, “Melting Snow,” Parker Rice and Jaykim Wilder 

2nd place: Riley Dual Language Montessori School, “Is There Metal in Cereal?” Harvey Lenz 

3rd place: Carson Academy, “Taste Smell Connection,” Alexander Martinez 

Grades 3-5 Science 

1st place: Westside Academy, “Can Rain Gardens Help with Floods?” Lomir Oliver-Finch, Tee’Asia Johnson, and De’Khia Horton 

2nd place: Golda Meir School, “How Does Borax Affect a Bouncy Ball's Bounce?” Zanai Cunningham 

Grades 6-8 Science  

1st place: Golda Meir, “5-Second Rule,” Logan Vignieri 

2nd place: Whitman Elementary, “It’s Only Rocket Science,” Rylan Fabian 

3rd place: Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts, “Primary Focus,” Olivia Whitehead One project, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, demonstrated density. 

3rd place: Golda Meir School, “Method to Improve Test Scores,” Spencer Robinson 

High School Science  

1st place: Reagan College Preparatory High School, “Engineering Models for Medical Sutures: The Effect of Suture Knots on Seam Strength,” Gemma Vacarro 

2nd place: South Division High School, “DNA Testing: How Can DNA Be Used to Identify Possible Relative, Unique Genetic Characteristics and Potential Genetic Diseases,” Halimah Bibi B Abdul Salam and Siti Norshahira Yassin.

3rd place: Reagan College Preparatory High School, “Ophthalmology: The Effect of Short-Term Blindness on Visual Reaction Time,” Leyna Fehr 

High School Research  

1st place: South Division High School, “La pandemia y su participación en el Cambio Climático,” Oscar Delgado 

2nd place: South Division High School, “Efectos y Consecuencias a causa de la contaminación en el Aire,” Valeria Salcedo 

3rd place: Reflo interns from Bradley Technology and Trade High School, “Waste Diversion”  

A project from Doerfler School examined the effect of ice size on fog.K-2 Engineering  

1st place: Academia de Lenguaje y Bellas Artes (ALBA), “Marble Maze #1,” Alan Ojeda, Yatzil Mexicano, Jaime Bonfil, and Daniela Martinez Mora 

2nd place: Westside Academy, “Make Your own Stethoscope,” Charles Lucas III, Jamarco Johnson Ward, and Xaraina Spears 

3rd place: ALBA, “Marble Maze #2,” Enrique Gonzalez Sanchez, Santiago Rodriguez, Sofia Fregoso, and Charlize Lopez Rosales 

Grades 3-5 Engineering  

1st place: Riley Dual Language Montessori School, “Can I Make a Record Player out of Recycled Materials?” Lorelei Lenz 

2nd place: Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School, “Jumping Robot Toy,” Zachary Cooper 

3rd place: Burdick School, “Potential Wheels,” Kayden DeLourdes 

Grades 6-8 Engineering  

1st place: Cooper Elementary, “Clean Cycle,” Taylor Vang, CeCe Lewis, and Colton Medina 

2nd place: Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts, “Beauty and Brains,” Nga Fei Sun 

3rd place: Humboldt Park School, “New and Improved Sports Inhaler Case,” Chloe Rivera-Walz, Teagan Lee, and Gabriela Roche Students reused discarded items to make "trashion."

High School Engineering  

1st place: Reagan High School, “Breaking Bridges,” Cornel Penager Davidson 

2nd place: Audubon High School, “Restorative Justice App,” Genesis Perez, Emma Rosales, and Chit Moe Win Oo 

3rd place: MacDowell Montessori School, “Water Purification,” Madison Robinson 

Tomorrow’s SHEroes 

The winner of the Tomorrow’s SHEroes award is Hope Lunzala Nambusi, 7th grader at Hartford University School. The award recognizes and encourages female innovation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Hope, an enthusiastic science student, is on the school’s Science Olympiad Team and placed 3rd in her school’s STEM Fair. Science is her favorite subject in school, and Hope wants to go into science as a career. 

Zoological Society Passion Prize 

This year’s winners are two 4th graders from Elm Creative Arts School, Jaleeyah Bridges and Amiyah Virginia. Anonymous judges for this prize listened to students present their projects and selected Jaleeyah and Amiyah for their enthusiasm for their project. 

A project from Auer Avenue School studied the effect of drag on planes.Button Design Contest  

Miles Schleicher, a 7th grader at Burdick School, won 1st place in the 2024 STEM Fair button design contest for students in grades 6 to 12. 

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