2019 Opportunity X Science Fair
The Opportunity X Science Fair is the first science fair specially designed for underrepresented middle schools. Our inaugural science fair took place at the Alum Rock Branch Library on May 25, 2019.
At the 2019 Fair, Opportunity X's school program students from KIPP Heartwood Academy, Morrill Middle School, River Glen Middle School and Ace Esperanza Middle School presented their projects to judges and visitors. Two invited keynote speakers, electrical engineer and educator Bob Zeidman and UCSF researcher Dr. Chakrapani Kalyanaraman spoke about different aspects of science and technology.
Category awards and special awards with cash prizes were given at the end of the fair.
Harker Aquila has written a detailed report here.
Over 100 people attended the 2019 Fair. Thank you so much to everyone who came!
Photos from the 2019 Fair
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Projects and Awards
Here is the list of projects and the awards they won.
Effect of Playing Video Games on Reaction Times by Aldo Carmona & Jonathan Miranda Lopez, 1st Place Award Winner
Lemon Battery by Lilly Amador and Anh Ho, Special Award Winner - Best Project Design
Alka Seltzer Rockets by Halley Romero, Special Award Winner - Best Poster Design
Aerodynamics of a car based on its shape by Dhejan Sevilla, Special Award Winner - Best Project Design
Growth of plants under different colored lights by Varun Madhan, 3rd Place Award Winner
Organic: The Healthier Option or Just a Scam by Diya Arunkumar, 2nd Place Award Winner
Sideway Plants vs Right Side Up Plants by Francisco Martin and Jorge Guhe, 3rd Place Award Winner
Water on Water by Ava Alexander and Ashukem Taku, Special Award Winner - Best Impact
pH Levels in the Ocean by Shayla Cibrian and Marbella Lopez, 2nd Place Award Winner
The Prism Project by Benjamin Lee, 3rd Place Award Winner
Energy Drink by Miguel Angel Guzman Flores, Garrett Cisneros, Special Award Winner - Best Impact
My Robot by Christal Camacho Infante, Special Award Winner - Best Presentation
Rockets by Alehandro Soledad Rodriguez Tavares, Joshua Tavares, Special Award Winner - Best Creativity
KIPP Heartwood Academy
Effect of Playing Video Games on Reaction Times
Aldo Carmona & Jonathan Miranda Lopez
Curious about how playing video games affects how our brains function, we surveyed our classmates’ video game playing habits and compared that to their reaction times.
After asking classmates how much time they spend every week playing video games within the puzzle, action, and shooter categories, we measured a function of their reaction time with the “ruler test,” where a ruler is dropped through a participant’s hand and the place where the participants catch will tell how quickly participants react. Graphing hours spent playing a certain category of game with “reaction time” based on the ruler test, we saw that while playing more games overall did quicken reactions, shooter games quickened them the most. We are excited to continue exploring other effects of playing video games on cognition.
Lilly Amador and Anh Ho
We wanted to learn about how living things, such as produce, contained energy and how that energy could be harnessed. To discover this, we placed the electrodes of zinc and copper strips inside a lemon that acted as an electrolyte and measured the voltage it produced for varying numbers of lemons. From this, we could prove that there was a way to harvest energy from organic matter!
Alka Seltzer Rockets
In this project, we used alka seltzer and water to make rockets. We tested the effect of different amounts of both materials to see if it would make the rocket more successful or less successful. We also crushed up the tablets to see if the increased surface area would make the chemical reaction faster. We found that more water and more alka seltzer makes the rocket more explosive, especially if the tablet is crushed.
Morrill Middle School
Aerodynamics Of A Car Based On Its Shape
I wanted to learn what is the most aerodynamic car body. Aerodynamic means of or having a shape which reduces the drag from air moving past it. Air Resistance/drag means the opposing force acting on a body (such as an airplane) moving through a fluid (such as air) parallel and opposite to the direction of motion.
I made a base with wheels to use for each models. I made 6 models.To test the models, I built a ramp: I elevated one side of my ramp 12 inches off the ground while the other stays touching the ground. The data I collected was the number of seconds it took for a car to get off the ramp and their averages.
I analyzed my data by finding the average of each model and comparing them to see which is the fastest car body. I concluded that the drag car model is indeed the fastest and most aerodynamic
Growth Of Plants Under Different Colored Lights
Germination is the process by which an organism grows from a seed or similar structure. I first opened the brick soil and put water on it and it turned to soil. After that I planted the plants. Then I set up the lights of green, blue, yellow, and normal. Then I took data for a lot of weeks but the plants dried out a lot so we only got data for three weeks then I made visual graphs to represent the data. Based on my data, the plant under the yellow light grew the best.
Organic: The Best Option or Just a Scam?
The label “organic” is an extremely widespread notion, making it a multi-billion dollar industry. I wanted to test organic and non-organic produce from the local stores Target, Walmart, Costco, Sprouts, and Farmer’s Market for acidity levels, harmful growth inhibitors (chemicals) such as Budnip, nitrates, etc. I hypothesized that I would find that the organic produce bought from the Farmer’s Market would be the best in terms of human consumption. I concluded Costco’s organic produce is the healthiest out of all of the groups that I tested, which does not support by hypothesis.
Project Report can be found here.
River Glen Middle School
Sideways Plants vs. Right Side Up Plants
Francisco Martín, Jorge Guhe
In this project, we want to see how growing a plant sideways affect its growth.
We want to test sideways plants because of our limited land resource which is becoming scarce, so instead of growing plants on the ground upwards, we can consider growing plants on the walls or in a space with an angle.
In our research project, we planted six types of plants – spinach, radish, basil, blue lake bean, forget-me-not flower, alysuum flower. We grow these plants both upright and sideways indoors.
After four weeks, we found that for five of the plants, sideway plants grow slower than upright plants, sideway plants also have a lower survival rate. However, for forget-me-not flower, it grows better sideways than upright.
Our conclusion is, in general, plants do not grow well sideways, but some plant may grow better sideways. Hence when selecting plants to grow on a wall, we need to be careful of the type of plants to use.
Water On Water
Ava Alexander, Ashukem Taku
Salt water’s density is determined by salinity and temperature. In this project we want to study the effect of water salinity and temperature on water circulation among water of different densities, which simulates thermohaline circulation of sea water.
During our experiments, we colored saltwater of different density with food coloring. Red bottle has one salt density, blue bottle has a different salt density. Then we flipped one bottle on top of another bottle and watched how saltwater mix.
We found that saltwater of different density mix initially, then float on each other. The larger difference of the density, the longer it takes to reach equilibrium.
The experiments demonstrate how Thermohaline Circulation works. That is, if higher density saltwater is on top, then it will sink down. If lower density saltwater is on top, then it will not sink down or it will take very long to sink down.
pH Levels in the Ocean
Shayla Cibrian, Marbella Lopez
We did this project because we are really fascinated about the beaches that we usually go to and were curious about its pH levels. We collected water from Santa Cruz, Panther beach, and Half Moon bay, and tested their pH levels. We found that Santa Cruz Beach had the highest pH level, and Half Moon Bay was the most acidic.
The Prism Project
A prism is a glass or other transparent object in prism form, especially one that is triangular with refracting surfaces that separates white light into the full spectrum of color.
In this experiment I recorded data points about different colors of light and the angles of three different types of prisms.
I shone a red, white, and UV flashlight on to three different sized prisms (small, medium, and large).
Based on the evidence, white light shown normally on a prism shows the full spectrum and any other wavelength of light does not
show the full spectrum.
Ace Esperanza Middle School
Miguel Angel Guzman Flores, Garrett Cisneros
Energy drinks provide short-term performance boosts to athletes. In this experiment, we compared the energy content of various energy drinks such as Gatorade, Monster, and instant coffee, and we designed our own new energy drink for athletes. This new drink is comprised of a specific ratio of three different compounds that are safe to the human body: citrulline, ashwagandha, and caffeine. Using a bomb calorimeter, we found that our new solution has an energy content that is nearly twice that of the other marketed drinks.
Christal Camacho Infante
I am very interested in space exploration because it has become an increasingly important field in the world of science. So in this project, I sought to engineer a space rover that can drive in all directions and pick up and carry blocks. This rover can also be controlled remotely from a tablet.
Alehandro Soledad Rodriguez Tavares, Joshua Tavares
In this project, we combined baking soda and vinegar to create rockets. We tested the distance the rocket flew while containing various amounts of both compounds and found that the more vinegar and baking soda the further the rocket flew. However, when keeping the amount of vinegar constant, the distance of the rocket did not continue increasing and instead remained the same after too much baking soda was added.