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Elementary Schoolers Win Gold and Silver at STEM Showcase

Thirteen Hudson Montessori School elementary schoolers joined nearly 250 students in Hudson County to present impressive science projects during this year’s Jersey City Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health STEM Showcase. Our students presented science projects alongside other young scientists from McNair Academic High School, Academy 1, and St. Dominic’s Academy—the only other schools in Jersey City to achieve medals.

Fifth grader Sean Kowalski earned Hudson Montessori’s first gold medal with his project, “Lessen the Micros,” which explored ways to reduce the amount of harmful microplastics entering the ocean and endangering marine life. He discovered the small fibers shed from clothes in washing machines are major producers of microplastic pollution. Kowalski washed clothes in cold, warm, and hot water and analyzed the amount of fibers shed at each temperature. He discovered that cold water caused clothes to shed the least, making it the most environmentally friendly option. Kowalski plans to 3D print a product prototype for collecting microplastics in the wash to reduce microfiber pollution.

Riddhi Kunta, another 5th grader, earned silver with a project aimed to create environmentally friendly and effective hand warmers. Kunta tested homemade hand warmers filled with rice, wheat powder, flaxseed, and beans to test which type of grain absorbed and retained

the best heat. After multiple trials, rice held the most heat while beans held the heat the longest. The rice and bean-filled hand warmer prototype was the most environmentally friendly, accessible, and effective option.

In the group project category, Zach Costa and Atharva Agaskar won gold for a motion sickness detection device. Costa and Agaskar coded a mini computer called a Microbit to detect bumps, beeping an alert to the passenger before they experience symptoms of motion sickness. They attached the Microbit to a toy car and sent it over tracks with varying amounts of bumps to test the Microbit’s sensing ability. As bumps are detected and the passenger is alerted, the Microbit texts tips and strategies to help reduce feelings of motion sickness.

Eleanor Tinio and Siddarth Bhirgava earned silver for their group project, “The Sound of Silence,” offering people with hearing impairments a new way to visualize music. Tinio and Bhirgava tested the density and viscosity of multiple liquids, measuring those that produced the most ripples and were the best for representing different types of music.

Seven other students submitted extraordinary projects.

  • Arnav Pasham, Gabrielle Smart, and Aadya Mehta submitted a group project using multiple fabrics and essential oils to create a new reusable face mask prototype.

  • Tyler Mitchell created an antibacterial moisturizer to help people who suffer from dry skin.

  • Kaitlyn Mitchell created a prototype for a new comfortable and hypoallergenic cleaning glove.

  • Anirudh Rajasekar created a podcast to spread awareness and find solutions to the negative mental health impacts social media can have on its users.

  • Arushi Sood made a portable “Raspberry Medi-Kit” to track a person’s vital signs complete with a temperature sensor, a pulse sensor, using a micro-computer raspberry pi and an LCD screen to display the results.

We are proud of each of the nine projects submitted to the Jersey City Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health STEM Showcase. Despite the unique challenges that this pandemic has presented, our students still collaborated, researched, wrote, and presented these incredible projects. We are excited to see how our students continue to explore their scientific progress.

The skills for these amazing projects are taught at each grade level through our curriculum infused with science, technology, engineering, art, and math. To learn more about our accredited STEAM program, our theme based learning approach, or how we foster a love of learning in children age 2 to sixth grade, sign up for an open house tour!

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