Will plants grow if they are “watered” with coffee? Is the five-second rule true? Do snacks affect a
student’s memory? These were just a few of the questions answered at Harlem Academy’s very first
This week, our eighth-grade class presented their projects to proud parents and teachers. Harlem
Academy’s science program focuses on teaching children to think creatively and understand the
scientific method; our students’ projects showcased both. “We are putting an emphasis on independent science research,” says Meredith Philbin, middle school science teacher. “The fair is a celebration of that learning, as well as an opportunity to practice presentation skills.”
As guests walked from project to project, students described how they formed their hypotheses,
accounted for variables, and conducted their experiments. As they explained their results, they eagerly
fielded a variety of questions. Matthew, who tested how different drinks affect plant growth, smiled
when asked why coffee was second best after water. “My guess is that the other drinks all had sugar,
but I’d have to design another experiment to test that hypothesis!” Clearly, Matthew was ready to
respond to any question.
And in case you were wondering about the other questions, the five-second rule is more false than true and carrots appear to be a great snack for improving an eighth-grader’s memory.
Thank you to the Harry Winston Hope Foundation and Con Edison for sponsoring our middle school science program.