The KES gym was full of energy and excitement.

“The scientists are coming!” rang through the crowded aisles of the Katonah Elementary School (KES) Science Fair. When student scientists saw people in white lab coats coming their way, they knew important conversations were about to happen. They made eye contact, invited them to stop and learn, and explained their project with exuberance and confidence.

The balance was just right. There were approximately 160 students participating and just over fifty visiting scientists. They included Dr. Michael L. Bernstein, an orthopedic surgeon and grandfather of a KES kindergartener, and Dr. Rhea Johnson, a psychiatrist and KES parent, as well as Ann Marie Lipinsky, instructional leader of the John Jay High School science department, and over a dozen of her science research students.

Students benefited from meeting the scientists; each one handing out a sticker after asking questions, as well as visits from friends and family. 

Projects included model volcanoes and oobleck experiments, and so much more. The complexity increased with each grade.

  • Kindergarteners Maddie and Sam Richards investigated what blood is made of and displayed their findings through play dough models of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  • First grader Eleanor Charles created music by rubbing her finger around the rims of goblets of water. She discovered that the more water she poured into a glass, the higher the note it played.
  • Second grader Scarlett Buchanan took a closer look at rainbows; learning that red was always the top color and violet the bottom—and that special eyeglasses could turn ordinary white light into the colors of the rainbow.
  • Third graders Ava Presser and Sabina Guariento explored the age-old question, “Are unicorns real?”—looking at literature, the existence of other animals with horns, and fossil remains to come to their conclusion: yes.
  • Fourth graders Aaron Koenig and Luke Fisch did experiments with food on the floor to dispute “the five second rule.” 
  • Fifth graders Gemma Grassi and Katie O’Donnell figured out what makes bath bombs fizz and the chemistry behind them.

2019 marks the third year of the KES Science Fair. It’s a parent-run activity, co-chaired by Susan Williams and Leah B. Jacobson, MD, MPH, and actively supported by KES faculty and administrators.