Creating a way to bring order to crowded school hallways gave Little Silver middle school students the edge to beat out 26 other teams and win the annual Stars Science Competition last weekend.
The annual event, held at Monmouth University on Jan. 12, challenged students to identify a problem at their school and to then come up with solutions using science, creativity and teamwork.
"Students love competitions and the opportunity to compete intellectually - to come up with a creative solution to a problem that exists in their school or community. Students get to pick a problem and demonstrate their grasp of science and creativity as they develop a solution," said Dr. Margaret Ann Chappell, co-founder of The Stars Challenge.
The Markham Place students, led by teacher Elizabeth Flynn, explored different ways to prevent collisions among students when changing classes, such as using arrows on the floors and mirrors. The team of seven students won $1,000 for the school, to be used to purchase science equipment and supplies for Flynn's classroom.
Students from Markham Place who participated include Tommy Greenwald, Laura Nagle, Willow Martin, Tierney Baldwin, Theo Cheevers, Kristen Soucheck, Henry Ehlers, Nick Karris and Louis Franco.
Schools participating included Forrestdale School (Rumson), Holy Cross School (Rumson), Howell Middle School South, Markham Place School (Little Silver), Marlboro Middle School, Mother Teresa Regional School (Atlantic Highlands), Red Bank Charter School, W. R. Satz Middle School (Holmdel), Solomon Schechter Day School (Marlboro), and the Township of Ocean Intermediate School.
A team from Holy Cross School in Rumson came in second place and won $800 for its exploration of the school's water usage and ways to decrease costs. Students participating from Holy Cross School include Brendan Durney, Holly Koerwer, Erin Mattone, Jillian McHugh, Olivia Farrington, Michelle O’Malley, Pierre Thormann, and Sebastian Buckley.
Mother Theresa School students took third place and $600 for their experiments to quiet noisy classrooms. Students participating from Mother Teresa included Shane Dolan, Jason Korloff, Jakob Trinidad, Michael Rosa, Kevin Finucan, and Steven Allegretta.
Honorable mention went to a Howell Middle School South team that spearheaded and implemented an effort to cut down on waste in the schoo's cafeteria by donating fruit headed for the trash to the SPCA instead.
The Stars Science Competition is sponsored by Ericsson, Inc, which provided the prize fund, Monmouth University, which provided the venue and support, and The Stars Challenge, a science enrichment program for top middle school students.
"The Competition is about encouraging scientific creativity, and getting kids excited about science. It's also about developing links between local science and technology companies and the classroom, and showing students how local firms are taking their innovations around the world," said Chappell.