Adam Teske, an eighth grade student at Spring Branch Academic Institute (SBAI), wondered about the quality of the air in his brother’s bedroom when the door was closed. That observation inspired a science fair project.
“I wanted to find a way to purify his stuffy air and get rid of the CO2,” Teske said. “I thought that plants would be a good solution.”
His project involved testing different plants and colors of light to see which combination best purified the air.
Titled Plants’ CO2 Consumption Under Different LEDs, his project won first place in the Plant Sciences division of the Science & Engineering Fair of Houston virtual awards ceremony earlier this month. The online event also featured a keynote address by Dr. Stephen J. Spann, founding dean of the University of Houston College of Medicine.
The competition is one of the largest regional fairs in the state. This year, close to 700 students from 17 school districts electronically submitted their research for judging.
Several other SBAI students also excelled in and were recognized at the science and engineering fair. Their projects were guided by teacher Dr. Mohammad Haidar.
Eighth-grader Savera Karia entered her project in the Medicine and Health division, and won several recognitions. Her project, titled Can BDGs, a protein found in dates, inhibit cancer cell proliferation?, won second place in the division, as well as two special awards from the science fair’s community partners:
- 4th place in the Junior division from the Harris County Medical Society and Houston Academy of Medicine
- 4th place trophy from the Dilorio Foundation
Karia also received a special award at last year’s Science and Engineering fair.
“My journey through the science fair [experience] has been one of many challenges,” Karia said. “This was a great opportunity for me to grow as a scientist and a student.”
A two-person team of seventh grade SBAI Dragons, Aaron Xiong and Zoe Ju, received a 3rd place award for their project, which explored The Effectiveness of Face Masks.
"When my name popped up during awards, I was so thankful and felt proud of all the work I had put in,” Ju said. “I can't forget to thank my partner and teacher for helping me through this journey!”
Her science fair partner Xiong said, “I definitely would not have been able to do [the project] on my own. I was very honored to receive the award and was excited watching my classmates also win awards.”
Classmates Andrew Hopkins, David Osorio and Lucy Hamilton also received special awards during the event.
“I’m very proud of the Collective Greatness of our Dragons and their commitment to advancing science,” SBAI Director Patricia Kassir said. “Dr. Haidar’s leadership in planning and executing the science fair has given our students opportunities to develop their scientific curiosity. I’m especially grateful to the Science Department in Spring Branch ISD. The ongoing support and guidance from Director Donald Burken and Adrienne Pere [Secondary Science Lead] have been instrumental to the success of our students.”