By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – If you have ever wondered if the touted “home court advantage” makes a difference in the outcome of a basketball game, then Tim Moore, a senior at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High, is the person you should see. Moore was one of the biotechnology students at the school who participated in a science fair for sophomores, juniors and seniors, in anticipation of sending the winners on to compete at the Worcester Science Fair held at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) in March. Instructors Kim Stencel and Maria Bennes arranged for impartial judges to follow a clear and concise rubric to ensure that each student and project were judged fairly and consistently. Aside from Assabet Valley staff members, other judges came from Boston Scientific, Quest Diagnostics, Bristol Myers, Saint-Gobain, Worcester State University, UMass Lowell, and Quinsigamond Community College.
Projects were categorized into either Science Projects (with a clear hypothesis), or Engineering Projects (with a clear problem or goal). In each case, students had to indicate they had done thorough research, had performed ample testing, understood their limitations and proposed possible future considerations. Originality and creative problem-solving also came into play, as well as the clarity of the oral presentation. The effective use of their visual display, in most cases a poster board, their research paper (including citations), and well-documented, signed and dated entries in a lab notebook or journal all added to their scores.
“Perhaps the greatest thing that students learn from this project is how to become a critical thinker. In any research or even in college, students are sure to have roadblocks, or something unexpected at some point. Through this project science fair, students learn to analyze their situation and figure out how to best find a solution,” explained Bennes.
“The Biotechnology program has been at Assabet for 11 years, and we are happy to report that we have many graduates working in the Biotech industry and enrolled in college programs that focus on science and biotechnology. Some of our graduates have gone on to study science related fields at Tufts University, UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, WPI, Arizona State University and the University of Texas (as well as others). We have graduates that work in academic research and in industry, including Quest Diagnostics, IDEXX, Bristol Myers, and we are lucky to have some of them come back to sit on our Advisory Board,” she added.
To answer the original question about ‘home court advantage,’ Moore was able to conclude that after extensive statistics, math formulas, and research, the significance of a correlation between where a team played, and their win-loss record was very low on average. There were just a few NBA teams that did seem to perform better in front of a sell-out home crowd, but not enough to sway the results of his study. Who knew?
The following students and projects are now slated to appear at the Worcester Science Fair:
Lauren Freitas-Soares, Pur-i-Fan; Rachelle Harpin, The Carbon Conundrum: An Experimental Analysis Pertaining to the Efficiency of Algae’s Ability to Extract Excess Carbon Dioxide (CO2) From the Atmosphere; Timothy Moore; Home Court Advantage?: An Observational Study Regarding the Home Attendance of the Professional Basketball Teams and Their Correlation to Win Percentages; Becca Turgeon; Fruit Fly pH Preference: Will Gender Change it?; Rose Heller; Homemade Fly Spray: Finding a Safer Alternative to Commercial Fly Spray; Arianna Guinto; Captivating Cacti; Optimizing Future Life for Cacti; and Mariana Gomes; Sugar Rush: The Connection Between Sugar Consumption and Fertility Rates. Also moving to the next level are Jack Raith; Keeping Up with Your Skin: Testing Different Acne Prevention Methods; Nolan Gerrans; Analyzing the Wear Rates of Multiple Pencil Brands; Meadow Hatch; Will Corn Cobs Save Planet Earth? The Removal of Bisphenol A from Water Through the Use of Dried Corn Cobs; Kaylee Biskaduros and Connor Hurley; Can You Hear Me Now? Creating a Bluetooth CD for Non-Bluetooth Car Audio Systems; and Tahnyia Black; Regenerative Effects of Homeopathic Therapy with Planaria.