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Long IslandSuffolk

School science projects celebrated at Brookhaven National Lab

Zoe McAlpin, 12, of Mastic Beach puts the

Zoe McAlpin, 12, of Mastic Beach puts the final touches on her project during the 2014 BNL Elementary School Science Fair at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Inexpensive lipsticks last longer than more costly ones. Children respond better to color in food than adults. And pink is a cool color on cars.

Those were some of the conclusions from 500 science projects entered in the 30th anniversary of the Elementary School Science Fair at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton Saturday.

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade, from 120 schools across Suffolk County, participated.

"These are the best in their grades; for many of them, this is the first taste of doing authentic science and discovery-based learning," said Scott Bronson, manager of kindergarten through 12th grade programs for BNL. "This is also a chance for us to share our passion for discovery with these great students."

Zoe McAlpin, 12, a sixth-grader in the William Floyd School District, was inspired by family camping trips to study which is the best angle for a solar cell to efficiently capture energy.

"I'm really pleased with the result," said McAlpin, who found two angles that would work. "We'll be able to use it the next time we go camping."

Neil Glicksman, 11, a fifth-grader in the Sachem Central School District, wanted to see how hard it would be to grow a citrus tree on Long Island from a cutting in a greenhouse. He grew a variety known as a round lemon. "It seemed like a good project to try to get people interested in growing citrus trees here on Long Island," he said.

Olivia Thomas, 6, loves Hot Wheels cars and wanted to know which of the colors heated up fastest in sunlight. "I took a lamp and heated the cars up for five minutes and the darker cars got hottest," said the kindergartner from the Longwood Central School District. "The pink car stayed the coolest."

Grace Torgersen, 10, whose project was "Eat your veggies," sought to find if kids prefer vegetables with more sugar, acidity or starch and if cooking vegetables affects the amount of sugar in them. "I found out that kids don't always like vegetables with more sugar," said the fifth-grader in the Comsewogue School District. "I did find out kids like starchy vegetables like French fries."

All participants received a certificate and a ribbon. The winners, selected from each grade, received a banner for their school and a medal.

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