The Gan class at Golda Och Academy in West Orange is the Kindergarten Grand Prize winner of the 2016 DuPont Challenge Science Writing Competition, elementary division. There were over 9,000 entries in the K-12 contest.
The GOA group — the Gan Planting Club — presented in competition, “How to Help Plants Grow,” developed with their science and outdoor education teacher Rebecca Kurson. Through the project, classes examined what plants need to survive, and how to protect a plant and help it grow.
Each of the three kindergarten classes chose a seed to plant: green beans, pumpkin seeds, and watermelon seeds. The classes watered half of their plants with cold water and the other half with warm water to determine whether or not water temperature had an effect on growth rate. For six weeks, the students observed the plants and entered the data in a journal. Their conclusion: warm water helped the plants grow faster.
The Gan students, said Kurson, “worked very hard to make accurate observations, and they did an incredible job both writing and illustrating what happens to a seed. They also made hypotheses, which is a very exciting skill for young learners. I am incredibly proud of their book that took the top prize.”
In addition to the DuPont Challenge trophy, the winning students will receive a Science is Fun Day for the entire school, a 5-eBook collection from Britannica’s “My Science Library,” backpacks filled with science goodies, and a one-year subscription to both Britannica Kids and Britannica’s on-line encyclopedias.
GOA lower school principal Carrie Z. Siegel said, “We could not be more proud of Ms. Kurson and all of our Gan students for this incredible achievement.”
“For some of our youngest students to capture this prestigious prize is an incredible point of pride for our school,” said GOA head of school Adam Shapiro. “Our Gan students were completely engaged in this project, and we are beyond confident that these successes will only lead to more wonderful accomplishments.”