University of Southern California

2007 QuikSCience Challenge
Winning Teams

High School–WEST Coast

First Place: Francis Parker School
Second Place: Mira Coasta High School
Best Lesson Plan: Int'l. Polytechnic High School
Best Community Service: Santa Monica High School
Honorable Mention: CALS Early College High School

Middle School–WEST Coast

First Place: Horace Mann Middle School
Second Place: Van Avery Prep School
Best Lesson Plan: N-GENioUS Academy
Best Community Service: Curtis Middle School
Honorable Mention: John Adams Middle School
Honorable Mention: Mann Middle School of Expedition
Honorable Mention: CAVA- California Virtual Academy

High School–EAST Coast

First Place:
Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES)
Second Place: Convent of the Sacred Heart

Middle School–EAST Coast

First Place: Veterans Memorial Middle School
Second Place: All Saints Catholic School



QuikSCience Challenge 2007
High School–West Coast
Winning Team Project Summaries

First Place:
Francis Parker School, San Diego

Team Members: Ms. Kathleen Dykes, Tara Alpert, Josh Osias, Nailah Spruill, Cassidy Waggonner, Allison Newton, Erin Keitel

Lesson Plan Summary: The purpose of our lesson plan was to increase the students' knowledge of global warming and its local and global effects on earth. High school students learned that global warming is a global phenomenon that has a significant impact on not only the world, but our community. Students learned what they could do to help, such as carpooling and using alternative forms of energy. We demonstrated the latter by building solar cookers out of pizza boxes and using them to make s'mores!

Community Service Summary: We created ten different lesson plans (separate from the requirement from this project) to educate a total of six elementary and middle school classed about marine and environmental science. We then united all of the participating students and families and friends to an environmental science fair we organized on our campus. Our focus was education, awareness and united students of diverse backgrounds.

Research Proposal Summary: The objective of our research project was to test the survivability of kelp that is exposed to various water temperatures. The information that would be collected could confirm whether or not global warming could directly harm kelp and whether or not other marine animals are indirectly affected as a result of loss of kelp habitat and food.

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Second Place:
Mira Coasta High School, Manhattan Beach

Team Members: Ms. Lynda Pham, Robbie McCracken, Scott Friedlander, Chase Gregory, Kimi Karatsu, Shirley Zheng, Ryan Richards

Lesson Plan Summary: The lesson consisted of a presentation on phytoplankton, zooplankton and bioaccumulation, highlighting the causes and effects of the red tide. We taught two marine biology classes, consisting of juniors and seniors from our school. We also created a teacher prep pack, which provided an introduction and follow up to the presentation.

Community Service Summary: We reached out to the young by writing the tale of a lonely dinoflagellate who stops his evil brother's gang spreading red tide. We held a craft day/ story time at the Roundhouse Aquarium and presented a lesson at a local elementary school and donated a copy of the book to each elementary school in the community.

Research Proposal Summary: The proposal explicated the importance of understanding the causes of red tide, and the dangers of this increasing phenomenon. The test introduces an experiment that simulates conditions thought to cause red tide.

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Best Lesson Plan:
International Polytechnic High School, Pomona

Team Members: Ms. Denise Torres-Cancino, Annalise Petriello, Josh Robles,
Jonathan Rodriguez, Mike Cusey, Azucena Amaya, Christina Cortez

Lesson Plan Summary: Groups of four to six will use the mediums of television, radio, and billboard advertisements to effectively teach their fellow classmates about their assigned ocean conservation topic.

Community Service Project: After we taught the lesson plan to the freshmen, we encouraged them to write letters to people of importance. Students wrote (in English and Spanish) to the President of Mexico, asking him to shut down the Escalera Nautica project and to the Superintendent of Education, persuading him to mandate more ecology in schools. The results were positive. Some students even informed their parents of the problems and convinced them to write letters as well.

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Best Community Service:
Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica

Team Members: Mr. Benjamin Kay, Marie Huber, Adan Rosas, Jackie Jimenez, Dulce Bedolla, Andrea Ramos, Dakota Greco

Lesson Plan Summary: The lesson plan was split into five parts: the quiz board to see what the students know about recycling, the skit where we acted out the proper use of the blue, black, and green bins, the PPT presentation on the importance of recycling and basic information on recycling, the question and answer session where we interacted and bonded with the students, and the distribution and review of take-home activity booklet and pamphlets, which included games and tips on waste management.

Community Service Summary: We did several activities for our community service project including a school recycling survey, and organized beach clean-up- with classifying, counting, and weighing of trash- four presentations of our recycling lesson plan, and a school assembly with guest speaker, Neil Guglielmo.

Research Proposal Summary: We hypothesize that placing trash and recycle bins on the beach will reduce the amount of recyclable materials that get washed into the ocean. In addition, we hypothesize that adding more fine-mesh metal screens to all storm drains within the Santa Monica area will also decrease the amount of debris that flows into the ocean. The hypotheses are tested by monitoring different sites.

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Honorable Mention:
CALS Early College High School -- Laura Murray

Team Members: Mr. Andy Stephens, Jaclyn Lopez, Ammy Reyes, Yancy Gonzalez, Geovanni Adan, Ashley Ann Yerena, Gus Cortez

Lesson Plan Summary: The lesson was intended to teach about the harmful effects of acidity to our sea life. They were also instructed on how to measure and test for acidity and pH.

Community Service Summary: We worked with Heal the Bay to clean-up Playa del Rey on weekends. We also worked with Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR). At our high school we set up a recycling system.

Research Summary: We tested local bodies of water for various parameters of water quality. We determined that the water quality varied. We found that water quality varied greatly based on the source. Water near highly populated areas generally tested higher for negative indicators while water away from urban centers tested lower for negative indicators. A startling finding was the low pH of local ocean water when compared to the world average of 8.15. This indicated to us that local industry, pollution from traffic, and other air pollution has led to heightened levels of dissolved CO2, thus "acidifying" our local ocean waters.

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QuikSCience Challenge 2007
Middle School–West Coast
Winning Team Project Summaries

First Place:
Horace Mann Middle School, San Diego

Team Members: Ms. Zamaria Rocio, Vi Tran, Fadumo Hussein, Adna Hassan, Kimberly Huynh, Linda Ho, Barbie Barbosa , Linh Ngo

Lesson Plan Summary: The team developed an original lesson plan geared towards primary grades. They focused on a problem plaguing their neighborhood - pet waste. The lesson demonstrated where this when it rained. Students made a cat or dog puppet. Lesson concluded with a review of what was learned, how to solve this problem, and a request for students to retell the story to their families.

Community Service Summary: We looked at our whole watershed area which is the San Diego watershed starting at our neighborhood school and ending up at the ocean (20 km away). Therefore, we had several community service activities that helped our students see the connection between themselves and the ocean.

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Second Place:
Van Avery, Temecula

Team Members: Ms. Cheryl Frye, Madison Fitzsimmons, Rhett Jaramillo, Carsen Kelliher, Andrea Slane, Ryan Talamantes, Nishant Sehgal

Lesson Plan Summary: Our lesson was taught to 75 fourth graders. We used a poster to illustrate the different adaptations needed for the animals to survive. We discussed ways they could conserve the marine environment through their actions. Students interacted with the visual by placing animals and their specific adaptations in their correct ocean zone.

Community Service Summary: Our community service consisted of educating the public about tide pool conservation, marine animal adaptations and ocean zones through hands-on activities near the Dana Point tide pools. During the seven hours we were at the tide pools we interacted with 160 people for ten to fifteen minutes per person.

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Best Lesson Plan:
N-GENioUS Academy, San Juan Capistrano

Team Members: Mr. David Ware, Mitch Keller, Keaton Siomkin, Dylan Ivar Christian Bussiere, Tyler Pipkin

Lesson Plan Summary: Our lesson plan focused on the effects of water pollution. We worked with kindergarten age students in various centers to help them understand the problem and familiarize them with water pollution terms. We worked in centers that focused on ways to stop water pollution, causes of water pollution, and types of water pollution.

Community Service Summary: For our community service project, we created informational water pollution flyers and a website ( For the poster campaign, we passed out flyers to our local neighborhoods to help our neighbors become aware of water pollution in their area. The flyer directed people to our website for more info. The website we created included information about water pollution and our efforts, including facts about water pollution and ways people can help.

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Best Community Service
Curtis Middle School, Los Angeles

Team Members: Ms. Gianna Vargas, James Ivy, Bruce Aguirre, Bibi Monaco, Gerald Estrada, Alex Martinovic, Leila Ehsan

Lesson Plan Summary: To teach students at our school about the Ocean, we deciede to host a Ocean Awareness fair. We had the Curtis Lower School play the games we had designed for them. As they played the games, we taught the kids a lesson about how to care for our Oceans better.

Community Service Summary: For our Ocean Awareness Fair, we sponsored the Long Beach Aquarium on Wheels to visit our Lower School students. The fair included games, face painting, and prizes. In these games we taught them good habits about protecting the environment that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

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Honorable Mention (3 Teams Recognized)

Honorable Mention
John Adams Middle School, Santa Monica

Team Members: Ms. Brigitte Steinmetz, Jack Cramer, Haley Hill, Steven Gordon, Nicholas Salazar, Tessa Walther, Eric Staugaard

Lesson Plan Summary: For our lesson plan, we adapted the "Ice Breaker" lesson found on the COSSEE-West website for the 4th grade level. In addition, we modified the lesson to include a control and a cariable to compare the rate of melting ice during a normal global temperatures and increased global temperatures. The lesson was taught at Will Rogers Elementary School in Santa Monica, CA with great success. Students showed and interest in the topic as well as learned about the seriousness of global warming, how it effects the environment, and how it affects us as human beings. In addition, after reflecting on how the lesson went we put together a Jeopardy PowerPoint Game including topics relating to global warming as a tool to assess students in the future.

Community Service Summary: For our community service project, we showed Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" documentary to our entire school (over 1,200 students). Prior to showing the video, they were asked to take a six question pre-survey showing the knowledge they already had on the topic of global warming. During the video, students completed a video questionnaire worksheet, which teachers went over at the conclusion of the documentary. Afterwards, they were asked to take a post-survey to see what they had learned from watching the video. By showing the documentary, we hoped to educate a very large community of our peers about the dangers of global warming as well as things they can do in their everyday life to reduce the impact humans have on global warming.


Honorable Mention
Mann Middle School of Expedition, San Diego

Team Members: Ms. Courtney Browne, Jessica Huynh, Mai Nguyen (Mai Anh Le), Anthony Fumagalli, Maria Jimnez, Hawo Abdi, Phuong Tran, Elizabeth Sin

Lesson Plan Summary: The lesson teaches students what an estuary is and how an estuary is important. The lesson teaches students the threat of non-native (invasive) plants are imposing on estuaries and how humans are vital in the restoration of estuaries.

Community Service Summary: We continue a project started last year. We spent two days volunteering at the Tujuana Estuary. We removed non-native invasive plants species, and planted native plants. This helps restore the wetlands & the health of the estuaries affects the hearth of the ocean.


Honorable Mention
CAVA - California Virtual Academy, Buena (online home school)

Team Members: Ms. Hyuna Oh, Soraya Ayazi, Ian Goegebuer, Shannon Cubley, Ernie Marcias, Brian Ferraro, Steven Moore

Lesson Plan Summary: Using an online lesson format to deliver the lecture, text, and activity components, this lesson focuses on meeting the goals of Bloom's taxonomy of learning at the K-6 level through thoughtful presentation of material related to man and his changing relationship with the ocean and the gray whale over the past 200 years, due to extinction and technology. Special focus on the gray whale and possible uses of ROV's to enhance observation of migration annually.

Community Service Summary: We taught visitors at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium about scrimshaw, an early American art form developed during the high point of the whaling industry. We spoke about how thing man does to survive can seem harmless enough without education and a dedication to preserving the world around us.


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QuikSCience Challenge 2007
High School–East Coast
Winning Team Project Summaries

First Place:
Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES); Manahawkin, NJ

Team Members: Mr. David Werner, Sherry Martin, Laura Barry, Stephen Bogan, Alan White, Adam Spina, Maya Jenkins, Elaina Solly

Lesson Plan Summary: The lesson plan includes a learning activity that also was taught to the 6th graders at Stafford Intermediate School in Stafford Twp, NJ. The lesson plan's main topic is human impacts on Barnegat Bay.

Community Service Summary: The community service involves teaching a lesson about the human impacts on Barnegat Bay and was taught to 6th graders at Stafford Intermediate School. A web site was created to display project outcomes and to improve community awareness and education.

Research Proposal Summary: The proposal looks at the rate at which riparian zone plants intake nutrients from run off. The data from the project would help develop ways to control the increasing sea nettle population in the bay.

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Second Place:
Convent of the Sacred Heart; Greenwich, CT

Team Members: Ms. Mary Musolino, Alejandra Ferrara, Emily Oehlsen, Olivia Grubert, Rachel Bornstein, Minori Takakashi, Amanda Weber

Lesson Plan Summary: Students will learn about ocean water and how pollutants affect water quality; Students will test water from a local stream and analyze the results; Students will be introduced to the concept of global warming and learn how it affects ocean life; Students will examine ways they can make a difference.

Community Service Summary: For the community service aspect of the Challenge, our group spread our mission to the entire upper school community by making announcements at morning meeting each day. We announced facts and solutions regarding ocean problems. We also raised awareness regarding recycling, and led students in an increased recycling effort.

Research Proposal Summary: We propose an in-depth water quality research project where the overall water quality index of several bodies of water will be determined. The bodies of water involved would be the Connecticut River, the stream at Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT, and the Byram River in Port Chester, NY.

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QuikSCience Challenge 2007
Middle School–East Coast
Winning Team Project Summaries

First Place:
Veterans Memorial Middle School; Brick, NJ

Team Members: Ms. Suzanne Stojka, Cheryl Harvey, Peter Chace, Sarah McGowan, Matthew Schroeder, Bryanne McMillen, Mark Hannam, Amanda Alvarado-Anderson

Lesson Plan Summary: Three lessons in a 6th Grade class. 1) Interdependence of organisms in a food web and how contamination spreads through a web. 2) Difference between point/non-point source pollution, and how everyday activities affect water quality. 3) What mercury is, how mercury contaminates oceans, and environmental/health concerns associated with mercury contamination.

Community Service Summary: Students prepared a brochure and presentation to educate local citizens about the county's hazardous waste collection program, particularly the mercury thermometer exchange program. Thirty brochures distributed to students during lessons, 60 brochures were distributed at 3 PTA meetings during January/February, with several more meetings scheduled during February and March.

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Second Place:
All Saints Catholic School; Norwalk, CT

Team Members: Mr. Stephen Kubricki, Lukas Brummer, Ricky Dumphey, Daniel Keppa, Korey Kubricki

Lesson Plan Summary: We have designed separate rip current learning modules for grades K to 2, 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8. Each module contains grade specific rip current activities that require science, math, and technology. Together they provide students with a thorough background about the nature and dangers of rip currents.

Community Service Summary: We conducted a scientific survey of 1200 beachgoers to Long Beach Island and a lifeguard survey about public awareness and the dangers of rip currents. Our study is the FIRST in the nation to measure the effectiveness of a national campaign, which provided signs and brochures to shore communities.

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