Science fairs at PS 52 in Sheepshead Bay and PS 253 in Brighton Beach

Young scientists experiment with crystals, plants, and bacteria PS 52 and PS 253

Milking it: Third grader Hasan Rashid loves his project, “Magic Milk.”
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Elementary students at two schools in Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay wowed peers, parents, and teachers last week with mind-blowing displays of scientific skill.

In Sheepshead Bay, about 500 kids at PS 52 devised experiments and tested their hypotheses during a three-day science fair.

“They were very extensive — there was data, photos, graphs,” said Rachel Ganc, the school’s sole science teacher.

Ganc has been teaching at PS 52 for 17 years, and said this year’s fair was one of the best, because of the variety of projects and the ingenuity students displayed.

Pupils at the K–third school had a month to work on their projects — many of which they conceived of and built themselves, Ganc said.

The winner had a sweet project — she demonstrated how to grow rock-candy crystals. The runner-up proved robots can make art by crafting a self-propelled drawing machine. Some honorable mentions built green energy machines like a windmill and a hydro-electric generator. Ganc said the range of experiments mirrored the student body’s cultural variety.

“We had such variety in this fair — like our students,” Ganc said.

The students at PS 253 in Brighton Beach showed off their inner Einsteins with experiments on everything from pathogens to plants.

“The kids are actually doing research,” said science teacher Sharon Elfie. “It shows that the children are really grasping what science is about, and how to think outside of the box and go further.”

Elfie, who teaches grades pre-K–second, teamed up with the older-grades’ teacher Hayley Kus to guide the students through the steps of the scientific method. The children had to meet deadlines starting in mid-November, progressing gradually through each phase of discovery.

“If there’s anything they need, they come to us and we give them advice and guide them,” said Elfie.

The children’s projects were graded, and the top projects went on display in the gym, while the rest got showcased in the classroom on open-school night.

“The whole school — every grade — participat­es,” said school secretary Shelly Smith.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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