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Monmouth University Seeks Middle School Stars in Science Competition

Monmouth University today announced its fourth annual Stars Science Competition for middle school students, to be held on Saturday, January 11, 2014 from 9 a.m. to noon at Monmouth University in Wilson Hall.

Twenty-seven teams from eight local schools will compete for the $1,000 first prize, $800 second prize, and $600 third prize.  The prize money will go to the teachers who lead the winning teams and will be used to buy science equipment and supplies for the teachers’ classrooms.

Members of local communities and media and are invited to attend and to meet students and teachers throughout the event. Judging takes place January 11 between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., with the award presentations from 11 a.m. until noon.

Schools participating include the Township of Ocean Intermediate School, Howell Middle School South, Howell Memorial Middle School, Frank Antonides School (West Long Branch), Mother Teresa Regional School (Atlantic Highlands), Red Bank Charter School, Solomon Schechter Day School (Marlboro) and Knollwood School (Fair Haven).

Members of the High Technology High School Experimental Research Group will be assisting with the competition.  These future science leaders are wonderful role models for the participating middle school students.

Markham Place School in Little Silver won first prize in 2013. The team wanted to improve the safety of their school hallways.  They studied the patterns of students walking through the hallways and proposed several solutions that they evaluated.  They choose the most promising solution and built a prototype.  They recommended that their school install convex mirrors at the busiest corners.  The team won $1,000.

Holy Cross School in Rumson won second prize in 2013.  The team explored how Holy Cross School could reduce their daily water usage.  They monitored the amount of water consumed on a typical day and projected how the school could reduce water consumption if they updated their plumbing fixtures. They also concluded the school could pay for the improvements in two years through a reduction in their water bill.  The team won $800.

Dr. Margaret Ann Chappell, co-founder of The Stars Challenge, said: “Students love competitions and the opportunity to compete intellectually – to come up with a creative solution to a problem that exists in their school or community.  Students get to pick a problem and demonstrate their grasp of science and creativity as they develop a solution.”

The Stars Science Competition is sponsored by NJ-based Commvault, which provided the prize fund, Monmouth University, which provided the venue and support, and The Stars Challenge, a science enrichment program for top middle school students.

Dr. Chappell added: “The Competition is about encouraging scientific creativity, and getting kids excited about science. It’s also about developing links between local science and technology companies and the classroom, and showing students how local firms are taking their innovations around the world.”

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About The Stars Challenge

Monmouth University hosts The Stars Challenge, a science enrichment program for 6th to 9th graders. The program was developed by Dr. Margaret Ann Chappell and Dr. Stephen G. Chappell to nurture the students’ passion and curiosity about science by offering unique classes designed and taught by exemplary teachers. Classes focus on real-world problems allowing students to work in small groups to create innovative solutions.  Over the past five years, The Stars Challenge has taught 67 courses with over 1,000 students.   (