Sitting in the cafeteria of Middle School South a group of eighth graders noticed several of their classmates taking the fruit that came with their lunch and throwing it right in the garbage.
Putting their heads together Lorenzo Bedore, Matthew Petersen, George Moran, Mike Palladino and Ryan Leary found a way to put the fruit to good use and learn a valuable science lesson at the same time. "We wanted to see if there was a way we could reduce the waste either compost it or give it to charity," Petersen said.
The students made boxes that they put near the garbage cans to collect the fruit that was then donated to the local SPCA. Collecting data from their school and calculating totals for the rest of the district they entered into a recent science fair where they took honorable mention.
Taking honorable mention Bedore said they got feedback from the judges that they will use at an upcoming event. "When we got honorable mention they said with our hypothesis it wasn't really comparing two things," he said. With the weather warming soon he said they will see what a difference adding composting to their efforts will do to their collections.
The boys were also proud of the fact that they had worked so well together and enjoyed teaming up on the project. "The people that actually won certain prizes, they had a lot bigger groups," Bedore said. "Some people worked in groups of 10 and one was even a whole class."
Their teacher Danielle Gianelos said she was glad to see her students so excited about science and their work. "I love my kids this year," she said. "These kids are so interested and so self motivated to do things that all I have to do is present the challenge to them and basically guide them and they go ahead and do the work on their own," she said.
The students now have until March 16 to prepare their work for the Jersey Shore Science Fair at Richard Stockton College.