Competing in a virtual science fair

By Jim Hsia

One week before the prestigious Synopsys Championship Science Fair at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, aspiring scientists and engineers were informed that the fair would be changed to online. For the middle school competitors from Milpitas Christian School (MCS), this was the time to practice their creative problem-solving skills.

After the county of Santa Clara banned large gatherings, the Synopsys Championship organizers decided it was time to have their first virtual Science Fair. Suddenly all the text, graphics, photos, and videos that would have been shown on a display board or notebook would need to be scanned and uploaded. A panel of judges would now be evaluating the materials and presentations of each student through a video conference.

MCS Participants in the Synopsys Championship

Six eighth graders from Mr. Eric Cho’s science class were accepted into the Synopsys Championship.

  • Bowie C., The Growth of Moss Under Different Growing Conditions
  • Terry H. and William T., Up, Up, and Away: A Quantitative Analysis On The Most Efficient Airfoil Type
  • Justin H., Using A Grating Spectrometer to Study the Effectiveness of Blue Light Blocking Glasses
  • Josephine K., Which Food Wrap Will Delay Food Decay the Longest?
  • Himani M., Bioplastic from Root Vegetables and Its Effect on Tensile Strength, Water Permeability, and Biodegradability

The annual Synopsys Championship showcases middle and high students in the Santa Clara County who will become our future scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians. MCS students competed against public and prestigious private middle schools from Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose, Campbell, and Milpitas.

MCS Winners

Terry H. and William T. jointly received the 2nd Award in the Physical Science and Engineering Category, while Himani M. received a total of six awards in the Physical Science and Engineering category.

  • 1st Award, Physical Science and Engineering Category
  • Nominated to compete in the Broadcom MASTERS, 8th Grade. This national science fair is scheduled for October 2020 in Washington, D.C.
  • Qualified for California Science & Engineering Fair (CSEF). Originally scheduled for April 2020 in Los Angeles, but has been cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis.
  • 2nd Place award and certificate from American Society of Civil Engineers- San Jose Branch
  • 2nd Place award and certificate from ASM International, A Society for Materials, Santa Clara Valley Chapter
  • Middle School award and recognition from Northern California Institute of Food Technologists (NCIFT)

“My project is about making bioplastics from root vegetables,” explained Himani M. “I created bioplastics from three different root vegetables and compared the efficiency of them to determine if they are reasonable alternatives to conventional plastic. Looking at the results of my research, I learned that bioplastics are a good alternative to conventional plastic and are environment friendly. My years at MCS have helped me grow a love for science. My teachers have really supported me and helped me pursue my interests and goals which has helped me to be confident in the projects that I do today.” After high school, Himani plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering.

“I’m very pleased to see our middle school students develop a passion for science and engineering,” commented Eric Cho, Science teacher for MCS. “It’s very gratifying to see that the research and investigation by our students have been recognized by Santa Clara Valley Science & Engineering Fair Association (SCVSEFA) and the Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship this year. Only the top 5% of all participants were invited to the national science fair (Broadcom MASTERS); the top 10% qualified for the California State Science Fair (CSEF).”

For more information about Milpitas Christian School or to arrange a campus tour (in-person or virtual), visit or call (408) 945-6530 x11209.