Seventh grader Anika Bhagavatula’s Banana Peels: Second Life as Water Purifiers project took home best of fair at this year’s Middlebrook Science and Engineering Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

More than 100 Middlebrook students in grades six through eight participated in this year’s competition, making it the largest in the school’s history.

The Middlebrook PTA and Wilton Education Foundation sponsored the fair, which showcased science and engineering projects submitted by individual students and teams of two.

For science projects, students had to identify a question, establish a hypothesis, conduct testing, and record and evaluate their results. For engineering projects, students had to define a need or something that could be improved upon, come up with ideas to achieve it, prepare designs, and build a prototype and test it under different conditions.

All students had to present their findings to judges at the fair, who then named the best-of-fair winner and winners in the life science, physical science and engineering categories.

Life Science: Grade 6


  • First place: Bella Andjelkovic and Sydney Reuter — Can Distractions Relieve Pain?

  • Second place: Nathan Meyers — Is Your Toilet Paper Eco-Friendly?

  • Third place: Melanie Rutherford — Grow Light vs. Fluorescent Light.

  • Honorable mention: Samhita Kakarlapudi — Do People See Colors Differently?

  • Honorable mention: Fiona O’Halloran — A is for Yellow.


Life Science: Grades 7-8



  • First place: Megha Gupta — Plants to Cool the Planet.

  • Second place: Trisha Mhatre — The Effect of Fruit Packaging.

  • Third place: Emma Babashak — A Bag’s Life: Use and Decomposition.


Physical Science: Grade 6



  • First place: Christopher McCann — Knot or Not.

  • Second place: Emily Johnson and Krithika Natarajan — Stronger Stirrer Showdown. Cause Global Warming?

  • Third place: Jessica Wu and Maya Mhatre — Does CO2 Cause Global Warming?

  • Honorable mention: Rhea Raghavan — Electrolytic Fruits.

  • Honorable mention: Avery Newcomer and Abby Kyle: The Magic of Distillation.

  • Honorable mention: Ben Connolly — How Different Substances Absorb Energy.


Physical Science: Grades 7-8



  • First place: Vignesh Subramanian — Building Fire-Resistant Homes.

  • Second place: Ashley Klancko — Watch Me Rise.

  • Third place: Neel Iyer — Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions.

  • Honorable mention: Manvitha Mullapudi — Changing the Winds.

  • Honorable mention: Aarushi Dham and Aby Yoon — Hydro-Wind.


Engineering: Grade 6



  • First place: Dominic Roberts — Bringing Bridges Up.

  • Second place: Faizaan Ali and Garrett Moe — What is the Strongest Bridge?

  • Third place: David Cox — What Bridge Designs are Strongest?

  • Honorable mention: Seiji Sahvey — Waste Energy to Usable Energy.


Engineering: Grade 7-8



  • First place: Nina Ferrucci — Building the Better Battery.

  • Second place: Navod Jayawardhane — Will an Elephant Cross This?

  • Third place: Rahul Vallabhajosula — Charging a cell phone with solar power.

  • Honorable mention: Anusha Chegu — Earthquake Preparedness.

  • Honorable mention: Nate Newcomer — The Power of Hydraulics.


The four winners of the seventh and eighth grade will have the opportunity to enter the Connecticut State Science and Engineering Fair in March, and all students who participated in received 2016 Middlebrook Science and Engineering Fair T-shirts.

Click here to view more photos from this year's Middlebrook Science and Engineering Fair.