Mandel JDS Participates in Science Fair

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Ten Mandel Jewish Day School Students Set to Participate in Regional Science Fair

BEACHWOOD, OHIO – (December 18, 2015) – Ten Middle School students from Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School (Mandel JDS), formerly The Agnon School, will participate in the Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair (NEOSEF) held at Cleveland State University, March 7 – 10, 2016. During this 63rd annual event, the students will set up their science fair displays and present their research to a team of professional scientists and engineers who act as volunteer judges.

“Science is never truly divorced from its practical applications. Similar to other areas of learning at Mandel, it’s not just learning one particular discipline – it’s appreciating how that knowledge will affect the world in which we live,” said Jerry Isaak-Shapiro, Mandel’s Head of School. “Learning the scientific method is the first, crucial step; but applying what they’ve learned to the real world and understanding that science and engineering can better that world – that’s the real goal of science education. These projects and the research underpinning them are demonstrations of exactly that.”

Approximately 600 students from more than 100 schools in area seven counties will participate in this year’s fair. They will compete in nine categories, subdivided by grade level, and vie for special awards as well as cash prizes. The goal of NEOSEF, a non-profit organization, is to interest young adults in science and engineering by encouraging them to participate in a competition.

To become one of the ten eligible NEOSEF participants, 7th and 8th grade Mandel JDS students first competed in their own Middle School Science Fair. Winners and their topics are as follows:


  • 1st Place / Rachel Buchinsky: How does a reward affect motivation?
  • 1st Place / Casey Posner: How do different types of videos affect heart rate?
  • 2nd Place / Elana Spiegel: How does the amount of baking soda affect how much a cake rises?
  • 3rd Place / Emily Dinner: Do organic or non-organic apples spoil faster?


  • 1st Place / Rylan Polster: How does color contrast affect visibility reaction time?
  • 2nd Place / Yossi Berkowitz: How does music affect cognitive function?
  • 3rd Place / Tamar Poreh: How does gender affect interest in STEM careers?
  • 3rd Place / Andy Solganik: How does the price of different types of solar cells affect efficiency?
  • Honorable Mention / Daniel Meller: How does temperature affect seed germination rate?
  • Honorable Mention / Bailey Pasternak: Does caffeine affect the acidity of coffee?

The following 6th graders were also Mandel JDS Science Fair winners, but are not eligible to compete in the regional science fair, which is only open to 7th – 12th graders.


  • 1st Place / Shira Rosenberg: Does the acidity of a liquid affect the rusting of iron?
  • 2nd Place / Ryan Goldfeder: How does the inductance of the coil in a crystal radio affect the resonant frequency?
  • 2nd Place / Sam Friedman: How do different temperatures affect the height of a basketball's bounce?
  • 2nd Place / Ellie Mayers: How water resistant is mascara?
  • 3rd Place / Ilan Haas: Do some liquids evaporate faster than others?
  • Honorable Mention / Isaac Altman: What method of cooling decreases soda temperature the fastest?

For more information on NEOSEF, go to www.neosef.org.

Founded in 1969, Mandel JDS is Cleveland’s first Jewish day school accredited for educational excellence by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS). The school also exceeds Ohio education standards for all core curricular subjects. Originally known as The Agnon School, the name changed in August 2015 to Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in appreciation of a $17,050,000 grant. While the name is new, blending superior general academics and Jewish studies remains central to the school’s mission. Mandel JDS is open to the entire Jewish community and enrolls more than 350 students (18 months – 8th grade) from diverse Jewish backgrounds.

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