The annual science fair at the Leo Bernstein Jewish Academy of Fine Arts (LBJA) in Silver Spring, Maryland, was once again out of this world thanks to the students and science teacher Mrs. Frizzle — I mean Mrs. Turpie. Before you get scandalized over me confusing the protagonist of the “Magic School Bus” books and videos with the LBJA science teacher, let me explain why even you might confuse the two.
Mrs. Frizzle of the “Magic School Bus” is eccentric, fun, and all about science. Sharon Turpie, with her science hat, silly t-shirts, wacky experiments, and love of science — well, you can probably understand why she reminds me of that beloved character. You can imagine her taking off with you in a flying school bus to discover the secrets of oceans, hurricanes, and the cosmos.
Mrs. Turpie takes everything to a whole new level, and she sees the science fair as part of the science curriculum. The LBJA students spent months creating intricate science projects, rigorously testing hypotheses and developing theories. At each project’s display, a student shares their hypothesis, research, and conclusions. Some exciting projects this year were “Plastics in the Ocean,” “Fingerprints and Genetics,” and “Sports and Science.” Mrs. Turpie also brings exciting, interactive exhibits to the fair. This year they included a giant eye model, cockroaches, a Tesla coil, dinosaurs, and live chickens.
The science fair is also open to the community. As my son and daughter, who are homeschooled, showed me around the fair, they had the glow of learning on their faces. They truly looked like children who had entered a magic school bus of learning.
By Ariel Levi