Academic Excellence

From County to State: Science and Engineering Fair

Written by Yee Kit Chan (Class of 2022)

This year’s science fair was unique as student teams could not gather, meet up at school, or gain access to the school laboratories. Ever since its onset in late 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the learning environments of students all around the world. Most schools have adopted either a remote or hybrid learning approach for their students and teachers. This change called into question the status of student wellbeing, including factors such as sleep quality and stress. 

Does online schooling through Zoom meetings and virtual classrooms affect sleep quality among students? Do students attending in-person classes experience better sleep quality than their peers online? What about students in hybrid mode? The boundaries between school and home blur. Though students are spared from the daily morning rush, they experience degradation in attention span and alertness. Extended periods of screen time and low levels of motivation cause students to work less effectively, and some burn the midnight oil in exchange for academic performance. With all factors combined, what is the net impact on sleep quality and stress level during this unprecedented time? I hoped to answer these intriguing questions through data and the scientific method.

My research was entered into the Mendocino County Science Fair in February, and the results were announced on March 20, 2021—besides receiving the California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS) award, my project was selected as one of the ten projects to represent Mendocino County in the California State and Engineering Fair! I feel honored to be given this exciting opportunity to share my research at the state level.

I would like to express my gratitude to Ms. Wang and Dr. Yu for their kind guidance and invaluable insights, as well as Ms. Phi, Ms. Mark, Ms. Applebee, Mr. Todd Whitmire, and friends near and far for their sharing of the survey. I would also like to acknowledge the students of DVGS for their support and feedback throughout; without whom this research could not have been completed.