A pair of sixth-graders from L.J. Hauser Junior High School in Riverside won awards at the annual Brookfield Zoo Science Fair on Feb. 21.

Charlie Sramek won first place in the Grade 6 category for his project “A Plant Like Substance” while Avi Ponnappan placed third in the Grade 6 category at for his project “Wash your Water.”

More than 180 students in grades five through eight from 11 school districts in the West Suburban Consortium for Academic Excellence (WSCAE) competed in the event. They were judged on their project’s connection to the inquiry learning process (science) or their ability to solve a real-world problem (engineering). Additional judging criteria involved how projects connected to the real-world in the big picture and a student’s overall understanding of how science and engineering processes are achieved.

Local schools participating in the science fair included Komarek School, L.J. Hauser Junior High School and Park Junior High School.