Police Athletic League holds annual science fair in South Bronx

PAL’s PS 47 in the Bronx wins 3rd Place at the annual science fair on June 6, 2024.
PAL’s PS 47 in the Bronx wins 3rd Place at the annual science fair on June 6, 2024.
Photo courtesy Police Athletic League.

Hundreds of young Police Athletic League (PAL) members in fifth- through eighth-grades from its citywide after school programs gathered on June 6 to compete at PAL’s Annual Science Fair held at PAL’s New South Bronx Center.

PAL’s Science Fair challenged participants to explore and demonstrate the effects of natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes on superstructures. Young “engineers-in-training” used the Engineering Design Process to design and build free-standing superstructures including buildings, bridges, and highways capable of withstanding the powerful elements of a natural disaster.  

“It is always exciting to see how they will learn, explore, and discover new things through this process. The imagination and ingenuity of the projects was inspiring, and I am certain we have some future Engineers in our midst,” PAL Director of Program Development & Partnership Meredith Gray said. 

A panel of judges awarded top prizes and winners met with PAL Executive Director Carlos Velazquez to discuss their projects and PAL’s STEAM programs. PAL Science Fair 2024 winners included: first place, “Polo Grounds Tower Survives Earthquake” Polo Grounds; second place, “Hurricane Water – Resistant Shelter” Armory Center; and third place, “Can We Truss Our Bridge” Wynn Center, and “Windy Gates Bridge: Bridges vs Tornadoes” PS 47. 

“We named our project the Windy Gates Bridge and used four powerful fans to blast the bridge with wind while toy cars were going over it to see if it would hold up,” Riley Delacruz, 11, from PS 47 in the Bronx, said.

“It’s a fact that a tornado can be as fast as 300 miles an hour, and there are different levels of tornadoes. The project made learning about science fun!” Adrian Torres, 10, from PS 47 added, “We had to try different ideas to get the materials to work. This is my first time in the Science Fair, and I’m proud to share our project.” 

Teams of PAL youngsters were judged on their creativity and knowledge in visual and oral presentations, including a simulation of a natural disaster on their superstructure. Each team that competed was challenged to create a superstructure that remained intact after being exposed to the elements of their selected natural disaster for 20 seconds. The brainstorming and design process leading up to the Science Fair was high-spirited with young people sketching a prototype to build, test, evaluate, and redesign their projects.  

“Our team had so many great ideas about our project and developing our plans showed me the more creative side of science,” Kameron Williams, 11, from PAL Webster Center in the Bronx, said. “Science is more than just reading a book or listening to your teacher. It’s experimenting with ways to come up with original ideas and build on them. The one thing we learned is never give up!” 

For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes