A team of young scientists from Locust Valley Middle School has been named finalists in the National Science Teachers Association Bright Schools Competition. The students made it to the top 50 from among 170 teams made up of nearly 550 students from 63 schools.

The competition encouraged entrants in grades 6-8 to explore the correlation between light and sleep and how it influences student health and performance. The Locust Valley team of seventh-graders studied the effects of blue light on sleep patterns. They discovered through research that blue light (emitted from the electronic devices) has a "dark side" and that it reduces the body's ability to produce serotonin for several hours before bedtime.

The team included Caitlin Bianco, Maddie Driscoll, Hailey Lizza and Alexandra McMahon and was coached by teaching assistant Rebecca Glavan. The girls went the extra mile to succeed in this competition by using their own time to write an original script and direct a video depicting their research. The video showcases their solution, a specially-made screen protector which uses fused layers of light-filtering materials to create a thin, pliable cover to prevent the blue light from entering the user’s eyes, making it possible to use an electronic device before bed without the negative impact on sleep.

From the 50 national finalist teams, the first-, second- and third-place national winning teams will be chosen and announced on May 2, 2016.  Congratulations and good luck to these ambitious middle school researchers!