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Lessons in Science: UBCO hosts regional science fair
Some of the brightest and most creative minds in our schools gathered at the UBC Okanagan campus to participate in the annual Regional Science Fair.
The fair, which started Thursday and wraps up today, gave students an opportunity to showcase science projects on everything from emotional response to helicopter rotors. Their work offers a glimpse into what the future may bring.
Altogether, the affair brought more than 60 projects and 79 students to the university campus from public and private schools across the Okanagan. The students competed for prizes and a chance to represent B.C. at the Canada Wide Science Fair next month in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
The topics covered in the exhibits included killer whales and exploring how dance can enhance memory to building energy efficient homes.
Here's what we found when the Capital News took a tour.
Walk through the halls of UBCO’s Fipke Building this week and it won’t take long to see the years of hocus pokus baking soda and vinegar volcanoes are passé.
Science Fair fare has gone high tech and the payoff can be worth it’s weight in gold—quite literally.
Pull in one of the best projects in the country and it isn’t unheard of to earn $40,000 in scholarships in a single year, and Okanagan students are only getting more competitive, said Shona Becker, a McNicoll Park Middle School teacher from Penticton who organizes the regional event.
“We’ve had some really strong years,” she said. “This year three of the six students selected to go to the national competition have been before, so they have a really good sense of the level of scientific and statistical analysis.”
For 2012, students Vincent Combret, of KVR Middle School in Penticton, Lucas Zeer-Wanklyn, of Kelowna Secondary School, Joshua Gowe, from KVR Middle, Breanna Gowe, of Penticton High, Meg Cumming, of Penticton High, and Sam Bunka, of Kelowna’s Aberdeen Hall, will be heading to Charlottetown, P.E.I. for the Canada Wide Science Fair.
What they’ll net is yet to be seen, but a first place in just one category—presentation, backdrop, statistical analysis, etc.—can pull down $10,000.
Allison Brown and Jacquelyn Draper went to the event last year when it was held in Toronto, and were blown away by the level of competition—and the event itself.
“They really pulled out all the stops for us,” said Brown, noting they didn’t win anything but considered the experience a win because their trip to Ontario was completely covered.
The excursion meant a trip to the CN Tower, a Blue Jays game, dinner in Roy Thomson Hall and, more importantly, a chance to check out the competition. “The winners were testing cancer drugs and they had a lab and sponsors,” said Draper.
Overall, the projects must have inspired as the then Grade 9 students got on the plane home and started making plans for this year’s science project.
This time their work took them to regionals.
They did a research project on nut allergies surmising that a combination of factors from overzealous cleaning habits to a genetic mutation can all come together to produce the dangerous condition.
The incidents of nut allergies are out-pacing what should be naturally occurring, they say.
On the other hand, John Nemes discovered human technology is out-pacing what should be naturally occurring in order for our bodies to remain healthy.
His project, entitled The Next Evolution of the Eye, illustrates the strain screen use of devices from iPads to Kobos to video games can cause.
Nemes used his own eyes, a three-way mirror, and a video game to test how many times an eye blinks before and after screen use in the light and in the dark; he discovered the technology definitely has an impact.