May 28th, 2024

Regional science fair returns to showcase student knowledge and innovation

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on April 30, 2024.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Naba Kazi, a Grade 6 student at Gilbert Paterson, displays her awards in front of her drought project at the Lethbridge Regional Science Fair on Saturday at the U of L.

For the first time since 2019, the Southern Alberta Technology Council’s Sci-Fusion Regional Science Fair and Science Olympics was held in person back at the University of Lethbridge on Friday and Saturday.

The event was for local-area students in Grades 1-10.

The Friday portion had a participant orientation and judging on their projects, while on Saturday included a viewing, Science Olympic activities, a keynote speaking presentation from octopus behaviour expert Jennifer Mather and capped off with the awards ceremony.

“There is so much variety in the science fair projects this year,” said Stephanie Monteith, SATC’s board of directors secretary.

“We had stuff from geology-based projects to bacterial projects where some of them even grew bacteria and tested how much bacteria was on their hands after touching money to some really amazing chemistry projects. Someone engineered biofuel from vegetable oil, someone was trying to engineer something to help with the droughts that are going on here.”

Monteith seems to be amazed as to what the students create and how much work is put in.

“Usually by looking at their log books, they started these a couple of months ago, and they did a lot of different experiments to kind of refine their project into what it is today,” said Monteith.

“It always blows me away how well they present them, they’re always so excited to present them and you can always tell that they’re very practiced.”

“Hopefully these students can get or gain a respect and love for science,” said Monteith.

“So that in the future they may continue on with these types of careers or at least have a better understanding of our world and where it’s going.”

Grade 6 Gilbert Paterson Middle School student Naba Kazi did her project on Drought Busters and won the Best Intermediate Project Award as well as a gold medal for her class.

Her project idea was derived from the possible future drought in Lethbridge in the usage household grey water and the addition of snow and rain water harvesting for things like plants.

“The environment and all that is really important to me,” said Kazi.

“And with the water restriction and all that, and specifically Oldman River, the reservoirs water levels are dangerously low and I realize that this was affecting my community and how I live.”

Wilson Middle School Grade 8 student, Avinash Chowdhury won the Best Senior project for his production of biodiesel.

“I found out that making biodiesel is possible and we should be doing it with vegetable oil,” he said.

“It’s one of those things that we should do but like we’re scared of change, so we don’t want to do it.”

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