Science seizes the day
It’s surprising what you can learn at a high school science fair, especially when the participating students are as enthusiastic as Alexander Galt High School’s students were last Thursday. Students were ready at every science project display to explain their project and its find- ings, many even going so far as to explain what they would do differently during their next science project. I learnt that you could generate electricity from lemons, what makes plants grow in a spiral, what kind of house insulation works best and that kids like science!
Even the excited elementary students from Lennoxville
Elementary School who visited the science fair in the morning seemed to be having fun. Four or five of them were jockeying for position, wanting to get as close as possible to Royce Cutler and William Lancaster’s display about electromagnetics as they listened to Royce talk about the project: “The cranes in junkyards are electromagnetic. The one that we made can pick up 1,500 grams with 7.5 volts.”
The project of Tosha Callaway, from Beebe, and Sarah-marie Lariviere, from Sherbrooke, was about the effects of gravity on plants. “Gravitropism makes plants grow away from gravity,” explained Tosha, a grade seven student, as she showed me a picture of a spiraling plant grown on the space shuttle in low gravity conditions. Fitch Bay’s Madison Deslongchamps also based her project on plant growth, learning that plants preferred water to lemon juice or milk. Lingwick’s Brandon Walker’s science project demonstrated how biofuel could be created from sources other than corn, considering that there is a food shortage in the world, like apple and peach pulp.
Elsa Marcoux and Emily Coté, concerned with oil spills in the ocean, wanted to know which material was better at absorbing oil: cotton balls, paper towels or Shamwow. “Shamwow was the best. We know you can’t use it to clean spills in the ocean, but maybe something similar could be invented,” said the girls. Vicky FortinCoates and Sarah Landry, both from Sherbrooke, made a LED bulb light up after attaching it to lemons. “We were surprised when it worked. When the light would go out we just had to squeeze the lemons and it would come back on!”
Laura and Megan Powers, from Cookshire-eaton, learnt a lot about penicillin while doing their project. “We learnt how it is made and who discovered it. We used to think it was made from chemicals.” Alisha Fancy, from Austin, had problems with her science project but was “not discouraged.” Trying to build a solar panel, Alisha used pennies where she needed pure copper. “I learnt that pennies aren’t made of pure copper anymore. You must really research all your materials,” said Alisha.
Mathew Hobbs-dostie, from Magog, had two small houses, each with a thermometer sticking out of its roof, at his display. He insulated one with fiberglass insulation and the other with thermostat paper. “I put them outside for a few days and I checked the temperatures every two hours. The house with the thermostat paper insulation was warmest.”
Some of the projects that I regretted not having time to visit (the large gymnasium was wall to wall with students and their projects) were about floating eggs, astro lamps, stain removal, eating while driving, the safety of helmets, artificial sugars and many other engaging subjects.
Several judges, volunteers from the community, were also visiting displays and taking notes. “I think it’s very impressive what the students have done,” said Bishop’s