Sci­ence seizes the day

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Len­noxville, Sher­brooke

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

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