Stu­dents up the ante at age-old sci­ence fair

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MANDY TE

Kiwi stu­dents are putting a mod­ern spin on the age-old sci­ence fair.

The Niwa Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Fair, now in its 58th year, first be­gan in Auck­land. It show­cases sci­ence ex­per­i­ments car­ried out by year 7 to year 13 stu­dents across the coun­try.

This year, 240 projects were sub­mit­ted and more than 300 stu­dents took part in cen­tral Auck­land. About 60 teach­ers and in­dus­try spe­cial­ists judged the projects.

The fair’s cat­e­gories in­cluded sci­ence, the liv­ing world, the phys­i­cal world, the ma­te­rial world, tech­nol­ogy, planet earth and be­yond and hu­man be­hav­iour.

Lead judge Patsy Hind­son is a sci­ence teacher at Saint Kentigern Boy’s School. She has taken part in the fair for more than 10 years.

‘‘I’m im­pressed with the va­ri­ety of top­ics and the orig­i­nal­ity of projects,’’ Hind­son said.

‘‘This year, there are more projects in planet earth and be­yond, and more on the en­vi­ron­ment.’’

There were also projects on wifi, she said.

Or­gan­iser Sandy Jack­son is a sci­ence teacher at King’s School and has been in­volved in the fair since 2000. Ev­ery year, the fair has got­ten par­ents, teach­ers more and sci­en­tists from the com­mu­nity in­volved, Jack­son said.

It was al­ways good to hear about past fair stu­dents who were now on pro­fes­sional sci­en­tific path­ways, she said.

‘‘The fair is a start­ing point,’’ Jack­son said.

While the cre­ativ­ity of the stu­dents has not changed, the way projects were be­ing show­cased had, she said. ‘‘We’re just start­ing to get more tech­nol­ogy in projects like iPads, videos and QR code.’’

She ex­pected that there would be more tech­no­log­i­cal com­po­nents in the fu­ture, Jack­son said.

Ep­som Girls Gram­mar school stu­dent Nour Abug­haz­ala and Avon­dale Col- lege stu­dent Shahd Al-Isawi worked on their project, The Black Healer, for two years. Their project looked at an al­ter­na­tive treat­ment for di­a­betes due to its promi­nence in New Zealand, and a cancer treat­ment which has less side ef­fects than chemo­ther­apy.

Al­though they have been pre­par­ing for their NCEA ex­ams, the fair was an op­por­tu­nity to de­velop their idea, Abug­haz­ala said.

It was ex­cit­ing to see the pos­i­tive re­sults of their ex­per­i­ment, she said.

The pair placed third in the year 11 to year 13 sci­ence cat­e­gory and plan to con­tinue work­ing on their project in the fu­ture.

MANDY TE/STUFF

Shahd Al-Isawi and Nour Abug­haz­ala plan to keep work­ing on their project and both hope to study medicine.

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