Students up the ante at age-old science fair
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.
Shahd Al-Isawi and Nour Abughazala plan to keep working on their project and both hope to study medicine.