The Southwest Booster
SCCHS students advance to 2023 Canada-wide Science Fair
The top two entries at the recent Chinook Regional Science Fair have earned the opportunity to represent the Southwest at the upcoming nation wide Science Fair.
Projects entered by Mapalo Mushoriwa and Vaishu Venkata captured the top two places at the Regional Science Fair on March 7-8 and will now advance to the Canada-wide Science Fair in Edmonton on May 17-19.
Mapalo Mushoriwa, a Grade 11 student from the Swift Current Comprehensive High School, earned the Best In Fair Award for her project “Investigating DNA Preservation”.
She was admittedly surprised to walk away with the Best In Fair Award.
“I was super, super excited,” she admitted. “For the top place I wasn’t 100 per cent sure whether I was going to be number one or not because there were lots of really, really good projects.”
Mushoriwa delved into the question of what method of storage is best for preserving and maintaining the quality of DNA.
Her two week long project involved extracting DNA from a common Strawberry, and utilizing a quartet of storage methods. She was surprised when her hypothesis that storage in 70 per cent ethanol, stored in -80 Celsius, would be the best quality for maintaining DNA. Her other methods of storage in ultra pure distilled water, and storage at room temperature, she hypothesized would provide the worst results.
“From the results on my gel electrophoresis, which is what we used to determine the quality, it actually showed that dry at room temperature was the best way, over the course of two weeks of course,” she said.
“I had hypothicised that 70 per cent ethanol stored in -80 Celsius would have the best, but dry had the higher ratings,” she said during an interview after last Wednesday’s awards ceremony. “There’s lots of different factors to consider with that, two years versus two weeks, so many different things could change those results.”
She was appreciative of the assistance she had while partnering with the Swift Current Research and Development Centre in completing her project.
Vaishu Venkata also advanced to the Canada-wide Science Fair with her project “Monstormunch: The Solution to Childhood Obesity”.
The Grade 10 SCCHS student was prompted to pursue this Science Fair project after learning about childhood obesity, healthy eating, nutrition, and simple calculations for calorie needs during Wellness 10 classes.
“When I learned about it I thought how was I not taught such important information until Grade 10? Because if childhood obesity is really such a problem, why aren’t kids taught this so it actually helps them prevent childhood obesity.”
While looking at various solutions to addressing childhood obesity, she focussed on the development of a health app to better educate youngsters.
“When I researched about health apps, I noticed a gap. And the gap was that there were no health apps for kids that tracked all aspects of their lifestyle such as sleep, water, mood, all that stuff. And they were
targeted towards all kids.”
As the closest app she found was geared mainly towards overweight kids, she said her project developed a focus on teaching about living a balanced life through games.
“The purpose of my innovation, “Monstormunch”, is primary prevention which means preventing childhood obesity before it happens, so it is targeted towards all kids.”
She said one of the health topics she learned about was body fatness calculations and their importance.
“I learned more about BMI (Body Mass Index) which was something we didn’t really didn’t cover during the Wellness 10 course, so that was something that I included in there.”
Overall, Venkata was pleased with the way the project came together.
“I was really happy with it. There were a few setbacks and obstacles while coding it, but I overcame them because on a whole just the app development process I found it really fun.
“It was really fun, especially testing it. It was amazing to see a project that I made in the hands of kids who were really excited to try it out.”
She is looking forward to the opportunity to further advance her project at the Canada-wide Science Fair.
“I think it’s amazing. I think it could really help with my idea to patent this and actually make it into an actual app.”
BEST IN FAIR
1. Mapalo Mushoriwa - Investigating DNA Preservation, SCCHS.
2. Vaishu Venkata Monstormunch: The Solution to Childhood Obesity, SCCHS.
3. Tessa Todd and Braden Baumann - The Power of Farmers, Hazlet School.
4. Aimee Brown and Amani Sletten - Pumpin’ Up An Insulin Storm, Hazlet School.
GOLD - Mapalo Mushoriwa - Investigating DNA Preservation, SCCHS.
SILVER - Nike Hoepfner and Katharina Leonhardt - DIY Cell Dye, Hazlet School.
BRONZE - Vanessa Barr and Berenice Deteille - Electrical Conductors, Hazlet School.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS - Kate-lynn Raynard and Sydney Ginter, Fairview School; Sennarey Garven, Hazlet School.
GOLD - Vaishu Venkata - Monstormunch: The Solution to Childhood Obesity, SCCHS.
SILVER - Tessa Todd and Braden Baumann The Power of Farmers, Hazlet School; Aimee Brown and Amani Sletten - Pumpin’ Up An Insulin Storm, Hazlet School.
BRONZE - Rodney Hammond and Katie Hammond - Testing Alternative Fuels, Hazlet School; Sennarey Garven - Preventing Bad Bones, Hazlet School; Teagan Emms and Gina Wisarutwanit - Bug of Doom, Hazlet School.
GOLD - Briley Pogorzelec and Ruby Dyck What Soil Makes Plants Grow Faster?, Fairview School; Ryder Donaldson Elder and Karsyn Lowenberger - Science of Sledding, Success School.
SILVER - Paytin Allin and Bryden Donaldson Elder - Satisfying Slinkies, Success School; Lucas Greenwood and Noah Ens - Kitchen Invasion, Central School.
BRONZE - Margi Joshi and Qui Jin Fabilane Magnitor-magnifying Glass Projector, Central School; Chris Weiss - Sun-sational, Central School; Paige Cummins and Rheece Weinbender - Blue Morpho Butterflies, Fairview School; Lachlan Rempel and Thomas Cunnington Which TP is Better, Success School; Shayelynn Moen - The Effects of a VR Headset, Stewart Valley; Peyton Todd - Public Speaking, Stewart Valley; Samantha Guenther and Mackenzie Hurl - Aqua Sizzlers, Stewart Valley.
(sponsored by Brunswick Creek Psychology Services) Noah Ens and Lucas Greenwood - Kitchen Invasion (Central School).
AWARD SCIENCE OLYMPICS WINNERS
AM - Denaye Empey and Aftyn Bakus.
PM - Sophie Nicholson and Cyerra Walters, Chris Weiss, Margi Joshi and Qui Jin Fabilane.