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Science Fair 2014

Science forms a vital part of our everyday lives. So does innovation. Every year, through the Science Fair, we try to give Grade 9 and 11 students the opportunity to explore Science and be innovative, and to investigate something outside of their curriculum.

Despite the incredible amount of work it takes, many students find the project worthwhile and really enjoy the opportunity to do their own investigations. Some of this year’s project highlights include:

  • developing a drainer for tins (e.g. tuna tins) that stops your fingers from getting oily
  • developing a model for a domestic scale wind turbine
  • developing a portable solar panel
  • developing a CERN research hypothesis for a competition (winners will travel Switzerland to perform their tests on a smaller collider next to the Large Hadron Collider).
  • a project integrating maths and music
  • trying to develop a formula for predicting a dice roll
  • investigation into fingerprint collection methods
  • development of a blanket that keeps you cool on hot summer nights
  • building a rocket that life-savers can use to fire life-jackets to those in trouble in the water

The CERN projects were particularly interesting, as this represents a collaboration between our Extended Learning Programme (for our top academics) with Science Fair. The project these students put together did not meet the normal criteria for Science Fair, but because of the nature of the project, and the extension well beyond the school curriculum, we tweaked the Science Fair criteria so that they could use this project for their Science Fair project. For more information on the CERN submission, you can view the YouTube video here.

As enjoyable and valuable as the Science Fair is, there is an inevitable amount of stress that goes with doing such a major project, for teachers, students and parents. For that reason the Grade 11 displays were put up first, to give them more time for studying before their exams. This worked well, although trying to schedule all the interviews was a nightmare because of the elections that took place right in the middle of it, meaning that we had one day less for this aspect.

At the same time as the current Science Fair was taking place, we were also celebrating the fact that one of our previous Science Fair projects had been selected to go to Amsterdam, to represent not just the school, or the province, but the nation at an international Science Fair – INESPO. Patrick Noah, currently in matric, did a fantastic project on “Intumescent paints” (paints that are fire-retarding). We wish him well as he leaves this Saturday for that competition.

In addition, we received the news that another previous project has been approved by blind peer review for publication in the International Journal of Education. This project, by Nicholas Roman and Aadam Toefy, looked at “The effect of stress and anxiety levels on decision making styles of senior learners at PHS”.

We are very proud of all 3 boys, but also of all the Grade 9 and 11 students who worked hard and produced such excellent projects this year!