Prairie River students shine in science fair

Prairie River Junior High School science fair winners. Front left-right, are Aria Dominguez, Erica Glanville and Dave Espina. Back left-right, are Davin Degner, Corey Isaac, Brayley Emter, Amara Drefs, Alexis Stewart and Elly Beamish. Missing in photo are Spencer Peacock and Shaun Strebchuk.

Richard Froese

Just over 60 intriguing experiments by Grade 8 and 9 students in Prairie River Junior High School in High Prairie were on display at the school’s annual science fair Feb. 15.

“Judges were overall very impressed with the project quality and students’ abilities to present their topics,” says science teacher Neil Pereira, who organized the event with Erlene Richards.

“Some judges said many of the projects were university level and found topics to be interesting and original.”

Students presented 62 projects as the overall top eight winners qualified for the Peace regional science fair March 15 in Peace River.

“All the projects moving on to regionals were given an overall average score above 90 per cent by the judges,” Pereira says.

“Projects were exceptionally strong this year, and we decided that we would send our top eight overall projects to compete at the regional science fair.”

Enthusiasm for the school science fair continues to build.

“The science fair is a great and wonderful experience,” Richards says.

“Science is life; we believe it because we live it.”

More projects were presented than last year.

“We were amazed that our science fair grew by almost 20 per cent from the previous year,” Pereira says.

“Students seemed to really have regionals in mind when designing their projects.”

Amara Drefs won first overall for the second successive year.

She and Brayley Emter won the top award for their project 3R – Value.

Last year, Drefs won for her individual project.

Many projects were very intriguing.

-Horses and Music was presented by Kaitlyn Thompson, Grade 8.

“I have tested this on my horse so I thought I would test it on another horse,” says Thompson, who wants to pursue a career working with horses.

She proved again that music impacts a horse’s energy level.

“Stalled horses tend to be more at ease when classical music is playing,” Thompson says.

“Playing background music eliminates all additional sounds that may stress your horse and it may also help them concentrate and be at ease.”

She also found that studies show the music affect physiology of humans.

“Slow music slows the heartbeat and the breathing rate as well as brings down blood pressure,” Thompson says.

“Faster music speeds up those functions.”

-Does a Cell Phone Affect Reaction Time was a project presented by Amira Sharkawi, Grade 8.

She conducted her experiment while playing with a basketball.

“Lots of people use a cell phone and I wanted to find out how it affects reaction time to other activities,” Sharkawi says.

In conclusion, the cell phone would affect the reaction time, she states.

“They are more attracted to their phone than the ball,” Sharkawi says.

“When people are going to catch a ball, they are more attracted to the ball once they notice it.

“They are more attracted to the ball because one part of the brain is saying that they want to get the ball.”

-Can Colour Improve Memory? was a project presented by Savannah Grandjambe and Alexis Bissell, both Grade 9.

“We’re going into higher grades with more studying and tests and we wanted to find out if certain colours would help us,” Grandjambe says.

However, they didn’t get the result they may have wanted.

“Throughout the experiment we learned that colour doesn’t really have an impact on human memory,” Bissell says.

They tested seven people and only two remembered a number sequence.

“We suspect that they remembered the numbers only because they were used throughout the whole experiment, just in different colours,” she says.

Organizers are grateful for the support of local businesses who donated prizes

“Their sponsorships were keys in motivating many of our students,” Pereira says.

“We also thank the volunteers who judged our science fair; without their valuable time we would not be able to hold our annual science fair.”

Spencer Peacock, Grade 9, with his project Growing Oats Using Organic and Artificial Fertilizers. He placed second overall and first in health and life sciences.
Ashton Tomkins, Grade 8, with his project Disinfectant Wipes Put to the Test.
Davin Degner, left, and Corey Isaac, both in Grade 9, demonstrate as part of their project H20 = Electricity. They placed third overall and second in physical sciences.
Leon Palisoc, Grade 8, shows his project on Flame Distance.
Dave Espina, Grade 8, brushes up on his project Disinfecting Toothbrush. He won fifth overall and third in health and life sciences.
Terelle Supernault-Payou, Grade 8 and her project How Northern Lights Appear.
Amira Sharkawi, Grade 8, with her project Does a Cell Phone Affect Reaction Time?
Mondi Lascuna, Grade 8, with his project Citrus Electricity.
Keith Cramer, Grade 8, presents his project Rocket Survival.


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