Curiosity is a good thing and students at Telkwa elementary school tried to quench their curiosity recently with their very own science project Maddie Barendregt, a 12-year-old Grade 7 student, chose her project to compliment her interest in music.
“I kind of wanted to do something with heart rate in it,” she said.
For her project, Barendregt measured the heart of friends, before and after she had them listen to Thunderstruck by ACDC, which happens to be her favourite song.
Although she enjoyed doing the science project, Barendregt admitted the judging process was a bit nerve-wracking.
“I stumbled a bit, but it was OK,” she said.
The judges made some good points, Barendregt said, points she would include should she repeat the experiment.
Nonetheless, judges noted Barendregt was on the right track.
“What we liked about Maddie’s project was that she had a hypothesis,” Richard Overstall said as judging partner Kiri Daust nodded.
That Maddie proved her hypothesis wrong was not a problem, Overstall said.
“That can be the most interesting because you can learn something new,” Daust explained.
Daust should know, he’s been taking part in science fairs since Grade three.
“It’s very much an important part of my life,” Daust, 15, said.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to get to study the world around them and to learn about questions they’re interested in.”
Overstall, a former geologist, turned lawyer, said science fairs are essential to help youth think outside of the box and to develop critical thinking skills.
Overstall and Daust were positive in their assessment of the projects on display in the Telkwa elementary school gym, commending the students for the obvious effort in conducting their projects and the originality of the projects.
“Compared to some of the other schools I’ve visited this year, the Telkwa students projects are more advanced,” Daust said.
Nonetheless, Overstall and Daust did have some general advice for students contemplating a science project.
“Think carefully about the scientific process,” Overstall said, alluding to the fact some of the projects lacked a hypothesis.
“Try using more replicates,” Daust added.
“I love the kids’ enthusiasm for the projects,” science fair organizer Gail Currie said was the best part of organizing the science fair.
For the students, Currie said, the joy of the science projects comes in the discovery of how science works all while learning how it goes together and how precise they have to be and the process of thinking through how their project is going to be displayed so people can understand it.
“It’s a huge process, it takes about two months to do it all,” Currie said.
“They have a lot of fun along the way.
“They feel successful.”
About one-third of the projects move on to the regionals in Terrace which adds to the enthusiasm about science and the sense of success, Currie said.