Science and Technology Fair winners 2019

Science and Technology Fairs were recently held in Christchurch and Timaru and saw students from across the region entering creative project ideas.

Environment Canterbury’s judges were looking for environmental-related projects that explored resource management issues and offered innovative ideas or solutions. A number of budding scientists explored the issues of plastics in our oceans, coastal erosion and nitrates in our waterways, as well as the effectiveness of ecological restoration.

The award winners were presented at the Sanford sponsored fair in Timaru on Wednesday 11 September and the Christchurch-based, NIWA sponsored, fair held their prizegiving Sunday 22 September.

Canterbury-Westland Schools Science and Technology Fair, Christchurch

Senior winners

Science Fair 2019 Christchurch first-place winners

Science Fair 2019 Christchurch first-place winners

The Environment Canterbury senior who won first place was Yusef Elnahas, Christ’s College, with his investigation of rice water as a food waste that could be used to our advantage as an eco-friendly, fertiliser.

Anna Christensen, Burnside High School, placed second with her investigation ‘Tuna Townhouses: do they work?’. Her innovative techniques to discover whether tuna were actually using the homes created for them impressed our judges.

Thomas Cochrane was another Burnside High School student who caught the judges’ eyes and placed third with his ‘Growing sustainable cement’ project. Thomas designed, created, and tested types of cement made out of waste resources such as calcined mussel shells, glass powder, and others, with the aim of reducing environmental impacts of quarries mining for cement materials.

Sarah Cosgrove and Emma Taylor, both from St Margaret’s College, were highly commended for their projects.

Junior/intermediate winners

In the junior/intermediate category, first prize went to Elizabeth Baird, Russley School, with ‘Hestia’s Healthy Hearth’. Elizabeth created a device that could be used by homeowners to determine whether their log burners are smoking, with the aim of preventing air pollution.

In second place, Sylvie King, Selwyn House School, investigated the impact varying degrees of street light have on native flora, whilst Katie Blackburn, Breens Intermediate, in third place designed and created a contraption that re-uses the water you brush your teeth with.

Highly commended were Max Barclay, Cobham Intermediate, and Zoe Croot from Chisnallwood Intermediate.

Two students were awarded certificates and $30 for their use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in a project; Evie Chamberlain-Holyoake, Chisnallwood Intermediate, and Felix Backhouse, Burnside High School.

Sanford Science and Technology Fair, South/Mid Canterbury

Senior winners

Bailey Lissington, Timaru Boys’ High School, gained first place with his ‘Smart Farm System’. Bailey was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable promoter of his project processes and outcomes. He had put in the time, researching components thoroughly and had developed a prototype of his ‘Smart Farm System', which aimed to support farmers to reduce water wastage and nitrate run-off. Bailey aims to develop his system further during his time at Canterbury University where he will take Mechatronics engineering.

Science Fair 2019 Timaru placegetter

Science Fair 2019 Timaru placegetter

Two other students from Timaru Boys’ High School, Sam Wilson and Nick McDowell, were awarded highly commended certificates for their farm-based projects.

There was a lot of good scientific research undertaken by students but not as many offered innovative solutions to environmental problems, which meant some of the Environment Canterbury prizes were not awarded.

Junior/intermediate winners

The junior section saw joint second place winners Ella Laming, St Joseph’s School Timaru, and Joshua Wilson-Jones, Gleniti School. Ella’s project, ‘Dirty Detergent’, demonstrated really good scientific experimentation, whilst Joshua’s ‘Pointing to a solution for Patiti Point’ illustrated innovative thinking with respect to coastal erosion and energy production. With further development of their solutions, these two students could very well be winners in 2020.

Highly commended went to Maddie Page, Ashburton Borough School, and Eden Winterburn, Craighead Diocesan School, both of whom presented interesting projects, which with further research will be ones to watch at future fairs.