Winners of Regional Science Fair earn trip to National event

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald One project included a bike that worked to charge a cellular phone and other objects at the Prince Albert NE Regional Science Fair at the Prince Albert Science Centre in the Gateway Mall on Thursday afternoon.

Two students from around Prince Albert will be travelling to Edmonton for the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May after earning their spots at the Prince Albert and NE Regional Science Fair on Tuesday at the Prince Albert Science Centre in the Gateway Mall.

Grade 8 students Maria Brons of Christopher Lake School and Ash Dickens of West Central School learned that they will be travelling to Edmonton during the announcement of winners on Tuesday afternoon.

Both Brons and Dickens said that they were overwhelmed with the opportunity to travel to the National Science Fair.

“I just think it will be fun,” Dickens said.

“A bit overwhelming like she said, but I’m excited,” Brons said.

They both added that they did not enter thinking that they would advance.

Dickens project came as a practical solution to a problem.

“My project was an implant headband which is meant for sports and swimming but you can do whatever and it’s actually kind of cool because if you don’t use just a normal implant it holds it in place instead of it just falling out. Because every time I do sports my hearing aids will just fall off,” Dickens said.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Organizer Trista Parsons, Maria Brons and organizer Heidi Abbey-Derr during the presentation of the final award at the Prince Albert NE Regional Science Fair at the Prince Albert Science Centre in the Gateway Mall on Thursday afternoon.

The headband covers the whole head and also takes into account a cocular implant

“My problem is that when I was little I used to use like normal sports headbands and it’s too thin or too thick so I couldn’t wear it and I just struggled with these for years and then one year my mom was like hey you might as well fix your solution and I did,” Dickens said.

After the work she decided to enter in the Science Fair.
Meanwhile, Brons project involved duck eggs and her interest in that subject.

“Well I tested to see if time affects the viability of a fertile hatching egg,” Brons said.

There were several projects related to eggs at the Science Fair.

“I was at an egg table. So I tested, I put them all in an incubator, tested to see after 10 days if the fertility declined because of how long I kept them while collecting in the egg turner,”

“I just one day had the question how long can I keep these eggs for before the fertility just stops, so I decided to test it,” she explained.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Eventual winner of a trip to the National Science Fair Maria Brons discussed her project during the public viewing the Prince Albert NE Regional Science Fair at the Prince Albert Science Centre in the Gateway Mall on Thursday afternoon.

This was the first in-person version of the Regional Science Fair since 2019

Trista Parsons one of the members of the organizing committee explained that they try to organize ahead of time.

“We had the Ed Centre printing out certificates and programs for us. We go the judge’s boards ready ahead of time so we just had to put the rubriks on there. The schools all sent me the names of the student and the projects and the grades so we had that all ready,” she explained.

On Monday they prepared the Science Centre by setting up table with name tags and made maps for judges.

“And then day of we came this morning, we opened up, we welcomed the kids, they all came in, set up, we did a quick safety and ethics check walk around and make sure nobody is going to explode the building,” Parsons said.

Judges for the event included three Saskatchewan Polytech professors, a representative from SaskTel, a forensic scientist and two superintendents from the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division, Garette Tebay and Tom Michaud.

To begin the event they went over some rules with the judges before judging began at 10 a.m.

“Every student will get judged at least three times and then we just average those scores and then the students that are the special award winners they will get judged a couple more times, maybe four or five,” Parsons said.

After lunch there was public viewing.

“We had a full house here, it was good,” Parsons said.

The Science Centre provided a fun activity before the certificate presentation.

Superintendent Jennifer Hingley brought greetings on behalf of the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division during the certificate presentation. Certificates were presented in a number of categories for students in Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7 and Grade 8 before the announcement of Brons and Dickens win.

Having the Science Fair back was special to Parsons and other organizers.

“It’s really good, I feel like we don’t do enough for academic things. It’s great to do the sports, it’s great to do the art and the music, but I like the Science Fair because it’s for academics,” she sai.d

“I have subbed for a lot of these kids and they are way different when they present to you their Science Fair project, when they can research something that they are interested, when they can get on board with something that they are doing and someone doesn’t have to tell them to learn they are just different kids,” Parsons added.

Representaive were from rural schools in Saskatchewan Rivers but organizers would like anybody to come including in city Saskatchewan Rivers schools, Prince Albert Catholic Division Schools and North East School Division schools, which are all eligible in the entrance area.

“It really just takes a teacher at a school to take it on because someone kind of needs to be the organizer and the voice and if you have that person at the school than the other teachers don’t feel like they have to do as much. Because they have enough to do,” Parsons said.

“But Science Fair fits into so many different categories of education, you can mark it, you can use it for marks,”

She explained that there were many younger students in Grade 5 and Grade 6 so the event can continue to grow.

“They are kind of starting where they are finding an experiment and doing the experiment and that is where they are at and that’s fine and maybe next year they are adding to an experiment and maybe a year after they are coming up with their own things and maybe the year after they are expanding on that so it’s a really good start,”

Organizers thanked the Science Centre for all of their support in putting the event together.

Canada-Wide Science Fair, the country’s largest annual youth STEM event, will return to an in-person format and will be held May 14 to 19 at the Edmonton Convention Centre. The last two CWSF events have been virtual.