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Teenagers push the boundaries of science

Teenagers push the boundaries of science

Flaming Fashion, Fabulous Crabulous and Filthy Rich are just a few of the projects on show at this year's Cawthron Science and Technology Fair starting this week in Nelson.

The projects are available for public viewing daily from 10am to 2pm on Thursday 25th, Friday 26th and Saturday 27th September at the Stoke Memorial Hall.

“We’ve received nearly 100 entries for the fair, which this year is open to students aged 13 to 18. It’s such a fantastic representation of the budding scientists we have in our region and their passion for science and technology,” Cawthron Institute Community Educator Cristina Armstrong says.

“We’re really excited about this year’s event as we’ve made some significant changes to the judging process to include environmental sustainability and technology focused projects,”

This year’s fair includes five new sponsors’ awards, with a total of $7000 in prizes to be won. Prizes range from $600 cash for the Cawthron Overall Best Science Investigation, to an all-expenses paid trip to attend the Hands-On Science event at the University of Otago - sponsored by the Marine Studies Centre.

“This year there is a really strong emphasis on technology. We’re encouraging students not just to have an enquiring mind about science but also to look at the systems and products in our lives and think about how they can be improved on a technological and sustainable level,” Cristina says.

The Science and Technology Fair has been an established event on the school calendar in Nelson Tasman for almost 30 years, aimed at promoting science as a career and inspiring the next generation of scientists. Cawthron Institute took over hosting and organising the event in 2011 as an extension of its community development programme.

The annual event is open to secondary school students every year but, to ease pressure on primary schools, children aged 6 to 12 can enter every second year. Students taking part in the event are required to perform a scientific investigation, create a presentation board and completing interviews from four independent judges. Each student is marked on presentation skills, interview responses and general understanding, in addition to reporting on the experiment or research they have performed.

Judging of the fair is a mammoth task and involves more than 60 teaching and science professionals who volunteer their time.

“We’ve maintained a robust system which has been developed and improved upon over the past ten years that we’ve been a major sponsor for this event,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Professor Charles Eason says. “It’s essential for an event of this size that we maintain a fair judging process.”

The winners of this year's fair will be announced at the awards event on Wednesday 22nd October from 4pm at Elim Church, Stoke. This is a free event and all are welcome.


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