Almost 500 students gathered at the University of Manitoba on Wednesday during the second day of Manitoba’s First Nations Science Fair.

Students from 36 First Nations competed for top prize in the fair, which started on Tuesday.

Allyson Stucky came all the way from Sagkeeng First Nation to show off her lemon rocket. The 11 year old had a lot of confidence in her project.

“I think I’m going to do really good,” said Stucky. “I’ll probably win a silver.”

Science fair

A student project titled Volcano Experiment sits on display at the Manitoba's First Nations Science Fair sits on the University of Manitoba campus on Tuesday. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)

But Grade 9 student John Kanabee from God’s Lake Narrows has his own impressive project.

He created a plan for a self-sufficient log cabin was one of the most advanced at the fair.

“We have solar panels, light bulbs and a wind turbine,” explained Kanabee, who was also at the fair last year. “I like science. It’s my favourite subject.”

Organizers said the event grew by about 100 students this year, making it one of the fastest growing science fairs in Canada.

“Number one is travelling, seeing new places and meeting new people and networking,” said Rudy Subedar, a manager with the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, the organization that helps put on the fair each year.

“Number two is seeing the work that each other does and from that exposure and collaboration, they go home with more ideas and more motivation,” said Subedar.

But for some students, it’s not easy to get to the fair. The price tag to bring five students and one teacher from Lac Brochet was close to $20,000.

But according to Pierre Bernier, the vice principal of Lac Brochet Petit Casimir Memorial School, the experience for students is well worth the price tag.

“It’s priceless. A lot of these kids, some of them have not come out of the community in years,” said Bernier, adding the fair gives students something special to work for throughout the school year.

“It’s so eye opening,” said. “Some of them say, ‘You know what? I’m going to work hard to be here again next year,’ and it’s that lure of hope.”

The fair is a joint effort by the U of M and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre and has been running for 12 years.