Imaginations 'run wild' at P.E.I. Science Fair

More than 200 burgeoning young science enthusiasts showcased their talents Wednesday at the annual P.E.I. Science Fair at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Projects included innovations in renewable energy, aquaculture and drug discovery

Colton Terry of Alberton Elementary demonstrates a robotic arm he built, one of 152 projects at the 2018 P.E.I. Science Fair. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

More than 200 burgeoning young science enthusiasts showcased their talents Wednesday at the annual P.E.I. Science Fair at the University of Prince Edward Island.

This year, students from 27 Island schools presented 152 science projects.

The projects ranged from innovations in renewable energy, climate adaptation, agriculture and aquaculture to drug discovery, health and well-being. 

Projects this year included innovations in renewable energy, climate adaptation and agriculture. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"They let their imagination run wild and we're seeing some wonderful projects," said science fair co-chair Bill Whelan.

"The level of science is very, very high and the level of ambition is very high among these students."

Jannah McCallum, a Grade 6 student at West Royalty Elementary, was one of the students presenting their final product after months of research and hard work.

Her project looked at whether cinnamon could keep carrots fresh from mould while they were growing in storage.

"My grandmother is always spraying cinnamon and saying it's anti-fungal and I wanted to see if there was a natural alternative instead of using herbicides and pesticides," McCallum said. "It's nice to learn something new."

More than 200 young scientists from 27 Island schools attended this year's science fair at UPEI. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The young scientists shared their interests, talents and creativity with more than 80 volunteer judges.

Students are evaluated on their scientific thought, originality, understanding and the exhibit itself.

With the fair being held at UPEI, students caught a glimpse of what the future might hold should they continue down the path of science and engineering.

"It's really fun all the way, even if I make mistakes," said Forest McPhee, a Grade 6 student at Central Queens Elementary.

Jannah McCallum, a Grade 6 student at West Royalty Elementary, won a number of awards for her work on whether cinnamon could keep carrots fresh from mould. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Whelan said it's good for students to learn to overcome obstacles along the way.

"Science fair is not about necessarily training scientists. It's about training critical thinkers and that will take you no matter what career path you're interested in, if you can clearly communicate your ideas and you can take time to study ideas and work hard and exploring new things you didn't know before."

More than $15,000 in prizes and awards were handed out by 45 community partner organizations that annually support the P.E.I. Science Fair.

Levi Driscoll's project involved building and programming a robot to see if it could solve a Rubik's Cube faster than a human. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Five students from grades 7-12 will be selected to represent P.E.I. at the 2018 Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa in May, when more than $1 million in prizes and scholarships will be awarded.  

"It's really great to see a lot of these young scientists come in and share their interests, their talents, their curiosity about the things in their environment," Whelan said.

Participants in the annual science fair are encouraged to let their imaginations run wild. (Tom Steepe/CBC)
Forest McPhee, a Grade 6 student at Queens Elementary, did his project on spectrometry, the study of interactions between light and matter. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

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About the Author

Tom Steepe

Video Journalist

Tom Steepe is an award-winning video journalist with CBC P.E.I.