New Brunswick

Canada Wide Science Fair draws hundreds to Fredericton

Almost 500 provincial science fair winners are competing for more than $1 million in prizes, scholarships and awards this week in the Canada Wide Science Fair in Fredericton.

Provincial science fair winners compete for $1M in prizes, scholarships and awards

Canada Wide Science Fair begins in Fredericton 2:16

Almost 500 provincial science fair winners are competing for more than $1 million in prizes, scholarships and awards this week in the Canada Wide Science Fair in Fredericton.

The Currie Center at the University of New Brunswick is packed with booths in neat rows with topics ranging from preventing ice drownings to better ways to carry a kayak.

Paransa Subedi, a Winnipeg student, is studying how much sugar gets into your blood stream from breakfast cereal.

"We know that Rice Krispies have very little added sugar, but the thing is its all starches, so over time it has a high glycemic response," she says, as she cuts up a cereal box to add to her display.

Judging is happening all day on Tuesday. Four judges will look at each project and they will reach a consensus to determine the winner.

Judith Soon, a national judge, says 50 per cent of the mark is for the "creative spark."

"The most important part is being creative and original and it has to be their idea," she said.

The Canada Wide Science Fair hosted by the University of New Brunswick has 469 participants. (CBC)
"It's something everyone else has been looking at but they've said, 'There's way too much water being used in our community and what can I do about it?' And that's much more intriguing than somebody is working in a lab and was given a project to do."

David Wu, a Grade 8 student from London, Ont., said his presentation on monarch butterflies didn't start this year.

"I became really interested in monarchs because of a presentation in the library about them," he said.

That led to a seven-year study of local monarch butterfly population that he started in Grade 2. 

Seeing lawn sprinklers coming on in his neighbourhood even when it was raining led Waleed Sawana to develop a soil moisture monitoring system. He stresses the big difference is it's cheap. 

"This actually turned out to be $6.50," he smiles, showing off the solar-powered garden light he hacked.

Sometimes that creative spark is ignited in those little, local, 'baking soda volcano' science fairs.  

Patrick Whippey, a national judge, remembers one mother's story about her daughter.

"She has gone from being totally disinterested in science to one of the best in the class. Her marks have gone from 50s to 90s just from her local participation in the local fair in a science fair experiment. And that's what we live for," he said.

"We open doors that kids never knew existed."

Winners will be announced Friday afternoon. The fair opens to the public on Thursday afternoon. It wraps up Saturday at noon.

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