Local students haven’t yet run out of ideas for the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair.
The annual volunteer-run event packed the Elliott building at the University of Victoria on April 10 and 11, featuring exhibits from more than 150 students between Grade 4 and 12. Middle and high schoolers from across the Island addressed such topics as how music can change a film, the amount of sugar in soft drinks and the properties of hot sauce.
Dex Owen, a Grade 9 student at Glenlyon Norfolk School, tested the effects of electromagnetic radiation on bean plants, measuring differences based on how close or far the plants were to a copper coil with electricity running through it.
“The ones closest to the magnetic field were receiving the most radiation and it stunted their growth, compared to the ones farthest away that grew the tallest,” said Owen, who measured such controlled variables as light, water, temperature, soil, voltage, plant depth and humidity.
“It’s really interesting to see that this has such a negative effect on bean plants. Farmers living under power lines have complained about their crops not doing well, as well as the World Health Organization claims it can affect the nervous and digestive systems.”
Randy Enkin, president of the Society for the Advancement of Young Scientists, said the top seven finalists brought some innovative ideas to the fair, including projects on improving memory and using fish waste for plant nutrients.
“There was one on how to make noodles out of termites,” said Enkin. “There actually is a good food source that’s plentiful, and she figured out a way to crush them and make them into noodles.
“I did not try them,” he added with a laugh.
The finalists, in order from first to seventh, were Nattan Telmer (Arbutus Middle School), Odessa Grimard (Pearson College), Alexander Krawciw (Mount Douglas Secondary), Bjorn Svorkdal (Glenlyon Norfolk), Nicolas Fedrigo (Claremont Secondary), Eli M. Ramraj (Glenlyon Norfolk) and Colette Reimer (St. Margaret’s).
The seven students will advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair at McGill University in Montreal on May 15, competing against 500 students from across the country.