Bluewater Regional Science and Technology Fair
Science Fair Goes Platinum
Montreal: For the first time in its history, the Bluewater Regional Science & Technology Fair has a student who won a platinum award at the Canada Wide Science Festival. Katherine Teeter, a grade 12 student at Grey Highlands Secondary School, won a senior gold medal and then was chosen to receive the senior platinum award as the best senior project. Katherine’s project, “Synthetic Limpet Teeth for Improved Joint Performance”, explored the construction of prosthetic implants by synthesizing the constituents of limpet teeth which showed great potential as a viable alternative to current implants. Combinations of chitin, goethite, chlorophyll extract, vitamin B12, and isopropanol were tested against existing prosthetic composites. 581 physical, chemical, and biological stress tests concluded that synthetic limpet teeth prosthetic implants were more resilient and could reduce adverse health conditions associated with current prosthetics. Katherine also earned a Manning Innovation Achievement Award, the Astra Zeneca Senior Health Award and five university entrance scholarships. BRSTF Chair, John Twelves, stated, “This is quite an accomplishment for a high school student. Katherine invented several chemical processes to remove the chitin from shrimp shells and combine it with the goethite. If I were her science teacher, I would be tacking on an extra ten percent to her final science marks.” Katherine won a total of $23,750 in cash and scholarships. She is moving on to the University of Western Ontario in September and will be in the Integrated Science Program.
Sophia Cottrill, a grade seven student from Sullivan Community School, won a junior gold medal with the project “Evolution or Extinction? Time Will Tell for the King of the Arctic.”
This study utilized DNA and protein sequencing analyses from GenBank® to determine if polar bears were uniquely distinct from other species. In each analysis, sequences for polar bears were compared against other species using BLAST®. The results of the analyses showed that due to their high level of specialization, the polar bear may soon become nothing more than an image engraved on a toonie. Sophia also won the Junior Environmental Challenge Award plus an entry scholarship to the University of Western Ontario. Her total cash and scholarships totaled $4500.
Connor Maxwell, a grade eight student at Holy Family School in Hanover, won a Junior silver medal with his project Farmland To Filtration: Improving Water Quality. Using Brine Shrimp as the indicator species, 105 trials were conducted to design low cost, low maintenance filtration systems and test their effectiveness at filtering simulated agricultural runoff. Each trial took 288 to 456 hours to complete. The mortality rate, pH, filtering times, total phosphate, nitrate, sulphate, total suspended-solids, dissolved oxygen, specific gravity, and water volume were utilized in the evaluation of each filtration system. Connor also won an entry scholarship to the University of Western Ontario valued at $2000.
Grade eight Holy Family student, Spencer Whitehead, won the Junior Canadian Actuarial Foundation award with his project Less Mass Run Fast. Over 184 trials were conducted to investigate the effect of external loading on the stride length and the time to run 400m. Stride length decreased with heavier loading. The stride length of heavier runners decreased by as little as 7cm while that of lighter runners decreased by up to 40cm. The average run time increased by 1.14 seconds for every 1% increase in external loading. Spencer received a $500 cash award.
Nick Muegge, Holy Family School, and Nathan Williams, École Elgin Market Public School Kincardine, also competed in the Junior division. Both young men came away with invaluable experience. Nathan’s project explored the control systems used on autonomous robots in competitions, like FIRST Lego League, which need to respond accurately and consistently every time a program is executed. Two robot designs were tested using constant power, ramped power, and proportional-integral-derivative control turn methods, with and without a gyroscope. The ramped power program data was closest to the target and had the least deviation over the course of ten trials. Nick Muegge’s project observed and analyzed the movement of white-tailed deer in WMU 84 over the past 365 days. Deer harvest numbers, deer sighting data, climate condition statistics, and predator population data were examined to determine if identifiable patterns existed within the movement times of white-tailed deer. The results revealed that the movement patterns depended greatly upon the rut and predation pressure along with climate conditions.
The Bluewater Regional Science & Technology Fair, a registered charity, is an independent body that promotes science and technology in Grey and Bruce Counties. It works with the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board, the French Catholic Board, home schooled students, private schools and the Bluewater District School Board.