QHS science fair celebrates science in our lives

Photo: Scott French

An engineering feat! QHS student Viktoria Dahl pictured with her Mouse Trap Car, which travelled a whopping 16.5 metres, further than any of the other cars in the Secondary 2 competition.

Science touches every aspect of our lives and students at Quebec High School were able to demonstrate that theme at this year's annual school-wide science fair, held last Monday. Seventy-five students from Secondary 1 through 5 vied for coveted spots at the regional Bell Science Fair this March at Université Laval.

The top three projects from each science class were chosen to be exhibited in the school's gymnasium. Only the winners from each grade will move on to the regional finals.

The projects touched on a wide range of ideas from the world of science, from biology and mechanical engineering to high-technology and chemistry.

Inspired by a liquid nitrogen experiment they witnessed cyrogenics pioneer Basil Loyet conduct, Secondary 5 students Elliot Hauver and Guilhaume LĂ©ger reproduced the feat using goldfish.Wrapped in a plastic bag and coated in glycerine to protect the fish's cells during the deep freeze, the goldfish were dipped into a substitute solution of dry ice and rubbing alcohol to mimic the more dangerous liquid nitrogen. They were revived moments later in warm water.
"No fish were harmed in the process," Hauver assured.

Charlie-Elizabeth Nadeau, meanwhile, decided to expand on her Secondary 3 CSI class by researching the history of DNA. Like the popular mystery television show that uses science to solve crimes, the option class encourages students to use problem solving, evidence gathering and scientific techniques to evaluate evidence in a mock crime-solving scenario.

Quebec High School senior science teacher Charles Sias said the school is looking at new avenues like the CSI class and the science fair to "promote science in our schools and in the general public."

Everest Elementary School accepted QHS's offer to the school board's primary and elementary students to visit the high school science fair. "It's good for them to see presentations, it inspires them to do projects as well," Connie Whittinstall said of her Grade 5 and 6 students.

First time judge Pierre Lenoir,was told by his fellow judges that the science fair projects were of a slightly lower quality than last year.

The Secondary 3 judges each selected a different winner and therefore came to a compromise in the end. "The criteria for a winner was a combination of research, the physical presentation and partners who complemented each other during their [verbal] presentation."

The winners will be announced during the school's house meeting one week from this Thursday.

Career Day

The Science Fair coincided with a career day at the school. Students from Secondary 1 through 5 were invited to attend 45-minute lectures by one of 19 guest speakers.

"The idea is to expose the students to careers and to create a potential interest in those careers," QHS guidance counsellor Diane Hostetler explained.

Career Day is just one of several efforts made by the school to expose students to potential career choices. Other examples include field trips to vocational educational facilities Les Olympiades, Take a Student to Work Day and an optional job shadowing program in Secondary 5.

"Students enjoy these presentations and remember them for a long time," Hostetler added.