On Friday, February 20 over 200 students throughout the Vancouver School District will congregate at Langara College for the annual Vancouver District Science Fair (VDSF). With over 100 outstanding projects representing grade 7 to 12 students from nearly 20 schools in Vancouver, the event promises to be a large spectacle that demonstrates what young scientific minds can do with creativity. This year's crop of projects include catchy title such as "Ouch that Hurt! Do Single Sensory Distraction Methods Reduce Infant Pain/Distress during Vaccination"
This district wide event is a great opportunity for students with all levels of experience in science to share their ideas with a wider community. Having worked countless hours to design and develop a project on a topic of their own, these students will be judged by professionals of the field who will give them valuable feedback on their project and answer any questions students may have about their future options or potential careers in science.
Together, a total of 85 projects will be selected from the junior, intermediate and senior levels to represent Vancouver at the Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair (GVRSF), which will be held in April at UBC.
"Students have such high energy at this event, and they really have a good time with all of the activities. We have students that have been participating for two, three or even four consecutive years! They just keep coming back," says Harry Yuen, a science teacher at Britannia Secondary School and the Master of Ceremony for the event.
A new feature for Grade 11 and 12 students this year will be the opportunity to present their projects at a symposium in front of their peers and a panel of expert judges. Participants will engage in the peer review process by being both providers and receivers of collaborative feedback, much like in the real world of scientific research. In addition, a handful of 5th and 6th grade students have been selected by their teachers to showcase their exceptional projects at the VDSF.
Jeanne Yu, a teacher at Churchill Secondary and the organizer of VDSF, emphasizes the importance of giving students this opportunity to network with other youth as well as experts in the scientific community who can provide valuable insight on how to pursue their career passions.
"We are grateful for the 100 or so volunteer judges that donate their time from their busy professional lives to come and judge these projects," says Bianca Henderson, the VDSF chief judge and a teacher at David Thompson Secondary. "This event just won't happen without them The VDSF would indeed be impossible without the continuous amazing support from teachers and community partners such as Langara.
This is Langara College's third year as VSDF host and this year they have designed a wide variety of workshops that incorporate fascinating topics with hands-on fun for participants.
In the "Hexaflexagon and Hexastix" workshop, students will make their own hexaflexagon and create a 72 pencil hexastix structure. In the "Use Your Heads" workshop, students will examine animal skulls from the Langara biology department! These seminars are meant to encourage collaboration and teamwork as well as provide hands-on experience in scientific setting.
The VDSF is not only a chance for students to explore options and further inspire their scientific pursuits but also a great occasion to connect with like-minded peers, have fun, and receive recognition for their efforts.
This event is open to the community and vistors are welcome to drop by on February 20 from 4:30-7pm in Langara's main gym.