On Friday, March 4th around 200 students from across the district will descend upon the Langara campus for the annual Vancouver District Science Fair (VDSF). With over 100 projects representing Grade 7 to 12 students from nearly 20 schools, this event has become a yearly showcase of the District's budding scientists.
This year's roster of projects include catchy titles such as "When the Meat Meets the Ground" and "Sizing the Rainbow", and intellectually-stimulating titles such as "Preparation of an Important Intermediate in the Synthesis of anti-tuberculosis natural agent Escobarine A".
Science fair projects are the culmination of many hours of work, much of it self-directed and conducted outside of school. Students oversee every stage of the process as they brainstorm, plan, experiment, revise, and synthesize. Having already shared their work within their own school community, participants at the VDSF will be bringing their projects to a wider audience that includes judges drawn from the local scientific community - university students, college professors, research associates, and industry professionals. A contingent of projects selected from the junior, intermediate and senior levels will then advance to the Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair (GVRSF) at UBC in April.
"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 Chemistry teacher at Britannia Secondary School who is the Master of Ceremony for the event.
While junior and intermediate projects are being evaluated by teams of judges, senior participants will be presenting to a review panel in front of their peers. Meanwhile, a handful of eager 5th and 6th graders will be exhibiting their projects at the VDSF for the first time - and hopefully not the last!
The entire event promises to be an evening of science. In addition to hearing about and discussing each other's projects, VDSF participants will be treated to hands-on workshops put on by Langara faculty and students. Langara has generously hosted the VDSF for the past 4 years and their workshops are always a hit with participants. This year's selection is sports-themed and include a statistics workshop on hockey analytics, a chemistry workshop on plastic polymers in high-performance gear, and a kinesiology workshop on the mechanics of the perfect jump - perhaps some inspiration for next year's project?
The VDSF would be impossible without the enthusiastic support it receives from the local community, including VSB teachers and student volunteers. Bianca Henderson, VDSF chief judge and science teacher at David Thompson Secondary, adds, "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. This event just wouldn't happen without them."
The VDSF is not only a chance for students to exchange ideas and extend their scientific horizons but also a great occasion to connect with like-minded peers, receive recognition for their efforts, and enjoy all things science.
This event is open to the public, so everyone is encouraged to come by Langara's main gym on Friday, March 4th from 4:30pm to 7:00pm to check it out.