One part of the big picture

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Scientific principles range from the everyday to the wild and unfathomable. But the subject touches in some way on every aspect of our lives.

Schools in the Chignecto Central region are currently immersed in science fairs, that annual event that presents topics from many areas in a public setting, projects that ideally see a student with a curious mind pitted against a problem or challenge they’ve come up against.

It’s one of the great illustrations in our schools of inquiring minds and an annual ritual that deserves all the encouragement and attention it can get.

They can involve, for example, environmental issues or matters of safeguarding health, possibly the physics involved in improving a device or even some kind of invention. Parker Wong, a retired teacher who is head judge in the Celtic Family of Schools, says the assessment involves a number of categories.

In Colchester, Margie Tate, the regional chief judge, called the science fair an opportunity for students to display their skills and talents.

Students with top projects are selected to go on to regional competition, to be held in Windsor, Ont., later this year.

Often, some of the ideas offered by students will make national news from such venues. People might remember that last year a 15-year-old student from Victoria, Ann Makosinski, won a prize at the Google Science Fair in California for her invention of a flashlight powered by the temperature difference between a person’s hand and the air. It contained Peltier tiles, which produce electricity when heated on one side and cooled on the other, with the resulting flow of electrons generating power to light an LED bulb.

Who’d have ever thought, eh?

It’s amazing what fresh young minds, when challenged, can come up with. Just such an experience can sew the seed for a career in science and determination to help solve bigger problems.

We continue to discuss the need for more emphasis on research and development. This is a part of that big picture.

Organizations: Google Science Fair

Geographic location: California, Chignecto, Colchester Windsor Victoria

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