Sunday, March 25, 2012

Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair

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  Well it was a long weekend! This weekend was the 50th annual Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and we had the only homeschooled student who participated to ferry back and forth!

I heard about this science fair before Christmas, and when I told Emmi about it she got excited about doing a science fair project. My dad (Granddad) agreed to act as her "mentor" and he walked her through the process of designing and doing an experiement. After talking to him, she decided she would like to do an experiment with baking, and Granddad suggested taking out one ingredient from something and trying other substitutes in its place. They settled on eggs in cupcakes.
Granddad helping at the set up of the project at the fair.
In January Emmi baked 8 batches of cupcakes, one control group (with eggs) and then tried 7 substitutes that she discovered through internet research (with my help!). She then had to measure, weigh (ok take the mass for you science geeks out there!) and find the volume of each of these cupcakes. I helped with some, and Pip helped some. Then Daddy taught her basic skills on a spreadsheet and she spent one afternoon entering all her data. The science fair rules excluded any ingestion (eating!) by any subjects for the experiments so she had to judge how good her cupcakes were by measuring - she decided to try measuring density because in her opinion a cupcake should be light and fluffy. When all the data was sorted and collected, banana turned out to be the best substitute!

The NRSEF is for the winners of school science fairs, but they also accept other "top projects" from schools, so we were allowed to apply to the top projects group, and the NRSEF committee chooses some from that pool to come to the fair. The application deadline was early February, and Emmi did a small write up and sent in a summary (her abstract). In March we got the exciting news that her project was accepted, and so she had to do a full write-up, and also get her display board together.

Friends visiting Emily at the fair. Maybe they'll do a project next year!
This weekend she attended the fair all day on Saturday. Saturday morning was the judging, and then in the afternoon all the grade 7 and 8's participated in Brock's Youth University. Today (Sunday) was the public open house, and many people came to the fair to see the projects, including some of our friends and Grandpa!
Grandpa came to visit the fair!
 The whole experience was a lot of work but very worth while! I learned a lot about science fair projects as Emmi's teacher, and she learned a ton. She learned how to use some basic computer programs (like spreadsheets) that we hadn't taught her yet, and how to do library research, how to make footnotes and endnotes, how to structure an experiment, how to do simple data analysis, and the list goes on! She had to speak to a lot of people she didn't know, including the judges and other participants, and answer their questions. She is very tired from her weekend, but she is already thinking about next year's project! And Pip is fired up too - he thinks he would like to do a project when he is old enough and come to the science fair too!

1 comment:

The Lee Family said...

What a fantastic experience - and I love the topic! Way to go, Emily! :)