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Fair day for science in Rankin
Project quality, community support up for annual event

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 3, 2014

November is a month student science lovers look forward to in Rankin Inlet.

NNSL photo/graphic

Grade 9 student Nathaniel Ymana makes sure everything's good to go on his group's project on conducting electricity during the Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik Science Fair in Rankin Inlet this past week. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik (MUI) in Rankin and Tusarvik School in Repulse Bay are usually the only two Kivalliq schools to host their science fair before the Christmas holiday break.

MUI held its fair this past week, and science teachers Katharine O'Connell and Jennifer Zeinstra are pleased with the results.

O'Connell said about 90 projects were entered in this year's fair, with more than 150 students taking part.

She said with the exception of one student who entered the fair on their own time, only those enrolled in science this semester took part in the fair.

"Two judges we've had here in the past said the quality of projects was better than previous years," said O'Connell. "There were a few that stood out, but another good handful of projects were all within the same range of scientific thought.

"To me, that shows the quality is getting better."

Zeinstra said students put a lot of effort into their projects this time out.

She said it can be hard to gauge which fair has the better projects from year to year due to varying subjects.

"Project topics change over time, sometimes drastically," said Zeinstra.

"That can make it difficult to rank the projects against previous years.

"The students put in a lot of time and effort this year and it showed in the end result."

Zeinstra said MUI students have a good start with the scientific method process.

She said they've improved their ability to identify purpose, hypothesis, materials and procedure.

"An area they can, perhaps, improve upon is their analysis of how projects are relevant to everyday life.

"That's an area we can focus on moving forward."

O'Connell agrees, saying a number of projects in this year's fair featured unique, or somewhat different, topics.

But, she said, the follow through on the original thought can be lacking.

"Some may have had a really cool idea, and they did some testing," said O'Connell.

"But, as Jenn said, the analyses and displaying of their data wasn't as clear.

"They'll have pretty solid projects if they can work on that area, and we did have three or four like that."

MUI will announce its winning projects this coming Friday, Dec. 5.

The top four students will advance to the Kivalliq Regional Science Fair at Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School in Baker Lake from March 27 to 29.

The top finishers in the regional event will advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Fredericton, N.B., from May 10 to 16.

The MUI students received strong support from the community this year.

O'Connell said a good number of parents came to view the projects and watch the science show.

"This was one of our best turnouts.

"We had more people for the evening viewing than any time I can remember during the past seven or eight years."

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