More than two hundred elementary and high school students from the Cariboo and Thompson regions gathered in the Thompson Rivers University gymnasium on Thursday, April 6 to compete for advancement to the national championship.
Participants also had the chance to win awards, cash prizes and a semester of tuition at TRU.
“The top five go to a national fair that happens to be in Regina this year. It is an all-expenses-paid trip and students have the opportunity to win prize money,” said Janice Karpluk, TRU faculty and event organizer.
Karpluk has organized this event for the last ten years. “We usually get about seventy volunteers – at least forty of them are TRU students. At a busy time of the year, TRU students are kind enough to judge and give tour guides [around the TRU campus],” Karpluk said.
“This is the biggest fair we have ever had and I think it is due to ‘inquiry learning’ that a lot more [elementary and secondary] schools are pushing,” Karpluk said.
One student volunteer said she heard about the opportunity to help out from one of her professors.
“When I was younger, I was in a science fair. We are also getting clinic marks for this. Within the respiratory therapy program, we have a student clinic on campus. [The hours] are worth a certain percentage of our grade. The extracurricular stuff we do goes into the portfolio for bonus marks at the end,” said Sarah Vaillancourt, a TRU science student.
From maglev (magnetic levitation) train models to student-designed, built and coded drones, the science fair had it all. Filling the entire gym with cardboard displays and eager students, TRU was doing its part to help facilitate the advancement of scientific learning within the elementary and secondary levels.
Students were judged on creativity, originality and proper procedure, among many other merits.
TRU volunteers also put on guided tours for visiting students – showing them what the future of their education may look like if they decide to continue their studies at a post-secondary institution.