Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Science Fair 09.

Today I volunteered to judge 36th annual Waterloo Wellington Regional Science Fair. The Fair is a day long event. All of the projects have won the science fairs at their respective schools and have moved on to present at this regional fair. The students range in grade from 8 to 12. There are several divisions which are divided based on age and field of study. I judged 7 displays from the Life Science and Biotechnology categories in both the junior and senior divisions. I was impressed by the level of effort and dedication the students put into their projects. One of the students decided to test the effect of energy drinks on his hockey performance. He was in grade 8 and had a rink in his backyard. He shook my hand and offered me a seat while he talked about the skills he tested after him and his dad drank Red Bull, Full Throttle, and some other highly caffeinated, sugar water drink. He had to have special permission to incorporate these drink products into his study because they aren't permitted in his elementary school (good thing, in my opinion). His observations about the way the drink altered his performance were things like 'made me fidgety'. I was impressed by his cleverness and his determination to study the contraband beverage. I tried to ask several questions, but unfortunately he was never quite able to explain what some of the negative aspects of consuming these drinks were. He also had a hard time explaining why the information he gained was useful and beneficial to the general public. I think this is where most the projects began to breakdown. And I do suppose that this sort of cognitive synthesis is going beyond the level of most grade 8 students as well.

Overall I had a really fun time. It seemed like the students were having a great time too. I think this sort of an atmosphere is great for teaching the importance of displaying your work well and sharing the information you gather.

I actually went to the Science Fair with one of my friends from down the hall in Integrative Biology. She is heading into her 7th semester and mentioned the fact that she is finishing up the last edits of her thesis. When she handed her first draft in it was only 20 pages long! I'm way past that point now, so I think I'm going to hammer out the ending and focus on submitting it asap. Even if the discussion isn't quite up to par this will get my committee talking about it and I could use some suggestions. I need to stop feeling stuck, put the ideas down on paper, and work on things from there. Moving to the next point is the goal at the moment and that requires letting all of my readers see a fair copy and sign my request for evaluation form.

Just now I also made a change to my blogger template. I managed to figure out how to edit the html and add a label cloud! I've been wanting to make that change for awhile, but I was intimidated by all of the lines of code. Blogger doesn't seem to have a gadget for just adding-on a cloud. So I went to this friendly site: phydeaux3 and figured out to add their code into mine. I also found this really cool 216 Web Safe Color Chart in order to change the colours of all of the features on my blog. I'm sure this will come in very handy in the future now that I know how to use it. I ended up making my cloud range from light pink to burgundy.

And in other exciting news, as I was browsing through the recent updates of blogs I keep tabs on, I found that the muffin bunnies were featured on IndieFixx along with a cool tutorial for these sweet little cherry blossoms.

At another of my favourite blogs, I found a tutorial for making tulle blossoms was posted yesterday. These flower crafts are so fresh and spring-timey to me. I wish there wasn't a blizzard outside. I think I'm going to have to incorporate some of these ideas into my secret swap package that's heading to South Africa this week.

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