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Historic Results at NIWA Science Fair for College

September 21, 2023 at 2:52 PM

The NIWA Auckland Science and Technology Fair draws the most inquisitive minds from schools across Auckland to showcase their research findings. While our College has consistently seen student participation, this year saw historic results. As in years past, the competition has provided an excellent platform to spotlight our budding scientists' talent and innate curiosity.

Giving up their lunchtimes, Year 9-13 students part of the Science Fair Club used their breaks to craft hypotheses about nature, completed the meticulous work of unravelling possible solutions, and emerged with unique discoveries. The Year 7 projects were conceptualised in their Science Fair unit, with the best chosen for entry into NIWA.

Among the standout projects, Ivy Wang took the crown in the Year 11-13 Open category. Not only did she secure first place, but she also scooped up three special awards, including the prestigious Premier Award for Best Exhibit of the Fair, Best Use of Statistics Prize, and Best Innovation, Invention or Investigation by a Year 13.

Her research explored the influence of sediment and pneumatophore properties of Mangroves on crab size and distribution in the Tamaki estuary. In collaboration with Professor of Marine Ecology and Aquaculture, Andrea C. Alfaro’s team at the Auckland University of Technology, she had the opportunity to contribute to the research article to be published in The National High School Journal of Science titled “Abundance and distribution of New Zealand tunnelling mud crab (Austrohelice crassa) in mangrove and pneumatophore habitats.” Her many hours in the summer certainly paid dividends, as the overall winner at NIWA.

Melanie Yin emerged as the winner in the Year 9-10 Environmental Science/Planet Earth & Beyond category with her project on antibacterial inhibition by natural essential oils. Melanie's investigation aimed to identify the most effective essential oil for eco-friendly kitchen wipes. She earned two special awards for her work - Environmental Award and tied for Best Innovation, Invention or Investigation by Year 10 with College students George and Oliver McGuniess.

George and Oliver won first place in the Year 9-10 Physical and Material World category. Their project was an innovative model simulating the force exerted by a syringe catheter system, which is vital for clot-busting drugs used in heart surgery.

Sean Wang secured second place in the Year 11-13 Open category with his intriguing study on the Marangoni effect. In this phenomenon, particles appear to flow backward when tea is poured from a teapot.

In the Year 9-10 Physical and Material World category, Micah Chen investigated the impact of rosin application on the amplitude of sound produced by a violin, earning him a well-deserved second place. Audrey Lin, highly commended in the same category, conducted a detailed spectroscopic analysis of iron content in different food groups.

Meanwhile, in the Year 7-8 Physical and Material World category, Isaac Wong's project on the influence of the number of sides on a 3D shape's mass-bearing capacity earned him a highly commended award.

Last, Alex Kirke's exploration of electrolyte concentration in various drinks and the effect of temperature on electrolyte levels earned him a highly commended award in the Year 7-8 Consumer Science category.

These exceptional young researchers have proven their expertise in creative inquiry skills and displayed rigour in the process of what can often be arduous testing. As they continue their educational journeys, we eagerly await their subsequent discoveries and contributions in scientific fields.

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