Otago Science Fair

By Petra Leonard | Posted: Monday August 14, 2017

21 Science fair projects entered into the Otago Science Fair alongside other schools. 29 prizes awarded for Tahuna!

This year it was compulsory for both our Year 7 and 8's to create a Science fair project. 

They had to come up with a 'real world issue' or something that interested them to investigate.

We had an immense number of entries into our Tahuna Science fair. The students came up with some really interesting and intriguing  topics such as:

Is it a Bizz or will it Fizz?


Ready, Set, Blow!

The Bad side of Sugar?

Keep Calm and watch the flowers change

Mastering Toffee

We brought in scientist Andrew Innes and a Physics expert to help us award some projects entry into the Otago Science Fair. With plenty of applicants  we found 10 year 7 entries and 13 year 8 entries. 

They were so impressed, here is what Andrew Innes had to say:

TNIS Science Fair 2017

It is a valuable and worthwhile challenge to do a science fair investigation. This is a marvellous opportunity to learn about an idea that may have been “sparked off” by what you have been doing in science at school, talking to your families or was something you have observed and want to find out more.

I was most impressed by the number of different ideas that were investigated well and presented most professionally. It is important to attract people to your investigations. Capture the attention of your “audience” now by having an interesting idea, “do the science” properly. I was pleased to see the words hypothesis and abstract, variables, method, results or data and conclusions (what did you find out!), you are doing good science.

I have been most impressed by the effort the students made to complete the projects and what they have found out. I have seen many science fair projects and enjoy learning new stuff every year. One piece of advice is that in your conclusion, make sure your try and explain what the results are telling you.

This helps you understand new science ideas like what happens to the chemical “glue” that hold slime together!!

Well done

Andrew Innes

Many entries received a 'Highly Commended' alongside a 'Participation' award.

We then went to the Otago Science Fair held at the Hutton theatre in the Otago Museum. Many other schools were judged alongside us, and the standard of work was absolutely excellent.

Our students did particularly well, with just about all of our entries receiving a prize.

Dairy NZ Prize

Robbie McCaw: Tale of two streams

Alex Moore: Hot air maps

Zandar Beker: What tack is strongest?

Dodd- Walls Prize

Zac Diehl: and Matthew Begg: Dangerous Devices

Millie Todd: The secrets of light

NZ association of Optometrists

Millie Todd: The secrets of light

NZ baking trust

Henare Te Morenga: He aha taku rewana i kawa ai

NZ institute of Food science and Technology

Henare Te Morenga: He aha taku rewana i kawa ai

NZ institute of Physics

Millie Todd: The secrets of light

James Gardner and Cam Fraser: Night Light

NZ Psycology Society Otago-Southland Branch

Sam Stedman: Social Media and Bullying in intermediate aged children

University of Otago Dept. of Human Nutrition

Ella McBride and Fox Gill: Salt Busters

University of Otago Dept. of Zoology

Nuka Breitbarth: Algae Cuppa

University of Otago School Surveying

Alex Moore: Hot air maps

NZ Oil and Gas Award for Science Education

Ella McBride and Fox Gill: Salt Busters

OSTA Award for General Excellence

Millie Todd: The secrets of light

Forest and Bird Conservation Award

Robbie McCaw: A tale of two streams

Aurora Prize

Ella McBride and Fox Gill: Salt Busters

Isabella Arnold: Leakage Freakage

Aria McGill: Think Fast

Mereana Martin: Tomahawk Trash

James Gardner and Cam Fraser: Night Light

Shelby Thompson: Can exercise improve your memory?

Frauke Haase: Soap Boat

Hazel McDermott: Sink or Swim

William Harbrow: Fuel 'em up

Zac Diehl and Matthew Begg: Dangerous Devices

Zandar Beker: What tack is the strongest?

The following students give a description on their journey through the trials and sufferings of conducting a science project (sorry parents and caregivers!), and their experience of the Otago Science fair and award ceremony.

Nuka's Otago Science Fair

My science fair was called Algae Cuppa., as I wanted to find out if algae grow better in tea than in lagoon water. As a result no, lagoon water is better and so are warmer temperatures but I still grew quite a lot of algae.

My science fair was lots of fun and I loved working on my experiment. I never expected to win a prize, it was already awesome that I got into the Otago Science fair. I won 25$ from the Zoology department at the prize giving on the 13th, a lot of people, a lot of prizes, a lot of names.

I originally wanted to use coffee not tea, but a boy in my class was already testing if coffee increases grass growth and felt too similar. Anyway the Otago Science fair was lots of fun true we just stood there until we got judged  but I made a new friend and we just talked. That pretty much sums up my science fair experience.

Otago Science fair by Zac Diehl and Matthew Begg

For the science fair we were learning about electro magnetic frequency radiation or EMFR. When we found out we had won two prizes for our project we were really surprised and happy. It took up so much time testing and conducting the experiment, we were very speedy when it came to writing it all down.

Our board was one of the first to get judged so we were out of the theatre where they held the science fair very fast.Talking in front of the judges about our project was hard and nerve wracking. It was tricky and sometimes we were lost for words. The judges asked a lot more questions than we thought they would.

A few days later we came back and found that we won prizes for the Radiation study and the Cancer society. It took an hour for all the awards to be handed out, but it felt like much longer. 

Overall, we are happy with the result and we really enjoyed the science fair. We will definitely try harder next year!

A massive congratulations to all our participants and especially our recipients, Tahuna is so proud of your effort, and we thank the parents and caregivers who gave up time, sanity and resources.

Petra Leonard

Year 8 Classroom Teacher

Head of Science