Renewable and alternative energy, solutions to the Sargassum seaweed dilemma, cosmetics using all-natural ingredients, water filtration systems and how to use rainwater to fight fires were among the displays at The St Michael School’s third annual Science Fair, held in the school hall recently.
Head of the Science Department Carol Cumberbatch said the fair featured displays from first form, fourth form and sixth form students, and this year’s theme was in keeping with Government’s new thrust towards promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). “The Science Fair came about because we want our students to be more engaged in science, to see it not just as something they study in a book, but subjects they can apply to their future careers. This year, we introduced the concept My STEM Career, so we encouraged our students to find their career and determine how science can be used in it.”
She said the projects formed part of the students’ school-based assessments in the CCSLC, CSEC and CAPE examinations, and the feedback they received from the judges would help them polish up their work before submitting it to the Caribbean Examinations Council.
Two first form students, Mali Manning and Christina Bayne, came up with yet another use for Sargassum seaweed in agriculture – as a supplement in chicken feed. Mali explained, “We got some Sargassum seaweed from the beaches and we got some chickens and put them in a coop. One side only had chicken feed while the other had chicken feed supplemented with Sargassum sea moss. After a few weeks, we realized the Sargassum fed chickens were growing faster than the other ones, and their feathers and hair are much smoother and their skin is nicer than the ones only using chicken feed.” She added that they were going to test the livers after they killed the chickens to see whether they were higher in Omega 3s than normal, based on their Sargassum diet.
Fourth form students Marissa Haynes, Zarah Scott and Rishanna Smith developed a water filtration system using sand as well as the sun. Spokesperson for the group, Zarah Scott, said, “We took sand from the beach and put it in two buckets. We then took another bucket and mixed water and mud together. We then poured that water into the buckets with the sand in them and filtered it through some pipes after which the water came out cleaner than before with just a little sand residue. After boiling it, the water was completely clear and it can be used for drinking, bathing, cooking and so on. We figured it would help people in different parts of the island who have been complaining about dirty water.”
Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Professor Colin Depradine, who was one of the judges at the exhibition, was impressed with the quality of the students’ work. “The ideas the students have come up with are very good, and they are relevant to the societal problems we face. I looked at a few of the first form projects and I am seeing good prospects for the future.” (DH)