Mackenzie Carter has been working on his science fair project since last summer. His dedication paid off this week at the Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair. The Grade 12 student at St. John’s Kilmarnock School (SJK) in Breslau took home the event’s top prize, the Award of Excellence, as well as a gold medal for Senior Engineering, an Award of Merit and a best-of-division award.
Carter’s project, a STOL ’n Lift, is a device that allows aircrafts to take off and land in shorter distances – STOL is short takeoff and landing.
The Waterloo-Wellington Science and Engineering Fair is an annual event that brings together the best of the young scientific minds in the region. Winners at the regional fair, including Carter, will go on to the Canada-wide science fair. As well, some have been placed on Team Canada at the international science and engineering fair.
Each year more than 300 projects are submitted by 350 students from about 30 different public, separate and independent schools in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.
The projects were placed into one of five divisions – biotechnology, Earth science, engineering science, life science, or physical science. Within each of these divisions the projects are further divided into one of three categories, according to the grades of the participants – junior (Grades 7 and 8), intermediate (Grades 9 and 10) or senior (Grades 11, and 12). Students from Grade 6 have periodically attended the fair with demonstration projects.
More than 120 judges from local schools, universities, colleges, businesses and industries volunteer their time to judge the projects and provide valuable feedback to the students.
The projects and students are judged according to a national standard that includes the scientific method, creativity, organization, research, background knowledge, visual impact and a written summary of the project.
At SJK, their biennial science fair is a large-scale event that brings in about 50 judges from surrounding universities, colleges and local industries to evaluate the offerings of students in Grades 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12. Ian Hornsby, assistant head of school at SJK, facilitates the fair each year and keeps an eye on certain projects throughout their development – all leading up to this week’s regional event.
“You are never really quite sure what you are going to see at a science fair,” said Hornsby. “But the kids continue to amaze me. I am always taken by surprise by the knowledge that the students have, and what they are able to communicate to the judges.”
Carter is one of 17 students from SJK who competed in the event. Additionally in Woolwich, nine students from St. Jacobs Public School participated, alongside another nine students from St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School in Elmira.
“This really is a great event,” added Hornsby. “The creativity blows me away every year.”