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What I Learned from the Grade 9 Science Fair

Academics
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The annual Grade 9 Science Fair—one of the biggest and most important projects of the year for this grade—took place on Wednesday, February 8!

The Grade 9 Science Fair is one of the most important and longest projects of the year for the Grade 9s that started back in October.

“It is an opportunity for students to design their own science experiments or projects based on their own interests,” explains Ms. Simard, science teacher and organizer of the Science Fair. 

Students began the day by listening to a presentation by staff members of Dino Lab Inc., a local business in Victoria that works to restore some of the world’s rarest fossils! Students received a brochure about the business as well as a fun sticker with a picture of a T-rex skull.  Students also got to touch some of the replicated skulls of a Tyrannosaurus rex and a juvenile Allosaurus.

“The DinoLab Inc. presentation was also really appreciated both in the Middle School and Senior School assemblies,” said Ms. Simard “It was so refreshing to finally have our guest speaker come here in person, after two years of doing Zoom calls with them in Denford Hall!” 

After gorging themselves on snacks that provided much needed energy, the Grade 9s headed to their stations to prepare for judging. Those who were in the learning commons had the opportunity to be adjudicated by Senior School students in Grades 10 and 11 as well as teachers in hopes of getting selected to attend the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair. 

The topics ranged from baking cookies and muffins to testing how music or gum affects concentration among students. 

“My project was testing how fears change with age,” said Reese Suntok ’26, “I enjoyed learning this topic because it helped me understand which generation was most anxious (36-46 years old) and the reasoning behind it.” 

Ylinn Wang ’26 based her project on another one she did last year at her previous school. “It was mostly language stuff and was mainly a follow-up for last year’s concours d’art oratoire,” she said. 

During the exhibition, students, faculty members and parents had the opportunity to visit and explore some of the projects. Many students had to present their projects over 10 times! 

Although many complained about being brain-dead and having a tired throat for the rest of the day, they were all happy that they were able to showcase their projects. 

“It was interesting to learn anything I wanted to but at the same time, it was stressful due to the amount of time it took outside of class,” said Reese. “But I really liked how we got to have a break, some snacks and a small chunk of time to see and visit our friends’ exhibits.” 

“I liked the idea of it and how it was a public event. I wish that there was an equal chance for everyone in the gym to present, but it was otherwise enjoyable,” said Ylinn. 

“It is always a big project for the Grade 9 students to complete as they start Senior School,” said Ms. Simard who also agreed that the Science Fair went very well this year. “It was exciting to have visitors again (both other classes and families!) after two years without a full fair happening. We had great comments from the public who came to visit and were quite impressed by the quality of many of the projects. The Grade 10 and 11 judges also really enjoyed their experience of evaluating the projects to help us determine who will be invited to participate in the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair. They mentioned that they learned a lot from the Grade 9 students they evaluated, and I have to say I am also surprised every year by the variety and originality of some of the projects.”  

We should know in the next week or so who is moving to the next stage for the regional fair, and awards will be announced during the assembly on February 22.

“My advice for other students would be for them to start answering the report questions ASAP once they have their data. It gives the student a lot of time to think of answers and organize without feeling rushed. It is also best to do it ASAP because tests will not happen for a month or so after winter break,” advised Reese to future Grade 9s. She hopes that her advice will help them feel less stress as they work towards finishing their projects. 

For me, I really enjoyed the Science Fair and if I had the chance, I would do it again because it has taught me how to manage and use my time wisely. It also taught me how to problem-solve and critically think because sometimes your experiment does not work and the data you collect is not what you expected. I have learned that sometimes you have to take a step back and start analyzing your experiment from different angles. I would advise future Grade 9s to feel free to ask for support and help from their teachers and from family members because the science fair requires a lot of work and dedication. One of the misconceptions I learned is that you shouldn’t believe science fair projects need to be on topics that are considered traditional science. From the variety of projects that were presented on Wednesday, it is evident that science is everywhere!

Overall, the Science Fair went well and students are happy that they are finished and that they have acquired both new skills and knowledge. We would like to thank Ms. Simard, the science teachers and the volunteer judges for helping make this year’s Science Fair a success!