Scientists of the future

G.W. Graham's biannual science fair had over 200 submissions; 15 were selected to go to the regional fair in Abbotsford in April.

Quinn Ingham demonstrates how his water filtration project works during G.W. Graham's biannual science fair on Thursday.

Quinn Ingham intends to take his water filtration system global. But first, he needs to win the regional science fair.

Ingham’s project, along with 14 other projects from the G.W. Graham middle school science fair, has been selected to represent the school at the regionals in Abbotsford.

Every two years, G.W. Graham middle-secondary school holds a science fair for its grades 7 and 8 students judged by GWG teachers and those in the science field.

The goal is to develop a young passion for science.

“This is so much about engagement, empowerment and choice,” said Chernoff.

“I hope we’re instilling a love for science and a love for lifelong learning.”

Like a tumbleweed blowing in the wind, Chernoff flits from one project to another, pointing out their individual excellences.

Electricity, gravity, magnetic levitation, germination, and more were on display – all with a tweenaged touch.

“I’ve seen crazy great projects today,” she said.

Listening to Grade 7 student Jack Lawson confidently talk about Newton’s law of gravitation, spouting out words and phrases like friction and centrifugal force as he explains the five trials he conducted using marbles and three down-sloped tracks, you’d expect to see a through-the-roof GPA next to his name. Not the “regular, every day” type grades he’s used to.

“But now he is completely engaged with science,” said Chernoff.

“There’s engagement everywhere.”

Grade 7 student Emma Gorby spent hours fiddling with magnetic forces, creating magic-like displays that repelled and propelled the metals before them.

Grade 7 student Sydney Dombowsky wanted to see how germ-filled her school was. Using petrie dishes and cotton swabs, she sampled keyboards, water fountains, locks, railings, and toilet seats in the girl’s washroom.

After a week of sitting at room temperature, Dombowsky – both excited and disgusted with the results – learned the gym’s water fountain and the library’s keyboard had grown the most bacteria.

“There’s a lot of bacteria in this school,” said Dombowsky, scrunching up her nose.

Third world awareness projects were featured in abundance.

Grade 7 student Madeline McCulloch took Brazilian Alfredo Moser’s idea of creating electricity with nothing more than a plastic bottle filled with water, a tiny bit of bleach, and the sun for her project.

“Some people don’t have access to electricity because they can’t afford it, and I wanted to see how this idea could work,” said McCulloch, showing off the results as she illuminated the black draped diorama of her project. “It’s a very inexpensive way to light a home.”

And then there was Quinn Ingham’s water-filtration system.

The Grade 8 student knew his facts, he knew that there are one in nine countries without access to clean water – 750 million people.

The science-loving student went to work. In a plastic bottle with a cut-out bottom, he created seven layers of rinsed fine and course sands and gravels, each separated by a coffee filter. He then poured brown, murky, dirty water – similar to that he imagined would be seen in third world countries – through the filter into a clean container.

The difference was visually startling – brown to fairly clear in no time.

While it’s not yet capable of filtering bacteria or viruses, it can filter sediment, mineral oil, chlorine, pesticides and other oils. And, according to Ingham’s taste test, “it’s actually not bad.”

“I’d like to build it up in the future,” he said. “I only had a couple weeks to work on it. With more time, I feel I could do more with it.”

Chernoff, who’s organized seven middle school science fairs in Chilliwack, hopes this year is the year they obtain gold at regionals, which will get them a spot at nationals.

The Fraser Valley regional science fair will be held in Abbotsford in April.

Just Posted

UPDATE w/ VIDEO: Chilliwack homeless camp given eviction notice

Inside the camp that will be removed by Monday RCMP according to trespass notice

Missing Chilliwack teen found ‘safe and sound’

Boy found just as mother was organizing search

Chilliwack Rotary club reports $4,200 theft at storage shed

Rotary Train Shed adjacent to homeless camp on reserve land broken into Oct. 15

Rainfall warning issued across Lower Mainland into the weekend

50 to 70 mm of rain expected to fall starting overnight Friday and into Sunday morning

UPDATE: Chilliwack mother issues plea for info on missing son

Informal search party organized for 13-year-old boy not seen since Thursday

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

VIDEO: Body discovered at scene of dumpster fire behind Langley City mall

Area behind furniture store taped off after firefighters find deceased woman while battling blaze

Most Read