WSD students elevate science fair projects with university mentorsFebruary 2, 2024 News Story
Forty students from Grant Park, Hugh John Macdonald, Niji Mahkwa and General Wolfe schools recently visited Winnipeg School Division’s Inner-City Science Centre, collaborating with the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg mentors for their science fair projects.
This year, the Winnipeg Schools Science Fair committee has introduced a new option where students receive mentorship from university students pursuing STEM careers. The committee members involved in the project's planning include Dorothy Goddard, Program Lead, Steam and Science; Mike Kattenfield, Science teacher at Grant Park High School; and Elena Mallin, Science Coordinator.
“With the help of their mentors, students developed their ideas, researched and discussed topics related to their projects and started the design process,” said Elena Mallin, Science Coordinator at Inner City Science Centre at Niji Mahkwa School.
“This was the first of the three full-day sessions with their mentors. The intention is to support student learning and elevate and focus the science for the Science Fair.”
The role of mentors in science is crucial; they can foster scientific curiosity and skills through project-based science. For Winnipeg Schools Science Fair mentors, it means supporting students in labs and online.
Mehtab Kamal, a fifth-year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Manitoba, stated, “I was surprised at how fascinating the ideas from Grade 7 and 8 students were. Students will benefit greatly through proper guidance, planning and taking the next steps.”
“One of the ideas students came up with was to study the speed of an atom, a project that researchers at NASA are trying to do. For these students, mentorship will help them to know what to study and where to study the theories behind their curiosities.”
Another project Mr. Kamal is guiding is the “Solar Updraft Tower,” which two Grade 8 students, Jonessa Silva and Kasey Cadangan, at General Wolfe School, are planning for the WSD Science Fair.
“We chose this project because it is a renewable energy source and will help stop using fossil fuels and non-renewable energies. Our mentor helped us with the information necessary to build and improve the tower’s design,” said Jonessa Silva.
“Our mentor is helping us plan, acquire more knowledge and improve on building this solar tower and how the sunlight will generate electricity,” said Kasey Cadangan.
A teacher from each school also attended with their students to observe the design process, questioning, planning and learning.
Everyone is welcome to participate or learn from WSD students’ innovative projects at the Winnipeg Schools Science Fair on April 10th, 2024.