Science in the making

James Nemes wasn’t just interested in winning the district science fair. He wants to make some big changes in the world.

Grade 7 student James Nemes demonstrates the windmill providing power for his science project

Grade 7 student James Nemes demonstrates the windmill providing power for his science project

James Nemes wasn’t just interested in winning the district science fair. He wants to make some big changes in the world.

Inspired by startling images on TV showing the decline of the polar bear problem due to shrinking ice caps, the Grade 7 student put together a project demonstrating a method of creating more ice.

“My project is to build a platform that the polar bears can live and hunt on, because if they can’t hunt, they just die of starvation,” said Nemes, who is a home learner, telling of documentaries that showed the polar bears on thin sheets of ice.  “Another one I saw was a baby cub and its mother. The baby cub died, he just couldn’t take it anymore. Eventually the mother died.”

Nemes was one of the many students whose work was on display Monday at KVR Middle School for the District Science Fair.

Using a portable electric cooler, Nemes project demonstrates the concept of creating floating platforms using wind and solar energy to provide power for the refrigeration unit.

“I noticed in my experiment that the wind energy is a little better than solar energy, because the solar energy has to recharge. Wind energy can just keep going and going,” explained Nemes.

“For me the biggest thing I see is that whole environmental piece, kids asking questions,” said Summerland Middle School principal Katie Hicks, who was judging projects at the fair. “I just judged a project on using grey water and recycling that water in our homes.”

Hicks was excited to see many of the projects looking into environmental issues, and, like Nemes, demonstrating their global awareness. She explained that teaching students how to investigate and explore the subjects they were interested in was one of the most important things about the science fair.

“It allows them to determine what is of interest to them, do the research, do the reading, do the work and then present what they find,” agreed Raja Gupta, who organizes the annual fair. “From a very unique standpoint, some of these kids become experts in their particular field.”

Gupta said this year’s projects, 88 of them altogether, were particularly impressive.

“The depth of the projects is a little stronger,” he said.

Besides teaching science at Summerland Secondary, Gupta also plays the guitar and found himself drawn to one student project in particular.

“This guy over here made his own guitar pickups. At some point I will wander over and pick his brain on how to make my guitar sound better.”

Alongside the science, another important part of the science fair is the students learning to communicate their passion and explain the project to others.

“We have some amazing projects come out of basements and bedrooms. For them to be able to speak publicly about what they have done and be able to articulate that, that is very big in science,” he said. “Who knows where any of these kids are going to be down the road, but they are public speaking at the age of 12, 13, 14. Complete strangers are walking up to them and they are being evaluated on their presentation and their work.”

Even if a small percentage continues on with work in science, Gupta said the teachers have accomplished something with these students.

“It’s like anything, if you get one person to remember one thing about something you have done … you’ve done your job,” said Gupta.


Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

Justin Fotherby,17, and Ashley McMillan, 17 have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Submitted)
Penticton swimmers off to Olympic trials

The pair are eyeing a spot on the Canadian team heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read