When scientific minds unite: the Kells Science Fair

The middle and high school science fair is a longstanding tradition shared not only by the 2020 cohort of Kells students, but likely also by their parents and grandparents. How many among us have brainstormed to come up with an original idea, applied the scientific method and presented our results to fellow classmates and judges?

Kells’ science fair is compulsory for all science students at the grades 7 through 11 levels. Its aim is to encourage students to understand the world around them, to enrich their sense of inquiry and to challenge them to seek solutions to environmental and social issues. The process helps students develop their critical thinking, conduct research, do experimentation and/or build technological objects, analyze their findings and communicate them effectively to others.

Over the years, Kells students have done very well at regional science fair competitions. We expect strong performances this year as well, and we are bringing the maximum number of entrants possible. Winners at the school wide science fair are usually chosen to represent the school at the Montreal Regional Science and Technology Fair, where they compete against other students from anglophone schools in Greater Montreal. From there, they may be chosen to compete at the provincial, national and international levels.

This year’s exhibits ranged from testing various types of bridges, to using albumin to treat skin and lavender oil for healing burns, making a fire resistant paint, designing an anti-snoring bracelet and building a smart fire alarm and de-icing sprinkler system.

The winners of the 2020 edition of the Kells Science Fair held on January 24th were:

Junior Category
1st Place: “The Fireproof Balloon”, Ankur Bhowmik & Jiachen Shi
2nd Place: Reef Noun
3rd Place: Tommy Kovalchuck & Noah Costa
Honourable Mention: Mia Bucci & Rania Taboubi

Intermediate Category
1st Place : “The Use of Albumin in Skin Treatment”, Henrique Bertolin De Luca
2nd Place: Malek Haddad
3rd Place: Arman Biberoglou & Uyighosa Isokpan
Honourable Mention: Logan Meehan- Mansi & William Bernardi, Ada Zhang & Adanaz Sayman, Ailsa Campell & Shivaani Mohan Raj

Senior Category
1st Place: “Starlite - The Ultimate Heat Resistant Paint”, Carolyn Denton & Katie Ha
2nd Place: Hai Minh Le, Antoine Coderre Chouinard
3rd Place : Armen Mohebbipour & AliReza Naziri
Honourable Mention : James Levitt, Lara Kammourrie, Jessie Pham, Ali Farokhenia & Parsa Parandi

All science teachers at Kells play a vital role in guiding the students in choosing their topics, monitoring their progress, supervising them in the lab when needed and choosing the top projects in their respective classes. They also help in the judging process in the school wide fair. Ms. Burstein, Ms. Suvorova, Ms. Ghanem, Ms. Morzycki, Ms. Bartczak, and Ms. Sawchyn all helped their students participate in this year's science fair. This year’s judges at the school-wide science fair included two of Kells’ very own science teachers, Mr. Jankowski and Ms. Sanmugalingam, as well as high school principal Neil Banerjee, civil and mechanical engineers from McGill and Concordia, graduate and undergraduate and science students, and a previous International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) participant. Thanks to all who volunteered to adjudicate!

In addition, our science department head, Ms. Ghanem, is a member of the Educational Alliance for Science and Technology (EAST) where she volunteers as Scientific Review Committee Chair for the Montreal chapter of the International Science Fair. Ms. Ghanem works with winners from regional science fairs to ensure that they qualify for the international competition, liaises with the university professors who review their projects and travels to the United States with students from Montreal schools chosen to compete at the international level, acting as chaperone.

As the great Isaac Asimov once said “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” but “that’s funny”. Here’s hoping Kells students continue to push the boundaries of their curiosity for many more years to come. Long live the Kells science fair!