Drums and dragons among projects vying for SciTec Marlborough fair


Year 6 pupil Gus Wilson shares his tips for a well-built drum set at the Springlands School SciTec fair.

Anthony Phelps/Stuff

Year 6 pupil Gus Wilson shares his tips for a well-built drum set at the Springlands School SciTec fair.

How could dragons breathe fire, are bigger parachutes better, and what is the perfect shape for a car ramp?

These are some of the tricky questions pupils at Springlands School set out to answer for their SciTec fair projects, presented in the school hall last week for judging.

Year 6 pupil Gus Wilson, 11, spoke about his work to design a homemade drum set. Gus was hoping to build one affordably, using eco-friendly materials, and his research included watching online tutorials and surveying his classmates.

After trialling and scoring three prototypes, he made a series of conclusions, including that a taut material such as animal skin was the best surface, and that bigger drums made more noise.

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Marlborough Girls’ College Year 12 Technology students Allie Treloar and Temiah Cyster, who came along with their classmates to act as judges for the day, said they were surprised and impressed by the quality of the presentations.

“Some of them have more passion than others, but the ideas are all so good,” Allie said.

Temiah said her favourite projects included a dog feeding alarm, which the team coded a programme for themselves, and an edible slime made of vegetables, to encourage picky eaters to eat their vegetables.

Marlborough Girls’ College Technology students Temiah Cyster, left, and Allie Treloar listen as Gus Wilson gives his presentation.

Anthony Phelps/Stuff

Marlborough Girls’ College Technology students Temiah Cyster, left, and Allie Treloar listen as Gus Wilson gives his presentation.

“It’s so cool to see the future generation have such great ideas.”

SciTec chief judge Hugh Lensen said he was also very impressed by the standard. With 104 exhibitions, Springlands School was the biggest school fair he would attend for judging.

“It’s great to see questions like, how could dragons be able to fly – you think it sounds straightforward but they’ve really gone into the mechanics of it, the Bernoulli Effect … and even whether dragons could breathe fire, the scientific mechanisms that would allow that to happen.”

Chief judge Hugh Lensen discusses research about greenstone carvings with Year 5 pupil Max Mailer, 9.

Anthony Phelps/Stuff

Chief judge Hugh Lensen discusses research about greenstone carvings with Year 5 pupil Max Mailer, 9.

He also enjoyed the enthusiasm of the pupils, he said.

“The really small ones get so excited, and push each other out of the way to get the chance to tell you what they know.”

Lensen and his judges would review 407 exhibits from more than 700 students across the region, and the highest scoring projects would represent the school at the regional SciTec Fair next week.

The fair had been held annually since the 1960s and now ran as a partnership between the Blenheim Lions, school teachers and 29 community sponsors including major sponsor Marlborough Lines.

Springlands School organising teacher Leanne Guyton said the fair allowed the pupils to investigate something they were genuinely interested in, while following scientific processes.

“It’s also fabulous for learning about working with other people, and following a project through to completion. And they all look so cool at the end, and it’s neat to see how proud they are of what they’ve achieved.”

Last year the fair ran as a virtual fair due to Covid Alert Level 2, but was back as normal at Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 next week.

The regional SciTec fair is held at the Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000, as pictured in 2017.

Ricky Wilson/Stuff

The regional SciTec fair is held at the Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000, as pictured in 2017.

The fair would get under way on Tuesday with a celebration involving more than 400 students.

While judging was still being completed, Lensen estimated more than 150 exhibits would be presented at the fair by about 250 students from 12 schools, as well as one home-schooled student.

The public are welcome to view the projects from 9am to 5pm on Wednesday, before a prize giving ceremony later that night.

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