Two entries from Hazlet School will advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa this May after placing at the top of the Chinook Regional Science Fair.
The project Helping Hand by the tandem of Grade 12 student Braelynne Heck and Grade 11 student Sophia Antoniuk was judged as Best In Fair, while Cassandra Benson, a Grade 12 Hazlet School student, was runner-up for her project Starving Our Brains.
Both projects will now advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa on May 12 to 19.
Hazlet School students have now advanced projects to the Canada-Wide Science Fair during five of the past seven years dating back to 2012. (2017 – Joseph Heck and Tyson Anderson – Solar Sausage; 2014 – Mattea Heck, Do You Feel the Burn?; 2013 – Nathan Benson, Long Term Effects of Hyper Gravity on Plant Growth; 2012 – Alex Sletten and Nathan Benson, Coil Guns).
The 2018 top project Helping Hand utilized 3D printing technology and myoelectic sensors to build an affordable prosthetic with the capability to perform basic hand functions triggered by specific arm muscles. Heck and Antoniuk say the inspiration for their project came after watching a television news story which highlighted a prosthetic that was wired directly into an individual’s brain, allowing that amputee to actually ‘feel’ with a prosthetic.
“It just blew us away,” Antoniuk recalls of seeing that invention. “And we knew we wanted to do something like that for Science Fair.”
“It’s just making something that functional available to the general public, because like a $20,000 prosthetic is not in most people’s budget.”
The duo had a series of challenges in completing their myoelectric prosthetic, and they had to overcome a number of programming and design issues. When they were testing their pulley system to move the fingers, one of their wires snapped. Plus, they had to write a unique computer program and they were out of their comfort zone while doing the electronic components and robotics portions of the prosthetic.
“We actually didn’t really get it moving until this last week,” Heck admitted. “We finally got it moving. And that was just an experience.”
They will now be doing some additional work to prepare for their trip to Ottawa. They were only able to hook up two of the servos and had just two of the fingers functioning.
“So what we want to do is we’re going to continue working and replace the servos so we can have the whole hand working.”
Both are excited about the opportunity to showcase the project at the Canada-Wide Science Fair.
“I’m so excited. I’ve always wanted to go to nationals, and I never through it would be a reality for me,” Antoniuk said.
“We thought we could maybe make it in our category and get medals. But actually going to Ottawa, that’s an amazing feeling,” added Heck. “We weren’t top in our category…but we stepped up our game with judging, and that’s what made us push to the top.”
Cassandra Benson, a Grade 12 Hazlet student, was runner-up for her project Starving Our Brains. She explored how short term fasting effected certain cognitive skills. She tested a series of traits for people who had not eaten for a period of 12 or 24 hours.
“Like a person’s perseverance, which I found went down after 12 hours, and then back up surprisingly after 24,” she reflected.
She also judged reaction times and short-term memory.
“Short-term memory actually steadily increased, but not enough for it to be relevant, which was the complete opposite of what I thought would happen. I thought that after not eating for 24 hours everyone’s scores would get worse. But that didn’t really happen.”
She noted she was aided by a small group of individuals in conducting her research.
“I found 10 very brave, very willing participants from Hazlet, some of my own classmates. They were good.”
Benson’s previous best showing at the Chinook Science Fair was last year when she placed fourth overall. She is now excited to be going to Ottawa to showcase her work.
“I’m kind of surprised that I’m going to Ottawa actually. Surprised, but excited. It sounds like a fun trip.”
A full list of winners from the two-day Chinook Regional Science Fair, hosted at SCCHS on March 6-7, are as follows:
BEST IN FAIR
1. Helping Hand – Sophia Antoniuk and Braelynne Heck , Hazlet School.
2. Starving our Brains – Cassandra Benson, Hazlet School.
3 Tie. Free Falling – Noah Hughes, Hazlet School; Out of Juice – Parth Shah – SCCHS.
What could have BEAN the best liquid? – Hailey Klimm and Elliot Duncalfe, O.M. Irwin School.
Buck Fever – Ty Kornfeld, Fairview School.
Leftie or Righty – Kara Johner, Fairview School.
Is Yawning Contagious? – Kaden Regier and Aiden Christianson, Fairview School.
Ditch Dirt – Haden Harrison, Fairview School.
Don’t Trash Our Future – Macy Popick, Fairview School.
Eye Wonder – Dakota Pettigrew, Fairview School.
Blown Away – Nathan Ens and Srijita Barua, Central School.
PHat Flying Fun – Veda Gottselig, O.M. Irwin School.
pH and H2O – Luke Regier, O.M. Irwin School.
Out of Juice – Parth Shaw, SCCHS.
What Types of Exercise Give You the Most / Highest Cardiovascular Benefit? – Rhianna Ross and Rhys O’Neill, Ponteix School.
Torque and Elongation – Zander Rempel, Success School.
Wood or Aluminium – Donavon Blackwell and Jordan Anderson, Hazlet School.
Starving Our Brains – Cassandra Benson, Hazlet School.
Helping Hand – Sophia Antoniuk and Braelynne Heck, Hazlet School.
Free Falling – Noah Hughes, Hazlet School.
The Only ‘TEME’ You Don’t Want to Be a Part Of – Sarah McNary, Hazlet School.
Morning – Kai Haubrich and Bryn Haubrich, O.M. Irwin School.
Afternoon – Kirsten Hanson, O.M. Irwin School; Peyton Berg, Fairview School; Rylie Anderson, Success School.
1. Sophia Antoniuk, Hazlet School.
2. Veda Gottselig, O.M. Irwin School.