Gold medals for best science projects at Stellenbosch Expo
Staff and postgraduate students of Stellenbosch University (SU), together with teachers from the participating schools, Eskom employees and stakeholders from the private sector, were among the more than 100 judges who contributed to the development of South Africa’s emerging scientists at the annual Stellenbosch regional competition of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists last week.
Their task was to evaluate the 224 projects of the almost 350 learners from 35 secondary and primary schools in the Boland, on the West Coast, in the Overberg and in the Southern Cape.
The competition was once again successfully organised by SU’s Institute for Mathematics and Science Teaching (IMSTUS) of the Faculty of Education, in co-operation with the Faculty of Science.
The initiative aims to promote the teaching of scientific research principles in schools at national level.
Learners could enter research projects in 25 different categories, including medicine, science, mathematics, social sciences and engineering. During the competition, the learners had to depict their projects visually with an exhibit and convey their findings to the judges.
“The participants clearly took their research projects seriously,” says Expo organiser Ms Erika Hoffman of IMSTUS, who was particularly impressed by the way in which so many learners were thinking critically about current problems. “The fact that there are so many learners who care enough about what happens around them to look for answers and solutions makes me really positive about South Africa’s future and progress.”
Altogether 22 projects were awarded gold medals, while 49 silver and 66 bronze medals were awarded. Special awards, sponsored by, among others, SU, ESKOM and the Grassland Society of Southern Africa, were also made to the best entries per category.
Furthermore, 20 projects were selected to represent the Stellenbosch region at the National Eskom Expo for Young Scientists competition in Boksburg from 6 to 8 October. Learners from Bridge House near Franschhoek, from Stellenbosch High, Bloemhof Girls’ High, Kayamandi High and Rhenish Girls’ High (all in Stellenbosch), from Graafwater High, from Bredasdorp High, from Atlantis Senior Secondary, from Bellville High, from Wittedrift High near Plettenberg Bay, from Vredenburg High, Saldanha Primary and Diazville High (all in Saldanha) and from Vanrhynsdorp High are all included in the team.