Prince Albert students eager to represent Saskatchewan in Ottawa for national science fair

Two students from around Prince Albert will be travelling to Ottawa for the Canada-Wide Science Fair in late May after earning their spots at the Prince Albert and NE Regional Science Fair.

The Science Fair took place at the Prince Albert Science Centre in the Gateway Mall on April 9, but organizers could not announce winners until Monday when Grade 7 students Daycee Flying Buffalo of West Central School and Mason Golding of Red Wing School learned that they will be travelling to Ottawa.

Flying Buffalo’s project is called Mind Matters: Education Through Digital Games. It was submitted under the category of Life and Earth Science. He said finishing first was special.

"It means a lot,” Flying Buffalo said. “I feel like I can make a difference for the mental health for people.”

Flying Buffalo’s project takes users through a process to work on their mental health. She created a game called Mind Matters to help users learn about staying mentally healthy.

"When you first go in, there's a chicken and you can press numbers and it says facts. Also, if you click it, it makes sounds like a bird,” she explained.

"Then if you click M it brings you to the mood metre and there you can move around to identify your mood. If you press H, you can read the unhealthy coping skills and the healthy coping skills.”

Flying Buffalo said she was very excited to go to Ottawa. This was her first time working with coding and she said that doing the project taught her a lot about the practice.

"I put it on Scratch, so it was pretty easy because the coding blocks are there and stuff," she explained.

Scratch is the world’s largest coding community for children and a coding language with a simple visual interface that allows young people to create digital stories, games, and animations.

The Prince Albert and NE Regional Science Fair also submitted Flying Buffalo’s name to the Sanofli Biogenius Canada Competition. The Sanofli Biogenius Canada Competition will be hosted in partnership with Youth Canada Science as part of Regional and Canada-Wide Science Fairs (CWSF).

The focus of this competition is to acknowledge and celebrate the best research projects from across the country with a focus on health sciences, life sciences and biotechnology. There are three age categories – Junior, Intermediate and Senior. At CWSF, winners of this special award can receive up to $1,000.

Daycee Golding’s project is called The Hydraulic Crane. It was submitted under the category of Math and Engineering Science.

Golding was happy to place second and advance to the National event.

“It really excited me,” he said. “I did not expect it. It was definitely a nice surprise and it was awesome.”

Golding said the project idea came from a long-time passion. He has always been interested in cranes since he was a small child playing with toy versions of the machinery. He really wanted to know how a crane’s hydraulics work, and used that as inspiration for his project.

"I learned lots about how hydraulics work and it really surprised me because I didn't know anything about them before,” he said.

Like Flying Buffalo, Golding is ecstatic about advancing to Ottawa.

"I'm very excited,” he said.

In preparation for the Canada-Wide Science Fair, both students will be working hard to polish their projects and meet deadlines.

There were 50 entries in this year’s Regional Science Fair. Representatives were from rural schools in Saskatchewan Rivers but organizers would like anybody to come including in city Saskatchewan Rivers schools, Prince Albert Catholic Division Schools and North East School Division schools, which are all eligible in the entrance area.

Prince Albert and NE Regional Science Fair continue to fundraise to send these two worthy recipients and one chaperone to CWSF.

Canada-Wide Science Fair, the country’s largest annual youth STEM event, will be held May 25 to June 1 in Ottawa.

michael.oleksyn@paherald.sk.ca

Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald