Written by Dr. Anju Bajaj, Associate Principal Catholic School Commission, Research Scientist in Cell Pathophysiology and Prime Minister National Teaching Award Recipient and Camila Castaneda, SCWIST Communications and Events Coordinator.
The pandemic brought the world to a halt but the science show must go on! For the past five years, students have been encouraged to explore scientific thought at the Bison Regional Science Fair (BRSF).
BRSF brings together students to showcase their projects
Held annually at Holy Cross School, the BRSF is a friendly science and technology competition where hundreds of students can showcase their science projects as they compete for $15,000 in awards and the opportunity to compete at the Canada-Wide Science Fair held by Youth Science Canada.
Their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects require all aspects of learning: inquiry, design, literacy, math, and art education. And all these skills come in handy when the students are making their dynamic poster boards!
Overcoming a global pandemic
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school is not like it used to be. Many students had their classes move online while others spent class time in socially distanced bubbles. Moving online made learning subjects like math more difficult than usual, band and sports even more so.
And where did the pandemic leave science fair projects? The ongoing restrictions prohibited most traditional science fairs. This left the BRSF organizers feeling that it was more important than ever to ensure that young scientists had the opportunity to present their projects and benefit from unique opportunities like SCWIST’s Innovation Champion Sponsorship, which provides mentorship opportunities alongside the BRSF program.
Past Bison Regional Science Fairs finalists.
This year’s BRSF finalists faced labs shutting down, jobs drying up and research grinding to a halt. Still, they did not let a pandemic stop them. Some students took their work in new directions while others switched the focus of their projects. Others began focusing on COVID-19 itself. A few even built their own labs, taking advantage of space in their garages and spare bedrooms.
Supporting youth engagement in STEM
The BRSF is run by a very small group of dedicated volunteers and funded by a combination of donations and sponsorships from local businesses and organizations.
If you’re based in Manitoba, please come and support the Bison Regional Science Fair on April 13-14th, 2022. There are talented students on the move at BRSF! Congratulations to the budding scientists in grades 4-12 who placed in the fair. It is amazing to see that, despite the struggles throughout the past year, students continue to inspire and innovate.