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“Scitec piques students’ curiosity about the everyday things around them," says Cristina Armstrong
19 September 2017

More than 350 entries on show at biggest ever Cawthron Scitec Expo

The Cawthron Scitec Expo 2017 will be the biggest ever, with more than 350 entries received from students in Nelson and Tasman.

“With just under a week until the 2017 Scitec, there’s a real buzz amongst local students about science and technology,” says Cristina Armstrong, Community Educator at Cawthron. “The Expo is a fantastic community event, bringing together scientists, students, teachers, local and national businesses – all working together to support our region’s young enquiring minds.”

Around 100 local science professionals and teachers volunteer their time and expertise as Scitec judges, continuing a tradition of science fairs in Nelson that goes back more than 30 years. Cawthron Institute has been heavily involved for much of that time – as a sponsor for 15 years, and as the manager of the event since 2012.

Scitec encourages students to go beyond their school curriculum, says Armstrong. “It gives students a whole lot of new skills. They’re not just working on science but also on analysis, statistics, and honing their display and communication skills.”

Projects have been entered in te reo Māori for the first time this year. It is also the first year that Scitec includes ‘Art in Science’ and ‘Research’ sections.

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“Scitec piques students’ curiosity about the everyday things around them. Both of the new sections have proven very popular and attracted a high number of entries.”

Encouraging science communication is an important focus of the Expo. “Students wishing to win the communicator’s prize, sponsored by the Nelson Science Society, will give a five-minute talk about their project. Cawthron scientist, Dr Norman Ragg, will speak about the importance of science communication. These talks are open to the public,” says Armstrong.

Scitec representative, and member of the Nelson Science Society, Dr Bruce Rudge, is a passionate supporter of the Expo. Rudge has been involved with science expos for more years than he cares to remember and says that for him it is always fun.

"It's not just fun, it's fun with a purpose. This year we will have students aged 5-18 seeking to impress the judges with their scientific and technological skills. One reason I come back, year after year, is to see the excitement in a student’s eyes as they tell me about their own investigation. The standard of entries improves every year and I have noticed that there are an increasing number of original ideas on display.”

The exhibits go through a strict protocol to meet the required standards, says Dr Rudge. “Many pupils have already had to battle it out at their own school to gain entry to this regional competition.”

All entries will be on public display from the 26-28 September at the Trafalgar Centre.

“We are hugely appreciative of the generosity of local sponsors, who have provided incredible prizes and enabled us to make it more accessible to the public,” says Armstrong.

Further Information

Trafalgar Centre, Nelson – open to the public and free entry:

  • Tuesday 26 Sept – Public viewing 9am-6pm, and communicators presentations and Cawthron aquaculture scientist 4-6pm
  • Wednesday 27 Sept – Primary Judging day 9am-2pm, Public 3-6pm
  • Thursday 28 Sept – Secondary Judging day 9am-2pm, Public 3-6pm

Click here for further details about the Scitec Expo – the Cawthron Science and Technology Fair.