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Grade 10 science competition

- By Buhle Zuma

 

The prize giving function for the Materials Science Poster Competition for Grade 10 learners was held on 23 October 2014. Professor Deena Naidoo, the master of ceremonies, and co-ordinator of the competition, welcomed the teachers and learners from winning schools as well as the invited guests. Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, the Deputy Vice-‘Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs opened the function and Professor Lesley Cornish, the Director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials gave closing remarks.

The competition challenges Grade 10 learners to produce a poster on the properties and applications of a strong material. Strong materials are materials that retain their distinctive and applied properties under extreme conditions and have established or potential commercial applications. The diamond's exceptional physical qualities is due to the strong covalent bonding between its atoms. In particular, diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material and these properties determine its use in industrial applications such as cutting and polishing tools.

The King's School Robin Hills in Randburg had the winning formula when it comes to decoding strong materials. The school once again claimed first place in the competition and were rewarded handsomely for their efforts.

The winning poster was awarded R 15 000 for the school and the learners each received R 1 000 Kalahari.com vouchers. Hyde Park High School was placed second and received R 10 000 and each learner was awarded a R 750 voucher while Parktown Girls High was assessed as the third best entrant and received R 5 000 and a R 500 voucher was given to the school’s ambitious learner who singularly attempted the challenge. Teachers also received vouchers in recognition of their role in nurturing young minds.

The winning formula is to let the learners explore the topic with little interference, says science teacher Mrs Irma Krynauw from King’s School, two time consecutive winners. This allows them to develop their own ideas, research and presentation skills.

Mr Jadean Naidu, a graduate from Wits who swapped his white laboratory coat and a possible career in academia or industry for teaching at Hyde Park High School, says the competition is a wonderful opportunity to promote active science and show scientific thinking behind things that learners see every day.

Special prizes in various categories were awarded. To view the recipients and winning posters, click here.

Established in 2007, the competition aims to stimulate an interest in science among school learners and make them aware that science and its applications are all around us.  The goal is to demystify science and generate an interest in science careers.  Far from its humble beginnings when only six schools participated, this year over 80 entries were received from schools with some newcomers competing for the grand prizes.  Enquiries: Casey.Sparkes@wits.ac.za

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