The Regional Science Fair is the flagship event for KSEC. Community Science Fairs are organized for Kindergarten-Grade Twelve students, while the Regional Fair is open to Grade 7-Grade12 students. In some schools, the science fair runs a close second to the Xmas concert in terms of community attendance
Each year thirty youth attend the 3-day fair. KSEC funds the event ($36,000) and coordinates it with the local host committee. Every fair is unique but includes social and cultural activities as well as science workshops and challenges. The projects are displayed and adjudicated to determine the Kivalliq delegation to the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Fairs are thematic and the theme ties all of the activities together. Past themes have included: Skidoos, Fish and CSI. This year’s theme is Climate Change.
Fun is ever-present at the regional event. Team challenges promote cooperation and problem solving. Whether racing a vacuum cleaner hovercraft across a gym or guiding a cardboard skidoo down a hill, friendships are made. In a region where travel opportunities for youth are rare, and outside of sports nearly non-existent, the science fair gives youth an opportunity to meet their peers from other communities and make life long friends.
The Regional Fair is also a show-case of the work done by our students. The exchange of ideas is inevitable and each year the quality of displays and projects increases. Over the years, the Kivalliq delegation to the Canada-Wide Science Fair has established a winning legacy, taking home five medals, four special awards and numerous honourable mentions. Last year a Kivalliq project studying the effect that qamutik sled length has on pulling force won a bronze medal in the Senior Physical and Mathematical Science Division.
The Kivalliq Regional Science Fair gives students something to work for, a forum to share their finished projects and complete a cycle of success. Many such cycles are key to the ultimate goal of high school graduation and post secondary education.
KSEC’s efforts to incorporate Inuit culture into its programs actually predates the formation of Nunavut . In 1995 at the Kivalliq Regional Science Fair in Baker Lake, a panel of Inuit judges provided feedback and made two recommendations to the KSEC Board. First, they recommended that projects be displayed in both English and Inuktitut as a way to value the language and engage Elders. Second, they thought that the project topics were too ”southern” and did not seem to relate to life in the Kivalliq. KSEC responded and developed a modified version of the Canada-Wide Science Fair Judging booklet, which now rewards bilingual (Inuktitut and English) displays as well as projects that deal with Northern-relevant topics. It also introduced a new cash award for the best project that addressed a topic relevant to the north.
Projects and displays quickly changed as a result of the new judging process. Model volcanoes gave way to investigations into the strength of seal sinew or a study of the seasonal affective disorder. Our success at the Canada-Wide Science Fair also improved as our projects caught the eye of the public as well as the judges. Participants were just as likely to be quizzed about language and geography as they were about science and all in all, the experience was and still is special for our participants.
A Sample of Kivalliq Award Winning Projects at the Canada Wide Science Fair
- A Comparison between Fresh Water Ice and Sea Ice
- Size Does Matter: A Study of Qamutik Length
- Solving the Stink Pipe Problem–Part 1 & 2
- Are Skins Warmer than the Boots
- Whose Coat is Warmer?
- Skidoo Fuel Pump Deicer
- Inuit Plant Medicines
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- A Comparison of Sea Mammal Fats as Fuels
- Ivalu vs Synthetic Sinew
Regional Science Fair Posts
[catlist category = “Regional Science Fair”]