Science winners

Spine Road High School pupils conducted various experiments, research and built this telescope.

Investigating ecosystems, testing water samples and building a telescope were just a few of the tasks Spine Road High School pupils had to complete when they took part in the Eskom Science Expo.

Judges said the gold award-winning work of Ebrahim da Costa and Yaseen Johaadien who investigated the biodiversity of plants on the school’s grounds, was a “solid science experiment”. They found that the prevalence of water brought about a richness of plant and insect species, which made a stable ecosystem.

Ebrahim and Yaseen were invited to exhibit their work at the International Science Fair in Johannesburg which required a deposit of R7 000 to be paid by Friday September 6. Teacher Esther Burger, however, said she had consulted with parents and it had not been possible to raise the funds needed at such short notice.

The 13 Spine High School pupils who took part in the expo, which was held at UCT from Tuesday August 27 until Thursday August 29, were split into six teams and Hannah Esau worked on her own.

While they did most of the work themselves, they got some guidance from their teacher, students and professors at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Other experiments involved pupils collecting water samples and testing their quality, were awarded bronze medals.

Ulfah Dollie and Eemaan Gamiet conducted a horoscope survey, in which they engaged 200 pupils to prove whether people’s personalities were indeed linked to their zodiac signs.

“We found that the star signs could not predict the future and that there was no relation between the zodiac signs and personalities,” said Ulfah.

Saarah Isaacs and Labeebah Rademeyer looked at ways to remove iron from well-point water, to prevent the walls from staining.

Pride Chigiji and Kohan Southgate built a radio telescope which did not win a medal but post-graduate students have volunteered to help them improve their model for next year’s competition.

The competition is designed to develop young scientists, who are able to identify a problem, analyse information, find solutions and communicate findings effectively.

Pupils can enter their own individual projects, or a maximum of two can work together on a group project.

There are 25 different categories in which a project can be accommodated.