Gracie (right) shows her judge Wayne Richards the ins and outs of aquaponics. The Grade 4 Agassiz Christian School student was taking part in the school’s science fair on Tuesday.

Agassiz Christian science fair fires imaginations

From K to 7, the local elementary school event is all-inclusive

For someone who’s only in Grade 4, Gracie knows a lot about aquaponics.

She speaks quickly about the nitrogen cycle between excited breaths, working through subjects like the tilapia she includes in her system and even the early cultures of the world that used the idea long ago.

“I learned that it’s very hard to keep the nitrogen cycle going,” Gracie says. “And about good bacteria, bad bacteria.”

Standing between her fish tank (with plant perched on top) and her science fair judge Wayne Richards, the young Agassiz Christian school student politely asks if she should speak slower for Richards.

The two were among a gym full of children describing their displays to judges Tuesday during the school’s science fair.

Alternating every second year with a heritage fair, the event hosted 17 external judges this year including a geologist, a vice-principal, a University of the Fraser Valley professor, community members and many former educators.

“It gives kids variety, it gives kids an opportunity to really pursue something in depth,” says John Zuidhof, Agassiz Christian’s principal. “And to display their learning, because too often too much of the learning just stays in the classroom.”

On the other side of the gym floor, Mark Gross listens to Grade 6 student Camryn’s presentation about homemade bath bombs.

Gross is retired from working in the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre and is interested in many sciences. This is his third time helping with the fair.

“This is truly experimental,” he says nodding to the presentation in front of his seat, clipboard in hand. “It’s a fun thing to do and it’s really good to support the kids and give them a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and have an audience, and it’s good for their development.”

Grades 4 to 7 have an opportunity to talk to two different judges like Gross, and kindergarten to Grade 3 students have an interview from one volunteer.

The lower grades’ projects line the walls surrounding their seniors’ displays and are more theme specific, giving them a guided introduction to the concept, but including students right from the start of their academic careers.

Grade 6 and 7 teacher Dan Verbeek says the big takeaway for most students is the ownership they have over their project subject matter and how that drives their learning.

“It’s all them, so they get to take pride in this,” he says scanning the hard work on display. “These posters show they thoroughly enjoyed them.”

Verbeek says the buy-in from students results in a multi-faceted project that the creator is immersed in, often resulting in education they’re not even aware they are receiving.

“They do take a lot of work, but in the end we get these amazing projects,” he says. “And they show that most of the students really grab the full concept of what they’ve been studying—that they are really understanding it.”

After a holiday trip to You Grow Food, an aquaponics business in Hope, Gracie was interested enough in the concept to dedicate her science project to the practice.

And she might even go a step further if she sticks with her claims about this experiment on Tuesday.

“It inspired me to make a company of my own,” she says. “I will grow plants and I’ll grow fish [in the future].”

Just Posted

Agassiz RCMP finally able to get outdoor picnic table

Funds from Harrison and Kent will allow the detachment to purchase the outdoor seating area

Harrison to replace final incandescent street lights with LEDs

The $186,000 project is the second-phase of a replacement plan for the village

Harrison Hot Springs to consider single-use plastics ban

Village staff will come back to council with a report on what a possible ban could look like

Wonder Pup book series by Chilliwack author teaches kids self-regulation skills

Author Angela Murphy and illustrator Davis Graham release first book Speak Up, Wonder Pup

Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge construction could start in 2021, MLA says

The project is expected to cost substantially more than budgeted in 2017

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Unexpected snow blankets the Okanagan Connector

As of 6:50 a.m. DriveBC cameras displayed surprise snowfall on highway

Driver loses tire while behind the wheel after lug-nut thief strikes in Burnaby

Burnaby RCMP are investigating after two reports of lug-nut tampering in the city this month

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling

While courts have ruled against blanket bans, Langley City is employing a site-by-site approach

B.C. auditor says Indigenous grad rate highest ever but education gaps exist

The percentage of Indigenous students graduating from B.C. public high schools has hit its highest level ever

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Most Read