Gold CREST awards for school student investigative project

Press Release – The Royal Society of New Zealand

Five secondary school students have been awarded Gold CREST awards for their investigative projects with topics ranging from distractions for teenage drivers, to watercress reducing nitrogen pollution in waterways.17 November 2011

Gold CREST awards for school students’ investigative projects

Five secondary school students have been awarded Gold CREST awards for their investigative projects with topics ranging from distractions for teenage drivers, to watercress reducing nitrogen pollution in waterways.

The students were presented with their awards by Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, Minister of Science and Innovation, on Wednesday 16 November at the annual Research Honours celebration event organised by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

The Gold CREST award recipients are Keeley Hutchins and Ashleigh Renwick (Tararua College), Anna Palmer and Charlotte Robertson (Palmerston North Girls High), and Kate Marsh (Carmel College, Auckland).

Gold CREST awards are for advanced projects, for Year 12-13 students and take six terms to complete.

The CREST scheme is the Royal Society of New Zealand’s international awards scheme designed to encourage school students to be innovative, creative, and to problem solve in science and technology through inquiry and investigation. Students who receive the Gold CREST award have completed a significant investigative project to a very high standard.

Details of student projects:

Ashleigh Renwick and Keeley Hutchins from Tararua College were awarded a Team Gold CREST for their “Distractions Amongst Teenage Drivers” project. The topic of using cell phones while driving was a controversial topic during 2009, leading to the banning of using them whilst driving from 1 November 2009. The aim of the project was to find out what common activities are distracting for teenage drivers on the road today. Under strict supervision, the experiment took place at the Manfeild Auto course in Feilding. Read more …

Anna Palmer of Palmerston North Girls’ High School was awarded a Gold CREST award for her project called “A Healthy Glow”, involving the study of the native earthworm Octochaetus multiporus. It was an extension of earlier studies Anna had undertaken, which discovered the earthworm produces bioluminescent mucus that luminesces a different colour depending upon the maturity of the worm, and that this mucus is extremely toxic to Escherichia coli bacteria. While numerous researchers have studied earthworm mucus few of the studies have been specific to O. multiporus. In this study Anna wanted to find out what the mucus is, what it is composed of and its role in the ecology of the earthworm. Read more …

Charlotte Robertson of Palmerston North Girls’ High School was awarded a Gold CREST award for her “Watercress – The Nitrogen Junkie?” project. The aim of this project was to determine the effectiveness of watercress (Nasturtium officinale) to reduce nitrogen pollution in waterways by quantifying the mass balance and determining how much nitrogen the plants can take up from hydroponic solution over a 10-week period. Read more…

Kate Marsh of Carmel College in Auckland was presented with a Gold CREST award for producing a Carmel College Cook Book featuring recipes from the school community and highlighting the school’s special character. The book was published after going through many stages of development including market research, focus groups and testing of all the recipes were tested. It has been used as a fundraiser for the school.

Background information: The Royal Society of New Zealand promotes science, technology and the humanities in schools, in industry and in society. It administers several funds for science and technology, publishes science journals, offers advice to Government, and fosters international contact and co-operation. www.royalsociety.org.nz.

ENDS

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