Sibling scientists take gold at science fair

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Can you take the heat? Consider that question asked and answered by sibling scientists Stella Fry and Simon Ruzylo.
The pair won gold in the Earth and Environmental Sciences junior category during a virtual Simcoe County Regional Science and Technology Fair held April 6-10, when they tested the fire power of different types of wood.
The Grade 8 Admiral Collingwood Public School students and Clearview Township residents set up a lab in their family woodshed after discovering that willow just wasn’t cutting it when it came to raising the temperature of their wood stove.
It got them wondering if different types of wood had different temperature thresholds so they put them to the test. Ruzylo said they placed hay bails to create a wind buffer, as they were careful to control other variables as well including air temperature, moisture, and made sure the amount of wood was consistent.
By creating a controlled environment and testing how long it took to boil a 450 ml beaker of water, and for how long, the 13-year-old confirmed their working theory that willow was no good for bringing the heat.
“The willow didn’t even get the water to a boil,” said Fry.
It was oak that outperformed all the wood in the experiment, outburning the cedar and maple. The oak brought the water to a boil in 12 minutes, which was sustained for 34 minutes.
Having performed well at their school, the young scientists were invited to participate in the county regionals. They were required to submit a digital presentation and had virtual interviews with the judges.
Fry said it was stressful at first, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.
This year, Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) students received 15 awards/medals (three gold, one silver, two bronze, six special awards and three honourable mentions). Highlights include: Best of Plant and Animal Sciences – A Novel Approach to ‘Green’ Energy: The Investigation of DC Voltage in Tomato Plants, Emily Goodson, Banting Memorial High School; Best of Human and Health Sciences – The-Mask-Meter, Jeremy Cheuk Hin Chan, W.H. Day Elementary School
Linear Transfer Automation Award (Elementary), Computer and Engineering Sciences – How Do Objects Affect Signal Strength, Lucas Pallen, Ferndale Woods Elementary School.
Goodson and Cheuk Hin Chan have been chosen to attend the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), happening virtually May 17-21.

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