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Regional Science Fair helps students build confidence

Regional Science Fair 2018

From black holes to volcanoes, from traditional teas to preserving our environment, elementary and secondary students from the Cree School Board showed they have inquiring minds at the Regional Science Fair held in Mistissini February 28 - March 1, 2018.

“These are young kids experimenting with science,” said event coordinator Agnes Petawabano. “They’re building their confidence in presenting and they get to meet other kids who like to do the same things they do.”

The fair is also a chance for teachers to focus their lessons across disciplines, she said.

For example, Lysanne Sevigny is a Secondary I French teacher at Winnibekuu School in Waskaganish. She mentored Alexis Beauregard and Stormie Diamond for the fair.

“There is a little bit of everything in this project,” she said, pointing to the 9-by-9-foot table that included a replica city with houses and highrises, a working “volcano”, and two robots that the students programmed to rescue victims of the volcano in the city’s downtown and residential areas. The project also involved multi-media – the students created and recorded a soundscape to go with the presentation.

“We just need to open the doors to our schools, and share the good stories.” “I think one of the really valuable parts of this type of event is that it shows what is happening in our schools. You see the energy that was put in. We never really know what’s happening in other schools, but when we do this kind of thing, we open doors,” Sevigny said. “We just need to open the doors to our schools, and share the good stories.”

And her student, Stormie, is ready to share one of those stories.

“Being part of this for a few years has helped me to be more confident in talking to people. I used to be shy,” Stormie, 13, said.

Regional Science Fair 2018 1520Stormie Diamond, 13, and her science fair buddy Alexis Beauregard created a model city with a working volcano and robots that could save victims of the natural disaster.

Students from several communities made the trek to Mistissini from their home communities, and overnighted in the school gymnasiums.

From Waswanipi, Syerah Grant and Siigwin Grant, both 12 years old, presented their investigation of diabetes in the Cree Nation.

“We learned that we didn’t have such a high incidence of diabetes in the old days. When we used to eat from the land, our food was high in protein, not sugar. When we used to eat like that none of us had diabetes.

Eating a lot of sugar in a short period of time since the mid-19th century proved to be a shock to the Cree system, they said.

“It was too much sugar in a short time. That’s why we can’t adapt,” Siigwin said.

“We have to take care of ourselves, maybe go back to the old way of eating more protein, so we don’t all get diabetes,” Syerah added.

Regional Science Fair 2018 1497Students from Mistissini and Waswanipi shared projects on the history of diabetes in the Cree Nation and the buoyancy of salt water, and its ramifications for clean-up of fresh-water and salt-water lakes and rivers.

Meri Grimstead, a Grade 3 student from Chisasibi, investigated the difference between analog and digital clocks by taking them apart and learning their pieces.

Regional Science Fair 2018 1496Grade 3 Chisasibi student Meri Grimstead investigated what is inside a clock. Her project detailed the working pieces of both analog and digital clocks.

Nine-year-old Marlin Gilpin and his cousin Evan Gilpin, also 9, from Eastmain, presented on the amount of sugar in various beverages. When it comes to soda pop, Ginger Ale has the lowest sugar factor, even less than some juices.

Regional Science Fair 2018 1502Marlin Gilpin and Evan Gilpin, both 9 years old from Eastmain, shared their investigation of the sugar content of different beverages.

Haven Mianscum and Tommy Dixon from Ouje-Bougoumou developed and tested a homemade solar oven, using foil and a heat source. Their presentation was complete with s’mores and hot dogs.

Regional Science Fair 2018 1495Haven Mianscum and Tommy Dixon, left, presented their project “How to Make a Solar Over” at the Regional Science Fair in Mistissini Mar. 1.

Students from elementary classes in Mistissini had the chance to visit the displays while judges questioned the presenters. Parents and grandparents also attended the event.

The event culminated in an awards ceremony Thursday evening. The winners from Grades 5 through Secondary V go on to the provincial fair, to be held in Val d’Or from March 20-22.


And the winners are:

Grades 1 and 2

1st place:             Wyatt W.-Orr and Craig Jolly (Nemaska)

2nd place:            Caylin Cheezo and Sherwin Yu (Eastmain)

3rd place:             Zacharia Rhdaifi (Chisasibi)


Grades 3 and 4

1st place:              Meri Grimstead (Chisasibi)

2nd place:             Mikka Ottereyes and Heaven Cooper (Waswanipi)

3rd place (TIE):     Evan Gilpin and Marlin Gilpin (Eastmain), Anna Faith Iserhoff (Waskaganish)


Grade 5

1st place:              Rim Rhdaifi and Ella Grimstead (Chisasibi)

2nd place:             Rihanna Loon and Chelsea Blacksmith (Waswanipi)

3rd place:             Everest Gunner and Andrew Mark (Mistissini)


Grade 6

1st place:              Anne-Marie Washipabano and Amera Sam (Chisasibi)

2nd place:             Keonii Coonishish, Sayge Cheezo and Chantel Voyageur (Mistissini)

3rd place:             Marcus Jolly (Nemaska)


Secondary 1

1st place:              Siigwin Grant and Syerra Grant (Waswanipi)

2nd place:             Bailey Turner, Crystal Gilpin and Joey-Lynn Longchap (Mistissini)

3rd place:             Dreydon Cheechoo and Blaze Hester (Eastmain)


Secondary 2 & 3

1st place:              Storm Saganash (Eastmain)

2nd place:             Ryan Pelletier and Sam W. Blacksmith (Mistissini)

3rd place:             Grace Mianscum and Fiona Bosum (Ouje)


Secondary 4 & 5

1st place:              Julianne Mark (Eastmain)

2nd place:             Kim W.-McDougall (Mistissini)

3rd place:             Jerry Mianscum (Nemaska)


Regional Science Fair 2018 20180301 1405548From left, Chantel Voyageur, 11, Sayge Cheezo, 11, and Keonii Coonishish, 11 share their inquiry into the prevalence of traditional medicine in the Cree Nation.

Regional Science Fair 2018 1503Grade 6 students Amera Sam and Anne-Marie Washipabano shared their work on the best firestarters from Chisasibi.

Regional Science Fair 2018 1508Anna-May Asquabanaskum and Jayda Mark, 12, discovered a way to prevent a shaken can of pop from exploding. Really!

Regional Science Fair 2018 montageStudents from elementary classes in Mistissini had the chance to visit the exhibits at the Regional Science Fair.