Winners of 2009 Young Scientists Award announced

NYSA 2009Judges in the 2009 NATA Young Scientists Award have announced this year's winners.

The first prize was awarded to Redeemer Baptist School in North Parramatta, Sydney; second prize went to Woongarra State School in Bundaberg; and third prize went to Lily Colmer of Albany Hills State School in Albany Creek, Brisbane.

The students have won $5000, $3000 and $2000 in science equipment for their schools respectively.

The competition, now in its third year, is open to classes and individuals from Years 5, 6 and 7. It is designed to foster an interest in science and careers in science among school students.

This year saw an unprecedented number of entrants from around Australia.

Schools were invited to conduct a practical scientific experiment and in the first instance submit a 300-word summary online. From these, 12 finalists were selected who were then asked to prepare a poster illustrating in more detail how they conducted their investigation.

In addition to the three main prize winners, three entries were judged as 'highly commended'. They were Badgingarra Primary School and Dardanup Primary School near Perth, and Stewart Jackson of The Hutchins School in Sandy Bay, Tasmania. They will receive certificates and a small prize for each student.

The winners were chosen for their originality, scientific rigour, effort, educational value as well as the quality of their written descriptions and posters.

Redeemer Baptist's Year 7 class conducted their winning project on light pollution. Over 12 weeks they measured and mapped light pollution levels in the Sydney Metropolitan Area, comparing results with different locations in regional NSW and around the world acquired using a specially designed website.

Woongarra State School's Year 6 students investigated how scrub turkeys build their nests in such a way that different areas produce different temperatures, which affect the incubation of the eggs and the sex of the chicks.

Year 6 student Lily Colmer of Albany Hills State School used a spectrum analysis program to test household materials to see which would best soundproof her noisy swimming pool pump.

"Once again, we are very impressed with the quality of the submissions," said NATA Chief Executive, Alan Patterson. "It's encouraging to see young people around Australia engaging actively with science and finding new ways to apply it to the world around them."