The Western Manitoba Science Fair (WMSF) is taking place next week Tuesday, April 9th, the annual competition for Grades 1 through 12 from across all of western Manitoba. It has been bringing students together in the varied fields of the sciences since 1969. 

Students have the opportunity to showcase the scientific research and presentation formats to their parents, teachers, fellow students, and the panel of judges.

The WMSF is a full day event, held in spring averaging about 500 students each year. This year there will be 367 students with 250 projects, with 27 schools participating.  Projects can be completed and presented in teams or individually.

"The largest group of students participating would be Grade 5 through 8, that's kind of where that investigative nature really seems to peak," shares WMSF Committee Chair, Trevor Maguire.

Participants set up their projects first thing Tuesday morning, and then the judging begins with approximately 150 community members judging at the fair.  Judges are volunteers made up of university and college professors and students, local business owners and employees, and community members of all ages.

After presenting their projects to the judges, participants are provided with entertainment and educational activities (like the ‘Science Olympics’) while the judges are tabulating their results.  In the early afternoon there is a public viewing of the projects where community members and media can view the projects and talk to the participants.

Maguire says in some cases schools do certain studies that's in the curriculum that inspires a project for the annual school science fair, "but in a lot of cases it's kids on their own deciding they want to do this.  It's a passion.  It's hard to explain but if you take all the Science Fairs away kids will still do science fair projects. We've done studies on this. We know kids will start studying on something, putting it together and showing other people."

"Science Fairs come to be because kids like to investigate stuff," he adds, "and the best thing about a science fair is ... when a kid looks at a problem they come up with some pretty outlandish stuff, and sometimes it's really cool. Sometimes it's a little silly, but sometimes it's very cool!"

The award/medal ceremonies are held at the end of the day with bronze, silver and gold medals given, in addition with the presentation of various special awards.

The final awards of the evening are Best of Fair and the Runner(s) Up.  The top projects of the Fair in Grades 7 to 12 receive an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the Canada Wide Science Fair taking place from May 25-June 1st in Ottawa. 

Four winners from the WMSF will be competing at Carleton University in Ottawa, where like-minded young people with a passion for the STEAM studies of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math come together all vying for the national championship. 

Needless to say, it's an exciting time for these students!

Please listen to more with WMSF Committee Chair, Trevor Maguire, below!

WMSF is organized and run by a small group of dedicated volunteers and are funded by a combination of donations and sponsorships from local businesses and organizations.