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Tactile model for blind people secures big win for young students

Waikato Science and Technology Fair 2023 winners: Chelsea Smart (left) and Aliyah Alchin (right). 
Photo: Niwa

A tactile model for the blind has scooped top prize at the NIWA Waikato Science and Technology Fair.

Chelsea Smart and Aliyah Alchin made a miniature model of their school for a fellow student who is blind.

The project entitled ‘Feel your way’ secured the year-8 students from Ohaupo Full Primary School NIWA’s Best in Fair award.

Aliyah said they worked tirelessly to finish the project, which was done to help people with vision disabilities find their way around the school.

“It took the whole term to create and identified every building, piece of playground equipment and potential obstacle could be identified in Braille, so that a child with low or no vision could have an overview of what the school contained.

“It was such a rewarding thing to be part of – to do something that could help others, it was amazing,” said Aliyah.

Science Fair tutor Valerie Millington said the students were meticulous, re-doing things if they found they were not suitable for the sensitive touch of someone who was blind.

Mashanta Mosin, a Phytoplankton and Ecotoxicology Technician at NIWA and a judge at the fair was impressed by the calibre of the science & technology projects this year.

“All the students did a great job delivering quality science, with a few exceptionally amazing projects, innovations and ideas. It is great to see the amount of potential these young minds have.”

The NIWA Waikato Science and Technology Fair held at the Distinction Hotel, Hamilton on 14th August.

Providing sponsorship for many of the science fairs throughout New Zealand is part of NIWA’s long-term commitment to enhancing science and technology for young New Zealanders.

NIWA is also a major sponsor of the Auckland City, South & East Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury-Westland and Wellington Science and Technology Fairs.

Other top prize winners:

Bianca Enright from St Peter’s School won the NIWA award for outstanding exhibit relating to water and/or atmosphere for her project “Mangrove sedimentation -Research question: To what extent does the presence of Avicennia marina mangrove correlate with silt depth in Tauranga Estuaries?”

Evelyn Dijkstra from St Peter’s School won the NIWA work experience for ‘Best Senior Student and Best in Fair runner up for her project “Liquid Gold”.

Kenshin Jayme from Te Aroha College received the Judges Choice award for “Studying the effectivity of mealworms in consuming biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes”.

For more information visit https://www.waikatosciencefair.org.nz/

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