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Castlegar kid takes top honours in regional contraption contest

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
December 1st, 2010

Castlegar’s own Laura Monsen, a student at Stanley Humphries Secondary School, took top honours in a region-wide competition challenging kids to envision the technology of tomorrow. Monsen’s brainstorm: a global disinfectant to be used in airliners.

In conjunction with the National Science and Technology Week, which ran from Oct. 15 – 24, the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology’s (KAST) annual Kootenay Contraption Contest asked kids from Grades 4 through 12 to come up with their own answers to this vexing question.

 A KAST press release expounded onthe concept, “Close your eyes and dream for a moment. Use your imagination to leap forward in time to 2050 and have a look around. Now ask yourself the question ; what new technology or advancements in existing technology will we need to keep us healthy and safe by the mid-point of the century?”
 
From that spark, the West Kootenay’s next Einsteins, Edisons, Bells and Jobs set their minds in motion and our Kootenay kids flexed their mental muscles to put together some ingenious problem-solving thing-a-ma-jigs, whatcha-ma-callits and widjits. Working either individually or as part of a team, 61 entries from eight schools in the area took part in the competition, which announced its winners this week.
 
Everything from teched-out compost-to-energy converters, smog reducers, protective radiation shields for the earth through to innovative desalination processes to turn our oceans into drinking water, were submitted.
 
Taking the thought process beyond simply newly-dreamed-up ideas, all entries required a specific problem to be stated along with a detailed description of how their contraption addressed the issue, along with a demonstration of the contraption through the entrants’ preferred choice of media.
 
This year’s project demonstrations were a noticeable step up over years previous, as our increasingly tech-savvy children took things up a notch.

 
“The competition was particularly impressive this year,” exclaimed Terry Van Horn of KAST. “The use of multi-media technology in many of the entries from DVD’s to Websites to 3D rendered digital models was really amazing.”

 
Judges Blair Weston and Suzanne Stansbury of Fortis BC had their work cut out for them as they worked their way through the entries.
 
Three Grade 8 girls, Madia R., MIkayla V.,and Malin C. of Mt. Sentinel, won the overall prize for their DVD presentation of a new energy-efficient car named the Kodah-Oh that mimics the sun-to-energy process used by plants.
 
“If you think about ‘driving a tree to work’, you may think “Aha, impossible”.
 

 
But seriously, think about the concept. That would be pretty unique,” wrote the girls in their presentation. “The solar panel on the top of the car gives energy to the electric engine which is like most electric engines except that it creates oxygen. Under the trunk there are two tanks, one containing chyrophyll and the other containing water. Like plants, the Kodah-Oh takes in carbon dioxide (through the grill) and converts that into oxygen and glucose. Also under the hood there is a glucose collecting tank, which should be cleaned every four to six months. The glucose will then be donated to companies to use it instead of high fructose.”
 
Overall 2010’s version of the Kootenay Contraption Contest sponsored by Fortis BC, The Columbia Basin Trust, ASTTBC, The Province of BC’s Year of Science, BC Hydro and the Nelson District Credit Union was another smashing success. Based on the level of excellence shown in the entrance our future through 2050 and beyond looks to be in good hands.
 
Results:
 
Grade 11-12
 
Winner: Laura Monsen – Stanley Humphries: Global disinfectant to be used in airliners.
 
Grade 8-10
 
1st: Madia, Mikayla, Malin – Mt. Sentinel: Kodah-Oh: Energy Efficient Car

2nd: Alexander Fortier – Salmo Secondary: 3D Rendered digital Motorcycle model

3rd: Cassidy and Michaela – Mt Sentinel: Tropicer – Dry ice technique to keep the arctic ice frozen
 
Grade 4-7
 
Winner: Kyrri Stewart – Rossland Secondary School: ALSGRB – Earth shield bubble for gamma ray blasts

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