|Contents / home|
|Learners to link up with astronaut|
|Shared Sky, shared wisdom|
|"Talking science" competition|
|A meeting of minds|
|Young scientists take on Australia|
|Learners unveil project in Beijing|
|Introduction to crystals|
|Young Science Communicators' Competition|
|SAASTA inspires class of 2015|
|Meet Prof. Nox Makunga|
|Top young achiever's journey|
|Wonders of water at Scifest Africa|
|Learners work with particle physicists|
|Meet SAEON's new education officer|
|Light comes out of the darkness|
|In the news|
|It's a fact!|
Science travels from Ladysmith to Beijing
A team of two South African girl learners unveiled their award-winning research project at the 35th Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition (BYSCC) on March 29.
Yenziwe Mbuyisa and Nokwanda Mbonane, learners from Ladysmith High School, shared with the audience their research to determine which fertiliser is best for plant growth and soil health. They argued that the use of chemical fertilisers is detrimental to plants and that the use of natural fertilisers is far more beneficial for vegetative production. They moreover proved that chemical fertilisers change the structure and smell of soil.
"Spinach planted in the chemically fertilised soil sample will grow taller and faster than plants growing in the natural fertiliser and the control. The soil sample with chemical fertiliser will feel more brittle and will also have a lighter colour and a very faint smell, whereas the soil in the naturally fertilised soil samples will have a moist texture and a more earthy scent," the learners explained.
Research for innovation
In addition to Yenziwe and Nokwanda's research project, several other scientific studies were presented at the competition. One learner presented a robot he invented that can purify the air for breathing, while two other learners demonstrated a window they designed to keep outdoor smog from contaminating the air indoors.
Although our learners didn't win the coveted gold medal, they have done us proud by shining bright in the otherwise male-dominated invention competition in which over one million learners participated. Only 300 contestants were selected to compete in the Beijing finals.
"Our two bright young minds had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase their research for tackling social issues and environmental pollution at the biggest and most sophisticated scientific and technological innovation competition in the world," said James Tlhabane, project coordinator at SAASTA, who accompanied the learners.
The main sponsors – SAASTA in collaboration with the Beijing Association of Science and Technology (BAST) – are optimistic that this educational trip has not only inspired the learners participating in the competition, but has also built bridges to a broader international science and technology platform.
By Daphney Molewa, SAASTA