At a science fair in December last year, hundreds of students in Barbados presented projects showcasing different types of alternative and renewable sources of energy and applications in biotechnology. The young STEM enthusiasts, aged 11 to 18, exhibited a total of 95 projects at the fair, which was hosted by the St. Michael School in Barbados.
The theme of the school’s 3rd annual Science Fair was My STEM Career – Energy and the Environment. Educators and STEM professionals made up the team of judges who critiqued the projects. Students were judged based on innovation, an interview, and a report and project display board.
One of the winning projects involved the use of water waves to produce electricity. The team behind this idea were four girls in the 1st form. They addressed one way Barbados could achieve the goals of becoming a 100% renewable energy and carbon-neutral island-state by 2030. To explore their idea, the items that the group of girls used included a fishing bobber, a circular hollow tube, copper wire, magnets, and a container of water to generate water waves. The electricity generated was tested continuously.
Another project, which also won first place, focused on a solution to the bizarre sewage problem on the south coast of the island. The students in this team explored the production of methane gas using horse and pig waste by placing the waste in a black sealed container then testing the results of the experiment.
There was also a group of students who developed sargassum seaweed into an acne-cleansing face scrub. This team used materials like water, honey, and oils to mix with the treated sargassum seaweed plants. Individuals who tested samples of the scrub expressed that they experienced clearer and more moist skin.
This science fair provided the students with the opportunity to explore different areas in STEM while addressing some of the pressing issues in Barbados.
By Jelani Payne
Jelani Payne is an engineer (electronics & computer engineering and mechanical engineering), writer, robotics educator and a member of the education working group of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors.