Jury from Paris selects winners at Make Science Competition

“We caught around 40 frogs from a pond near the school. We checked whether they have extra limbs or any other kind of malformation,” said P. Tandapani, a Class VIII student of the Government Middle School, Molapakkam, Nettapakkam.

He was not playing truant as one may assume but participating in a project called ‘Froggy forecasting: How frog health predicts pond health’. The project won second prize in the eighth edition of ‘Faites de la science’ or ‘Make Science Competition’ conducted by the Pondicherry Science Forum and the Department of School Education, in association with the University of Paris.

The competition, meant for government school students, had 50 research projects, of which 12 were selected for grant by the Pondicherry Science Forum.

A jury from the University of Paris selected four for cash prizes.

The first prize got €300, while three tied for the second place, winning €100 each. The winners were announced through videoconference by the jury in Paris on Wednesday.

The first prize went to the team from the ASN Government Middle School, Mudaliarpet, whose project was titled ‘Crazy Crystal Creations’.

The UN has declared 2014 the International Year of Crystallography.

“Through the project, we wanted to observe how crystals are formed and find the best temperature conditions for growing the largest and purest crystals,” said D. Aravindaraja, the team’s guide.

Rubini S., a Class VIII student from the winning team, said: “Everything around us has crystals.” D. Sathya, the other member of the team, said: “We had so much fun; we even used food colouring and had crystals in different colours.”

“The students used to check the crystals every day. Sathya was quite confident of winning actually,” said Aravindaraja, who incidentally is a mathematics teacher.

His other team, with the project, ‘Effect of dust on the performance of photovoltaic solar cells effect,’ won one of the second prizes. The project looked at how solar panels could be made more efficient.

“This is especially relevant in Puducherry with the growing interest in solar energy,” said Aravindaraja. “The competition is a good opportunity for students from government schools. It helps to create interest in research-oriented scientific careers,” he added.

A team from TKRSP Government Higher Secondary School, Bahour, also won the second prize with the project, ‘Study on water audit at home.’ “We believe science is beneficial, and students can use the knowledge they have gained here,” said jury member Sylvie Salamitou of the University of Paris.

T.P. Raghunath, secretary of the Pondicherry Science Forum, thanked the jury for their support and said the organisation looked forward to the next edition of the competition.

R. Kalaiselvan, chief education officer, congratulated the students.

Meanwhile, the ‘froggy’ team was heard discussing with their guide Suresh Soupramanien how they caught the frogs using nets and that it was more difficult than they thought. P. Ayyapan, team leader, said: “We like studying this way. It is more fun than being in class!”

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