Tritech Nationals, for curious and creative minds…

ALGEHELE WENNERS Michelle Robertson en Suandrie Corbett.

Michelle Robertson en Suandrie Corbett.

Tim Minchin once said: “Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organizing our curiosity.”

On Friday 14 September, Merensky High School was the meeting place for curious and creative minds from all over Limpopo at the annual Tritech Nationals. The participants once again overwhelmed the science community with their innovative research projects with a wide range of interesting topics, adjudicated by experts from the private sector.

The organisers went all out as Tritech celebrated its 10th anniversary.

On Friday evening the judges, sponsors, teachers and former members of EXCO were treated to a ‘spitbraai’, while the young engineers and scientists combined teamwork, brainpower and creativity to build and decorate a team cart (float). They were also challenged with a sensory test, tasting and smelling flavoured coloured milk. Fun was had in the photo booth and marvellous snacks were on offer to keep the creativity flowing and the energy levels up.

“Transport” was the theme for Saturday. Nobody walked, but went from one activity to the other, using different methods of transport such as go-carts, a conveyer belt and homemade decorated carts. They completed obstacle courses whilst being blindfolded. The highlight of the day was a helicopter flip which enabled them to enjoy the beautiful view of Plasieland from above.

Participants learned that science is about knowing and engineering about doing. You need to combine both to successfully complete tasks such as igniting a fire using chemicals, building bridges with limited resources, designing catapults to meet certain requirements, and that even playing drums require a certain amount of intelligence.

After an exciting day of fun and laughter, this prestigious event ended with a prize giving ceremony. From the 18 outstanding projects, entered by Merensky learners, 11 received gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals.

The Plasie brainiacs won several categories:
Junior Health Sciences – Joné du Toit, Huishoudelike middels versus Tandepasta
Junior Life Sciences – Aldrich Hugo and Shaun de Beer, Hou blare, hou!
Senior Maths, Science and Technology – Danzi Ivy and Andrew Graham, Try-Tech E-Rubric
Senior Engineering and Design – Bianca Prinsloo, Water Web.

Second in their categories were:
Senior Environmental and Social Sciences – Juan-Jacques Moller and Gideon Engelbrecht, Glas-beton
Junior Environmental and Social Sciences – Michelle Robertson and Tyla-Reese Pretorius, How safe is your personal protective clothing when treated with fabric softener?
Senior Health Sciences – Liza-Ri Snyman, Conditioner? NATUURLIK!
Senior Agricultural Sciences – Michaela Stanley, Avocado Propagation

Third places were awarded to:
Senior Health Sciences – Anize Basson and Lin-Mari Theron, Toets my?

Suandrie Corbett and Jamie Robertson hold the title of overall senior winners of Tritech Nationals 2018. These two combined research, technology and resources in their project Farmers Market: Key to growth in a community. They identified the need to develop a small virtual market that can be utilized on a much larger scale, almost like a co-op. With this they connect the consumers of produce to small subsistence farmers, who are often unable to participate in market orientated production, due to the lack of access to markets, capital inputs and technology. They created a virtual market which links the demand of consumers to the supply of local farmers in the community of Phalaborwa and Maseke.

These two grade 10 learners created their own profitable business, employed a driver and a single mother as a consultant. Their business now provides an income for many local farmers as well as the delivery of fresh produce to the community.

A message from Tritech 2018: Be like a proton and stay positive. You never fail, you just discovered a thousand ways that did not work!