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Student heading to national science fair


After years of placing first in school science fairs within Northwestern Ontario, Courtney Hansen has made it to the big leagues.

The Grade 8 student won the McCrosson-Tovell School science fair held on Feb. 26 in Bergland and then moved on to the Thunder Bay regional fair last week (April 8-10), where she won a trip to the Canada Wide Science Fair in Ottawa on May 10-18.

Hansen said she’s never been to Ottawa and is excited to go to the science fair, which hosts about 500 students from across the country.

Four other people and two chaperones from the regional science fair in Thunder Bay will be joining her on the all-expense paid trip.

Students compete in three age ranges: junior (Grades 7-8), intermediate (Grades 9-10), and senior (Grades 11-12). Within these groups are different categories, such as engineering, and mathematical and physical sciences.

Hansen’s experiment was called “Detection Inspection.”

“I just wanted to see what type of smoke detector had the best reaction time, if cleaning used smoke detectors affected the results, and if smoke detectors that didn’t have heat sensors could react to a major increase in temperature,” she explained.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, Hansen tried out her experiments using 10 different smoke detectors.

“I found out that multi-sensor was the best overall, and cleaning used smoke detectors didn’t make much of a positive difference,” she noted. “And two smoke detectors out of 10 reacted to heat.”

Hansen noted she’s had a history of doing well at science fairs.

“Every year since Grade 4, I’ve got first in my school, and in Grade 4 I got second in regionals. Every other year, I’ve got first in regionals and district,” she recalled.

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