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Alexia’s experiment aimed to help rid the world of plastic waste

For the second year in a row Alexia Laybourn has won the “Best of Fair ” in the Central Northland Science Fair held in Whangarei last week.

The four-day fair showcased 232 exhibits made by 282 students from 16 schools.

Alexia says her Greenie Grub project was inspired by Spanish scientist Dr Federica Bertocchini’s ‘accidental’ discovery that the larvae of the wax moth could chew through plastic bags.

“My investigation consisted of testing the efficacy of the wax moth larvae bio-degrading household plastics with the hope of creating a wax moth larvae plastic disposal farm in the future.”

The 15-year-old Whangarei High School student recognised her experiment would lack vigorous research testing but the idea was, “this system could be utilised in your back yard and as an education tool to engage young people in thinking about plastic waste and how to reduce it.”

It impressed judges who awarded her the best year 10-11 exhibit, the best year 10-11 investigation project, the best overall investigation project and the Best in Fair trophy.

Last year her ‘Pollen Pursuits’ which focussed on finding a simple method to find the plants a bee hives used for sourcing their pollen won the Best Overall Exhibit and the Best Overall Investigation project.

Alexia says she enjoys science and describes the fair as an amazing experience. While she hasn’t yet decided her future career pathway she reckons there is a good chance science will be involved in some way.

Science teacher Tamara Phillips says the fair is a well organised event and an extra-curricular activity which gives pupils hands on learning and the opportunity to develop skills such as problem solving, communication and presentation skills.

“As a school we were also proud to listen to the guest speaker, Alice Gatland, a past student of Whangarei Girls’ High School who is now the co-founder of Girl Code.”

Another WGHS student, Lauryn Smith, received the NRC Consistent Excellence Award. This prize is a $1000 one off payment to assist the winner with university costs.

This was Lauryn’s fifth science and technology fair. She also received a highly commended for the Best Year 12-13 exhibit for her project exploring the acidity of common beverages.

Culled from Stuff.

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