The First Science Fair at Prva gimnazija Varaždin

Learning about science in a different way

Science is something that many high school students feel either passionate about or scared of. In order to dispel all prejudices about science subjects, junior students at a grammar school in Varaždin, Croatia decided to show how learning about science could be really interesting and entertaining. On May 10th 2019, Prva gimnazija Varaždin held its first Science Fair where 41 students presented their projects in physics, chemistry, biology and technology.

The Science Fair was organized by Vedran Kocijan and Nensy Klačinski, two junior students who are really fond of science. Vedran came up with the idea, inspired by American science fairs. He’s an idealist, with his head always full of new projects, but organization isn’t his strong side so Nensy, with her interest in organization and management made the perfect partner. They also got help from their homeroom teacher Martina Vidović, their physics teacher Helena Kanešić, as well as their classmates in class 3g.

„We wanted to give people an opportunity to show what they’re passionate about as well as spark other’s, primarily young people’s interest for science.“

When Vedran and Nensy started, they hoped to get at least ten applications and were pleasantly surprised when they received 27, including six from other high schools in the town of Varaždin. Alongside experiments from various fields of science, the fair hosted several games for visitors to test their ingenuity and problem solving abilities. For example, they could try to design a stable spaghetti bridge or craft a way to drop an egg from the first floor without it breaking. This was especially appealing to younger visitors, namely, middle school students who came to visit together with their science teachers.

The Science Fair at Prva gimnazija Varaždin attracted quite a number of visitors and there was something for everyone to enjoy. The experiments ranged from more practical, like the effect of earthworms on soil and the disinfecting properties of alcohol to theatrical, like setting your hand on fire with butane gas or a battery train.

Nensy and Vedran said that they broke the ice this year, but they decided to leave the organization of the next science fair to younger students. There is already a group of second graders interested in taking over and Nensy and Vedran look forward to participating with their own experiments.

„We have to see if they top us!“, said Vedran setting a challenge with a smile.

Tija Vrček

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