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Qajaqing the focus in Chester science fair

Students at Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) in Chesterfield Inlet cut it close in qualifying for this year's Kivalliq Regional Science Fair that was held in Rankin Inlet this past weekend.

VSS held its science fair on Feb. 28, and the students behind the top three projects were on their way to the regional fair in Rankin two days later, on March 2.

Donald Mullins took top spot in the Victor Sammurtok School Science Fair for his work on the bow drill in Chesterfield Inlet on Feb. 28. photo courtesy Glen Brocklebank

The top three Chester finishers were Donald Mullins in first place with his project on the traditional bow drill, Barb Kadjuk in second for her study of maktaaq and seeing what effect eating country food has on a person's body temperature and pulse rate, and the team of Makayak Mimialik and Willie Kattegatsiak in third place for their research work in the community on the school's Qajaq program

VSS science teacher Glen Brocklebank said Mullins asked an elder how to make a bow drill, got some guidance, and then went and made a bunch of mistakes while trying to make the drill.

He said Mullins then tried to follow the scientific process to improve his bow drill and finally got it working.

Donald ran out of time for what he really wanted to do, which was to compare the force required to get it going against that of a power drill,” said Brocklebank. “Another student wanted to learn how to prepare caribou skins to cover a qajaq, and our third-place winner was about what people in town think about the Qajaq program, so three of the 13 projects entered into our fair from students in Grade 9 to Grade 12 were directly related to qajaqing.”

Brocklebank said VSS was allowed to send four students to the Kivalliq fair in Rankin, so the school was actually able to send three projects, with two of its projects being done by a single student.

He said, as always, the VSS students left Chester with high hopes for their projects at the regional fair.

Usually, given history, the projects our students enter at the regional fair are in the running, but I've heard some good things coming out of Arviat and Naujaat this year. But, you know, those teachers could be just trying to scare us off the trail,” said Brocklebank with a laugh.