Projects

Faculty of Mathematics and Science




Projects

Scientifically Yours


Everyone will participate in a total of six projects. You will be able to prioritize four projects from the following list. The remaining 2 projects will be randomly selected for you.

We are working on the 2015 conference...new projects are to be posted soon. Here are the projects from last year's conference.

Biology

1. DNA Fingerprinting
A crime was committed in the '70s and circumstantial evidence presented at the trial was instrumental in the sentencing of the accused to life in prison. The convicted declares his innocence. After 30 years in prison, key evidence left behind at the scene holds the clue to determining the innocence of the accused. Students will generate a genetic profile of themselves and the victim using actual forensic techniques and in the end, who knows, you may even solve a crime!

Oenology and Viticulture

2. The Yeast Crime
The Crime: Two weeks ago, the prestigious Chardonnay Wine, produced in Brock University's own winery and destined for a GOLD MEDAL at the Wine Olympics, was found to have a foul smell of wet band aids and a horse barn instead of the lovely melon, pineapple, grape fruit and banana aromas with a hint of vanilla. Your Mission: to determine if one of the spoilage yeasts found in the winery infected the chardonnay and spoiled it. You will use your scientific training, deductive reasoning and evaluation of evidence to determine which of three suspect yeasts is the culprit yeast that infected the wine and caused the foul odour in the wine.

Interdisciplinary

3. Ecology of the Niagara Escarpment
Forest spring plants are quite interesting in terms of colors, size, etc. In most cases, they only flower for a short period of time during the spring because of the limited light intensity during the summer. During this activity, the students will be exploring the Niagara escarpment to identify some of the species and learn interesting ethno-botanical facts. For example, did you know that we have a very good condiment just in our backyard? During this little escapade, girls will have the possibility to collect a few flowers to be pressed. Back inside, they will learn the technique of pressing plants, and mounting flowers.

Health Sciences

4. Health and Human Performance
Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Canada? To keep your heart smart, this workshop will demonstrate the importance of healthy blood pressure values, how to perform an ECG, and how to measure the pressure in an artery using state-of-the-art equipment. In addition to a healthy heart, strong bones are important to the prevention of osteoporosis. This session will demonstrate techniques to measure bone and discuss important factors influencing bone health. Discover how muscle activation is measured and how the external environment (i.e. cold temperatures) can affect human performance. Lastly, students will be introduced to a maximum oxygen consumption test, performed by university athletes, using top of the line exercise physiology equipment.

Chemistry

5. Purely H2O?
A key step in the purification of city drinking water is the addition of a coagulant to assist with the removal of suspended particles. Suspended particles (colloids) scatter light and cause water to look turbid (cloudy). Alum is a chemical coagulant which is often used for clarifying drinking water. Students will make and use alum in various water samples before filtering the water through a sand and anthracite filter. To check the effectiveness of the treatment, the turbidity of the samples will be measured.

6. Flames, Fireworks and Explosions
You can choose from many spectacular experiments - The Volcano Reactions, Barking Dogs, Instant Fire, and Coloured Fireworks among them - to learn more about how fireworks are made and some common causes of explosions and fires in science labs. Demonstrators will help you set up these exciting reactions so that you can perform them safely.

7. Coffee Cups, DNA, and Slime
Question: What on earth do these three things have in common? Answer: They are all part of the group of chemicals called polymers. While the molecular formulae are all different, they are all made by chemically linking together many identical small molecules. In this session, we will be making a number of polymers, including the Ghostbusters' "slime." We will look at how they are formed, and their many uses. We will also consider the solutions to problems that can be associated with the re-use and recycling of mass-produced plastics. (And, yes, you can take your slime home with you.)

Computer Science

8. Build Your Own Space Invaders
This workshop will guide you through the development of a Space Invaders clone using the 2D game development system GameEditor. You will learn basic logical skills in order to create a game. Depending on the level of the workshop, you will also obtain basic programming skills in C. After this fun class you will be able to play your game on your PC, your Mac, or even your iPhone.

Earth Sciences

9. Go Fish!
Bring to life the ancient remains of fossilized fish from the Green River Formation in Wyoming! Using fossil preparation tools and techniques employed by paleontologists and curators in museums worldwide, you will have the opportunity to uncover and prepare your own specimen of a fossilized fish. Each specimen is different- so you may uncover other fossils during your preparatory work! We will discuss how these unique fossils formed and how studying the environments of the past give us a glimpse at our future! When complete take your specimen home with you (and prove it wasn't all a tall fish tale!).

Physics

10. Physics is Too Cool!
In this unit, you will learn about super-cold cryogenic substances like dry ice and liquid-nitrogen. You will investigate how well different types of materials conduct an electrical current at these low temperatures. The materials you will get to examine are metals, semiconductors, and superconductors. It's these superconductors that are expected to have important technological applications because of their many unusual properties; including their ability to levitate magnets, as you will see!

11. At the speed of light
This project is all about light. The internet is delivered to us at the speed of light down fiberoptic cables, using lasers of many colors. So-called 3D TV and movies promises more eciting entertainment. We will explore how this is done, and the nature of light itself, by sending sound across the room without wires; mix, filter and demix "musical light". Cause a fluorescent bulb to light up - without power. Make a true 3D hologram that you can take with you.

Mathematics

12. Take a Calcoolus Tour
Discover how fun "calcoolus" can be using the interactive games and explorations of a software program developed by one of Brock's own Mathematics professors. You will be amazed at how much mathematics you can learn without even trying!

Psychology

13. Rat behaviour: Befriend the laboratory animals
We will take a brief look at animal research using rodents. We will do a rudimentary experiment such as measuring locomotor behaviour in an activity box in different situations, as well as, there will be plenty of opportunities to handle the juvenile rats and learn about their everyday behaviour. We will also feed them a chocolate treat!

14. Measuring the Mind
Discover how to measure brain function and thought through interactive neuropsychological tests - what are your 'neurological strengths'? Experience what it's like when your brain isn't able to do what it's used to doing. Discover how you can measure your mind and what those measures can tell us about the brain and and how it functions.

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