Seaview Gardens Primary School in Kingston has rapidly gained the enviable reputation of being a cradle for budding young scientists and innovators.
Since 2014/15, this beacon of knowledge and education, which sits majestically in the community for which it is named, has copped the primary school category of the Scientific Research Council’s (SRC) annual National Science and Technology Fair and Competition, with a number of outstanding entries.
That year, the school won with ‘World of Plastic’ – a house created entirely from plastic materials; while in 2015/16, the institution took pole position with ‘Mosquimed’ – an insect repellent made from coconut oil, menthol, eucalyptus leaf extract, guinea hen weed and alcohol, which doubles as a pain reliever.
Seaview Gardens Primary was again propelled to the top spot in 2016/17 with ‘ER’ – an innovatively designed emergency respirator made with styrofoam cups, lunch boxes, cotton and charcoal, and comprising a glass tank, respirator tubes, valves and filter.
The innovation also includes a mobile mask, a biosphere that hosts plants for the generation of oxygen and a collecting reservoir.
In 2017/18, the institution again leapfrogged its age-group rivals with ‘So Real’ – a multipurpose cleaning agent/solution extracted from the sorrel plant.
The win earned the school $200,000 to purchase science equipment, and trophies medals and prizes for the teachers and students.
Principal of Seaview Gardens Primary, Sangieanna Reid Prince, attributes the school’s success to the strong emphasis on the comprehensive and holistic delivery of science to the 790-student population.
“We integrate it across the curriculum in other subject areas,” she tells JIS News.
This focus, she points out, is complemented by activities undertaken through the Young Innovators/Inventors Science Club, which was established in 2007.
She tells JIS News that the science programme is delivered by four teachers, three of whom serve as mentors, while the fourth, Racquel Rose Taylor, is the club’s coordinator.
Mrs. Reid Prince explains that preparations for the SRC science fair and competition commence at the start of each academic year, with club members and teachers/mentors identifying topical issues and challenges and exploring potential solutions.
This approach has contributed significantly to the school’s success over the years, the signs of which were apparent from as early as 2007/08, when the institution first participated.
Mrs. Rose Taylor tells JIS News that the styrofoam sealant project entered that first year earned the school the first runner-up spot and prize for the ‘Best Presenting Team.’ The school got third place for its Solar Multipurpose Food Ware project entry in 2013/14.
Since then, Seaview Gardens Primary has copped four consecutive victories, cementing its legacy in the competition.
Mrs. Rose Taylor says the teachers and students are proud of the ‘So Real’ cleaning product, the idea for which came from observing how clean pots were after being used to prepare sorrel for drinking.
“We conducted our research and discovered that the plant has oxalic, which has cleaning properties… and that products containing this (oxalic) element are manufactured commercially and used to clean (away) rust and mildew, among other surface build-ups. So, in addition to sorrel being used to make drinks and preserves such as jams and jellies, we discovered that we can make this multipurpose cleaner,” she explains.
Mrs. Rose Taylor tells JIS News that the ‘So Real’ agent is used to clean the school’s whiteboards, desks, floors, walls, windows, rails and chairs, noting that “it has so many uses”.
She says the production of other by-products, such as soaps and dish cleaners, is being explored.
Members of the winning team are proud of the innovation and the school’s success in the SRC science competition over the years.
Former head girl, Rihanna Hinds, who will attend Excelsior High School in September, attributes the achievement to the hard work by the students and teachers.
“Science is such a wonderful thing. We have wonderful teachers, who teach a lot about science, so we get many opportunities to do and create many things. My school won because of our excellent performance,” the 11-year-old tells JIS News.