Nurturing Future Scientists - UCT Students Judge ISCT Year 6 Science Expo

26 Apr 2024 | By Leila Nefdt
26 Apr 2024 | By Leila Nefdt

In a bid to foster scientific curiosity and innovation among young minds, the International School of Cape Town (ISCT) recently held its Year 6 Annual Science Expo on 25 April 2024. The event saw eager participation from the University of Cape Town's (UCT) rising academic talents, who served as judges alongside other external experts and parents of some of the school’s learners.

The ISCT's initiative aims to prepare students for the prestigious Annual Eskom Young Scientists Expo, scheduled for later this year, by instilling in them a strong understanding of the scientific method and nurturing their investigative spirit. Under the guidance of their teachers, the Year 6 students embarked on independently running their own scientific projects, delving into diverse fields of inquiry.

Among the judges were representatives from UCT-MARiS, specifically the Early Career Researchers (ECRs). Reflecting on their experience as judges, Magata Mangatane, a PhD student from UCT's Department of Oceanography, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to ISCT staff for orchestrating such a valuable platform. "It's initiatives like these that cultivate the next generation of scientists and innovators," remarked Mangatane. "I was blown away by the creativity, knowledge, and enthusiasm displayed by the Year 6 students. Their innovative projects showcased a good understanding of scientific principles and a genuine passion for discovery."

Magata_ISCT expo

Faith February, a Postdoctoral Fellow from the UCT Department of Oceanography, shared "We were received with open arms and treated like celebrities by the ISCT teachers and learners!" Faith was equally impressed by the calibre of projects presented. "The kids and their projects blew us away!" exclaimed February. "The detail that the learners went to, was absolutely amazing!" A project that really stood out for her was the “Ice and Easy” project by one of the learners, Joshua. Faith was curious to hear what his project was all about, especially because it aligned quite nicely with one of MARiS' research foci, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research. Joshua’s research question was to find out what type of material would best reinforce an ice block. He tested several household items by freezing it over the same length of time with 750ml of water in a Tupperware container. After the blocks were frozen, he would drop it from a 1m height and compare the weights before and after the fall. His experiment determined that "cotton wool" was the household item to best reinforce the ice block. Sharing briefly with Joshua about the research that MARiS does in Antarctica and looking at various aspects of sea ice, his whole face lit up with excitement to learn about other ice research!

Dayna Collins, a Masters student from the UCT Department of Oceanography, shared her enthusiasm for engaging with the young scientists. "I really enjoyed the experience and talking to the students," said Collins. "It was amazing to see the work and effort they had put into their projects. Hearing them explain their processes and seeing their excitement for the work they had done was really awesome."

Yameen Badrodien, a PhD student from the UCT Department of Biological Sciences, echoed the sentiment, describing the event as a fantastic and invaluable experience for both the UCT-MARiS Early Career Researchers and the Year 6 learners from ISCT.

ISCT Expo 2024

The ISCT Year 6 Annual Science Expo not only serves as a platform for students to showcase their scientific endeavors but also provides them with an invaluable opportunity to interact with real-life scientists, refine their communication skills, and gain confidence in presenting their findings. As these young minds continue to shine, the future of scientific innovation in South Africa looks brighter than ever.

If anyone else is interested in getting involved in judging, mentoring or assisting young learners with these types of initiatives, please feel free to reach out to the ISCT School Liaison, Georgina Douglas via email at OR send us an email at