Pretoria matric learners scoop top science award

Pretoria, Gauteng, emerged as victors of this year’s national Minquiz® Science Competition held at Mintek’s campus in Randburg on 27and 28September 2010. Each of the members of the winning team walked away with a half-ounce Kruger Rand sponsored by Rand Refinery Limited worth about R4 500 a piece, while each of the schools they represented received a cash prize of R3 250, sponsored by DCM Deco Metals.

The winners competed against more than 50 other finalists, studying Grade 12 Physical Science and Mathematics at school, who had advanced to the national competition following rigorous provincial competitions in July.

The competition was introduced by Mintek, a national science council and a global leader in mineral and metallurgical innovation, in 1988 with an aim to foster excellence in Mathematics and Physical Science at school and encourage learner interest in careers in Science, Engineering and Technology.

Myra Norman, a member of the winning team from Hoërskool Pretoria-Wes described the Miquiz, experience as “phenomenal”. “It was the first time I took part in a competition like this one. I want to thank Mintek and everyone who made this opportunity possible as this event has opened doors for various possibilities in science and engineering.”

Potchefstroom, North West, were runners-up. Each of its participating students received a portable educational microscope from Advanced Laboratory Supplies. Each school represented in the team received R2 250 donated by South African entrepreneur, Mark Shuttleworth, a previous Minquiz winner and now a patron of the competition. Sasol, Secunda came third and each of its participating students received a book prize donated by Apollo Scientific while each of the schools they represented received R1 250 from the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). All the learners in first, second and third positions received a one-year subscription of Quest, a science magazine published by the Academy of Science of South Africa.

All learners who participated in the competition received a certificate of participation, an issue of Quest, Grade 12 Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and languages study guides published by Proverto, and a Sasol encyclopaedia.

Craig Andrews, of Selly Park High School in the North West province, and Antony James Lake, of Fish Hoek High School in the Western Cape, were named top learners in the Platinum and Gold category (written test) respectively. They were each awarded a Netbook valued at R2 200 and a high-end Texas Instruments scientific calculator worth R2 300, respectively donated by UK-based GFMS and Oxford Educational Supplies.

Heather Elizabeth Rae, of Eunice High School in the Free State, and Lulama Applegreen of Sol Plaatjie Secondary School in the North West, were the top girl learners in the Platinum and Gold category (written test) respectively. They were each awarded a cash prize to the value of R1 000, donated by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), on top of the Texas Instrument calculators.

All the Gold and Platinum category winners and their respective teachers received Texas Instruments top-end scientific calculators.

Thirteen learners obtained a Distinction Certificate (60-79%) and received Texas Instruments basic scientific calculators.

“It was a rewarding experience and we learned a lot from Minquiz. I liked the energy, team spirit and also meeting new people who share the same goals as myself,” said Lulama Applegreen, from Sol Plaatjie Secondary School in Potchefstroom. She added learners felt very much inspired by the address of Professor David Block, the guest speaker at the event.

The University of the Witwatersrand academic excited the participating learners with his talk entitled “The Power of Vision”, which was sponsored by Anglogold Ashanti and Metrohm SA.

Concluding his address and urging the learners to espouse a “change in mindset” and strive for original ideas, Block said: “Every star is a star, and all beetles are born to scratch.” He added that the imprints of Minquiz “continue to blaze a most luminous legacy. Truly astronomical!” He also donated four copies of his latest coffee table book, “Shrouds of the Night”, which he co-authored with fellow astronomer, Professor Kenneth Freeman.

Background to Minquiz

Mintek hosted 56 top Grade 12 learners from schools across all nine provinces as they were competing against each other in the annual Minquiz ® Science Competition on 27and 28September 2010. Learners gathered at Mintek’s campus in Randburg from 14 provincial centres countrywide.

Participating in teams of four, the learners took part in an individual written test, followed by a team building activity which aimed to get each team working together in order to assess each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This was then followed by a live on-stage quiz where teams competed head-on, in a rigorous and nail biting Science and Mathematics competition.

This year, Mintek is proud to announce that the sponsors of the competition have donated prizes to the value of about R166 000, which was paid out to winning learners and schools in various categories. Mintek further invited potential sponsors to the event on 28 September to assess whether the competition fits into their company’s school engagement programmes, and whether the company wishes to support Minquiz next year as an anchor or prize sponsor.

To further inspire and revolutionalise the dreams and visions of our future Scientists, Technologists and Engineers in South Africa, Professor David Block, Director of the Anglo American Cosmic Dust Laboratory at the University of the Witwatersrand, was the guest speaker. Anglogold Ashanti and Metrohm SA generously sponsored the address by Professor Block.

Ms. Zimbini Zwane, Sasol’s Community and Government Relations Affairs Manager also addressed the learners. Sasol has come on board as an anchor sponsor of Minquiz in 2010.

Learners and schools won the following prizes:

Company

Prize Details

Value

DCM Deco Metals
  • Schools represented in first-placed team: R3 250 x 4
R13 000
Mark Shuttleworth
  • Schools represented in second-placed team: R2 250 x 4
R9 000
Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
  • Schools represented in third-placed team: R1 250 x 4
R5 000
Rand Refinery
  • Learners in first placed team: 4 x ½ ounce gold Kruger Rands
About R18 000
Advanced Laboratory Supplies
  • Learners in second-placed team: 4 x portable educational microscopes
About R2 700
Apollo Scientific
  • Learners in third-placed team: 4 x book prizes
R1 400
GFMS
  • Top learner in Gold and Platinum categories: 2 x netbooks
About R4 400
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • Top girl learner in Gold and Platinum categories: 2 x R1 000
R2 000
Oxford Educational Supplies
  • Learners scoring 60-79% in written test: 50 Texas Instruments basic scientific calculators
  • Learners scoring 80% & above in written test: 10 Texas Instruments advanced scientific calculators
  • Learners with highest marks in written test (2 Gold & 2 Platinum): 4 Texas Instruments top-end scientific calculators
  • Teachers of learners with highest marks in written test (2 Gold & 2 Platinum): 4 Texas Instruments top-end scientific calculators
R56 900
ASSAf
  • Latest issue of Quest magazine to all participants
  • Learners in first, second and third place: 12 one-year Quest subscriptions
About R3 600
Proverto
  • Grade 12 Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and languages study guides to all participants (learners & chaperones)
About R25 000
Sasol
  • Sasol encyclopaedia to all participants
About R10 000

 

For general information regarding sponsorship opportunities and Minquiz, please contact: Dominic Monama at: dominicm@mintek.co.za or Tel. 011 709 4139.