EDUCATION: At age 11, North Delta student is extracting DNA

"Minds of Discovery" science fair at Scottsdale Centre on March 2

Jonas Ponce

By Trevor Beggs, Now contributor

NORTH DELTA — Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

You could find out by visiting Scottsdale Centre next Wednesday, March 2.

That’s when the Delta School District is hosting its annual “Minds of Discovery” science fair, at the mall from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

It’s a chance to see some of the brightest young students from Delta, like Devon Gardens Elementary student Jonas Ponce.

Ponce, 11, spent two months working on a DNA extraction experiment. He conducted two separate experiments to extract DNA from both plant and animal cells, using a strawberry and some of his cheek cells as the subjects.

“I was curious about DNA and I wanted to know why people look like they do,” said Ponce.

“I wanted to know if it is possible to separate DNA from any living thing.”

It’s the first time his teacher Janice Willcox has seen an experiment on DNA extraction.

“Kids love it because they really get to go beyond their grade level,” said Willcox.

Each elementary school in Delta is holding its own science fair this week. The top science projects from each school will be on display at Scottsdale Centre. Close to 200 students from nine elementary schools will be participating.

The participating students will present their projects to a singular judge, who will reward them with a red, silver or gold ribbon.

Grade 7 students participating will be eligible to participate in South Fraser Regional Science Fair, which takes place in Surrey this April.

As a Grade 6 student, Ponce isn’t eligible this year, but he wants to keep working on DNA extraction. He has his sights set on making it to the regional fair next year.


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