St. Andrew students head to ExploraVision national finals

A small team of innovators from St. Andrew School’s Program for Gifted Learners (PGL) are going to the ExploraVision finals for their CT-Scan-To-Go invention! Toshiba and the National Science Teaching Association (N.S.T.A.) announced on Friday that the four-student team won the regional branch of the international innovation competition.

The St. Andrew students beat out teams from across Canada and the northernmost U.S. states. ExploraVision is the largest K-12 science competition designed to build problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills central to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Advancing CT scans with scientific principles and research

The St. Andrews team came up with a computed tomography portable scanner they call CT-Scan-To-Go. The device is small enough to fit into a suitcase. It operates with an x-ray transmitter and receiver attached to a helmet designed to fit the patient’s head. By using robotic arms, the transmitter and receiver circulate the patient’s head, allowing each part of the patient’s body to be scanned. The images are then pieced together much like a puzzle to create a complete body image and sent to a physician to interpret the results.

St. Andrew Program for Gifted Learners (PGL) Teacher Nancy McLaren said, “Two-thirds of the planet does not have access to essential radiology services. Computed Tomography Scanners traditionally take up a lot of room and are not portable. This device has the potential to save lives around the globe!”

OCSB students excel at regional competition

Ms. McLaren said in addition to the CT-Scan-To-Go Team, two more teams from St. Andrew PGL earned honourable mentions in the competition. At the same time, five St. Brother Andre PGL student teams also achieved honourable mentions in the contest. In a traditional year, 20,000 entries would make it to the competition – placing our OCSB schools’ honourable mentions in the top 10% of all entries. Ms. McLaren said OCSB PGL students are highly motivated and committed to making a difference locally and globally.

This year’s regional winners’ projects include innovative ideas ranging from computed tomography portable scanners to more cost-effective approaches for launching space rockets. The 23 winning teams will now advance to the national phase of the competition, where participants will have a chance to win $10,000 U.S.  

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