GALLERY: Study of Fortnite among Laois school's projects at BT Young Scientist Exhibition

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Heywood Community School is leading Laois at the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition, showing five of the county's six projects at the event next January.
One of the most topical is a project studying the negative affects of the addictive video game Fortnite.

Three transition year students, Ben Coss, Fionan Mahoney and James Whelan are investigating the effects that the online game has on the mood of players.

“Fortnite is one of the most popular and addictive games at the moment. When people aren’t playing it they are watching it, this desensitizes the brain to violence. Addicted people also lose out on other opportunities. We intend to survey individuals on whether or not playing Fortnite has a negative/ positive effect on their mood. We are also researching how mood is affected when regular players are prevented from playing,” the group say.

Second year student Koren Dunne's project in the Junior category is also topical, a study on the effects of changing to Daylight Saving Time on secondlevel students, involving surveys of first to third year s before and after the clocks went back.
“I investigated the effects of their eating habits and physical activity,”she esaid.

A Study on the Effects of Charcoal Toothpaste is by fifth years Thanh Phelan and Shona Phelan.
“The aim of our experiment is to find out the benefits of using charcoal toothpaste instead of using regular toothpaste. We also hope to find out the possible negative effects of using it on a daily basis,” Thanh said.

A keen athlete with Ballyroan Athletics club, Evan Hogg from 3rd Year has focused on exercise for his project, called Less is Better.
“The objective is to figure out which is more beneficial for student's performance in a bleep test; three 10 minute exercise periods a week or one 30 minute exercise period a week. I also hope to investigate the effects on the fitness and mental wellbeing of the participants,” he said.

Lastly, Luke Dowdall and Joey Moore both from fifth year, are investigating what influences plasma’s colour.
“Plasma is an ionised gas that changes colour based on what gas is used to make it. Plasma's colour is also influenced by the amount of energy running through it. Our project explores the influence of each of these factors on plasmas colour,” they explain.

In all Heywood has nine students exhibiting, and they will stay with their teachers in Dublin for the duration to avail of the social networking it offers.

Aodhagan O'Suilleabhan leads the science dept.
“We are delighted to have five projects in this year, after having six last year,” he said.

There was a surge in interest in science at the school after they began holding SciFest school competitions in 2017.
“SciFest is accessible rather than elite, more students have taken an interest because of it. We brought our second years to SciFest Carlow and they picked up tips and started conversations for projects,” Mr O'Suilleabhan said.

Portlaoise College is also sending a project to the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, taking place in the RDS in Dublin this January. Knockbeg College on the Laois Carlow border is also sending a project.