28 Nov 2021

GALLERY: Prosthetics for pets among Portlaoise College SciFest projects

Portlaoise College held their first SciFest@School this week as the secondary school continues to advance their science skills.

In all over 140 students from first year exhibited 44 interesting and innovative science projects in the school on Wednesday February 5.

Scroll through the gallery of award winners. 

Some of the projects on display included “How to make a homemade water filter”. Students created their own Liebig Condenser from products found at home and successfully used it to separate salt and water.

Another group examined the relationship between gender and the Stroop Effect by asking students in their class to identify the colour pen the words, red, blue, black and yellow were written in. This task usually causes a decrease in people's response and the group were keen to know if gender had an impact on the length of time it took to complete the task.

Judging was co-ordinated by Catherine Tattersall from SciFest Ireland. She worked with a team of eight judges sourced by the Science Department at Portlaoise College from 3rd Level colleges and local industries including Enva, Maynooth University, Carlow Institute of Technology and Athlone Institute of Technology.

The judges praised the quality of the projects the students created and noted the excellent communication skills they displayed.

Three students in particular were awarded for the quality of their communication skills; Richard Ter-Grigjoran, Alex Percy and Conor McGausland.

The overall prize went to a project entitled Animal Prosthetics produced by Kayla Daly, Mariya Petrushkova and Lena Lewondownska.

The project examined the impact of prosthetic limbs in cats and dogs on their quality of life, in particular the girls wanted to know if an animal's life expectancy increased as a result of receiving a prosthetic limb.

The achievement of these students and all those who took part in SciFest@School in Portlaoise College would not have
been possible were it not for the support and encouragement students received from their teachers and parents.

The Principal is Noel Daly.

“We are delighted to host SciFest@School in our school because the SciFest competition allows students to develop their study of science, technology, engineering and maths, outside of the classroom and apply it to everyday life. All of the students have worked very hard on their projects and should be very proud of their achievements. We all wish the best of luck to the students going on to the next stage of the SciFest competition which will see them compete in SciFest@College in Athlone
Institute of Technology”.

Portlaoise College has thanked all that were involved in making the day a success.

Science teacher Mary Marum explained how helpful SciFest is.

“SciFest@School is a celebration of STEM subjects. It encourages students to push the boundaries of the classroom, use their
knowledge of science, investigate and be creative in their projects. It teaches valuable skills that are transferable across the schools curriculum and will stand to students as the progress through their schooling years," she said.

SciFest is a series of one day science fairs, funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel and Boston Scientific. It is also supported by a number of other companies and organisations. SciFest@School is where a second-level school hosts their own in-house SciFest science fair.
SciFest@School was introduced in 2011 and there has been strong demand from schools to participate. SciFest@School is the first strand of the SciFest programme. Second-level students can also participate in SciFest@College in their local Institute of Technology, DCU or St Mary’s College, Derry. Winners from these fairs go on to compete in a national final each November in
Dublin for the chance to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the USA.

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