LAST month Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise ran their first in school Science Festival (SciFest). SciFest is a series of one day science fairs for second level students hosted at local level in schools and at regional level in the Institutes of Technology.
Over 150 girls participated in the festival. Projects ranged from the investigation of crater formation on the moon to the little creatures in the ground, the worms.
The festival was opened by Principal Helen O’Donnell, who addressed all 152 young ladies, along with external judges Shelia and George Porter (the founders of SciFest Ireland). Throughout the day, the judges put the young scientists though their paces, visiting poster presentations, listening to accounts of investigations and asking numerous questions. The girls were well prepared and the judges said they were impressed with their scientific literacy, enthusiasm and oral presentation skills.
There were sixteen transition year projects in total. First prize went to an innovative group, who had responded to recent slurry pit deaths by designing a safety/first aid pack for use during slurry tank incidences. Second prize went to Anna Fitzgibbon, Lorna Dunne and Simone Phelan. With thirty six second year projects, the competition in this the junior category was stiff. First prize went to Minee Pataki, Clodagh Howe and Ashling Keegen, who investigated music’s effect on the growth of plants. A project that monitored the eating habits of garden birds in a town setting, on the outskirts of a town and in the country secured second prize for Hoda Ahmed, Courtney Collins and Laoise O’Connell. Third prize went to Deborah Corcoran and Anna Orzechowska, who investigated one of the claims made a water purification system. They investigated the claim that, one of the waters produced by this system ,is the best disinfectant and sanitizer available.
Deborah Corcoran won the coveted Best Science Communicator prize, a decision reinforced by her ability to give an impromptu speech at the prize giving ceremony. The judges honoured another 11 projects with highly recommended badges. All 17 projects will now go forward to compete at Scifest in Thurles Institute of Technology on May 2.