Scifest 2011 at ITTralee, a great success

SciFest 2011 at IT Tralee Post-primary school students from schools in Kerry taking science to the next level with 22 entries in SciFest 2011 at IT Tralee

Post-primary students from schools in Kerry attended the SciFest 2011 exhibition at the Institute of Technology, Tralee on May 10th. SciFest is a series of one day science fairs funded by Intel Ireland and Discover Science and Engineering as project partners and hosted nationwide by the Institutes of Technology.

Students representing Mercy Mounthawk, the Intermediate School Killorglin, Coláiste na Sceilige, Coláiste Íde Dingle, Causeway Comprehensive, Tralee Community College, St. Brendans College Killarney, Killorglin Community College and the Presentation School Tralee exhibited a range of science and technology projects, demonstrating some excellent innovative ideas that captured the imagination of those in attendance.

Over 200 students visited the exhibition hall in addition to attending a presentation on the topic  Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship given by Dr. Edmond Harty, Technical Director, Dairymaster and Riona Sayers, CEO, Independent Milk Laboratories. Dairymaster are also one of the main sponsors of the IT Tralee Scifest event. Mike Fitzgerald of Altrobridge also addressed the audience as part of the closing ceremony.

In addressing those in attendance, Acting President of the IT, Tralee Dr. Oliver Murphy congratulated all of those involved commenting on the high standard of the submissions. He also expressed his thanks to the various science teachers and schools for their support in ensuring the high level entries and thereby the success of the ITT Scifest event.

Sheila Porter, SciFest National Coordinator, said, â¿¿SciFest is a fun and exciting way to encourage an interest in science at school level, providing not only an occasion to celebrate achievement and a job well done but also an opportunity to encourage active and collaborative learning. The rapid increase in participation in the competition is a clear indication of the interest and enthusiasm among students and teachers in the investigative approach to teaching and learning science. I would like to thank all of our partners including Intel, Discover Science and Engineering, BT, Abbott Ireland, PharmaChemical Ireland and all the Institutes Technology.  Without their support, none of this would be possible.⿝

The overall competition winners were Laura Kennelly and Clodagh Woods representing Killorglin Intermediate School. Their project titled  â¿¿Food â¿¿ 5 seconds on the floor, eat it or bin it?⿝ questioned the hypotheses if eating dropped food poses a risk to ingestion of bacteria, if picked up within five seconds.  Their project proved that this common belief is false and that food does become contaminated within the five second period.

Prize Category Sponsor Name School Project
Best Project Award - Winner Intel Laura Kennelly, Clodagh Woods Intermediate School, Killorglin Food â¿¿ 5 seconds on the floor, eat it or bin it?
There is a common belief known as the ⿿5 second rule⿝, which states that eating dropped food does not pose a risk to ingestion of bacteria, if picked up within five seconds. We will investigate if this is a ⿿safe⿝ time period.
Best Project Award - Runner Up Abbott Muireann Keating, Grainne McCarthy Presentation Secondary School, Tralee Sun Safety â¿¿ Know your skin
We plan to carry out a survey asking questions on eye and hair colour along with skin tone and if that persons burns easily in the Sun. Then we shall analyse our results. We also plan to create our own organic suncream made from ingredients we sourced online. Along with the above we are going to try get in touch with some sun-safe companies such as sun-smart by the Irish cancer society.
Best Communicator Award BT Patrick Dineen, Marliza O'Dwyer, Katie Falvey Causeway Comprehensive Invent.
Invent will use a carbon monoxide detector that will ring and flash when/if Carbon Monoxide levels in a house reach a dangerous level. It will also open all the vents in the house at the first detection of Carbon Monoxide and close them once the levels return to a safe level.
Discovery Sensors Award - Winner Discovery Sensors Lorraine Keane, Louise Thornton, David Rice Causeway Comprehensive House Insulation
We are comparing different forms of Insulation in houses for example, Double glazed windows to single glazed windows, no insulation in cavity walls and insulation in cavity walls and no attic insulation to insulation in attic.
Best School Award Dairymaster --- Colaiste na Sceilige, Caherciveen ---
International year of Chemistry 2011 Award Pharmaceutical Ireland Grace Lynch Colaiste na Sceilige, Caherciveen The Organic Antiseptic
From studies antiseptics contain harsh, acidic chemicals which can cause severe skin irritation. For my project I am making a natural antiseptic derived from garlic (also elements of aloe vera and honey). I will test the gel and my natural antiseptic on bacteria and see which kills it fasters.
Maths in Science Award NCE MSTL Jamie Sugrue Colaiste na Sceilige, Caherciveen The most effective organic fertiliser for plants.
For my project I wanted to find the most effective organic fertiliser for plants. I used 10 plants for each fertiliser; tea bags, dead leaves, banana skins and crushed egg shells, I then had a control with nothing around the plant.
Highly Commended --- Billy Donovan, Gavin Connolly Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee ⿿Poo⿿s the best⿝
Manure from sheep, pigs, cows, chickens, and horses will be collected and we will investigate which manure gives optimum vegetable growth. We will also try to analyse at which concentration will it work best and is there a correlation between vegetable and the manure used for growth performance.
Highly Commended --- Daniel Ahern, Kyle Griffin Killorglin Community College Design an anti theft farm animal alarm
Our project is an alarm that will be built into a steak or pillar that detects when a gap handle is lifted. This sets off an alarm in the farmers home or phone to let him know that the gap handle has been lifted.
Highly Commended --- Hugh McGuire, Niamh Joy, Aisling O Shea Intermediate School, Killorglin Screening soil for antimicrobial activity ⿿⿿Germ warfare taking place in a soil near you⿝.
To inoculate nutrient agar plates with a soil samples. To observe for any microbial activity (clear zones around colonies). To isolate potential candidates. To overlay with an indicator organism (Lactobacillus Lactis). To observe results.
Highly Commended --- Czara Casey, Aneta Guxha Presentation Secondary School, Tralee Genetic Inheritance
We will investigate how one can determine their childâ¿¿s possible eye colour, etc. We will find out why some siblings donâ¿¿t inherit the same alleles for eye colour from their parents. We will investigate why some people have certain traits.
Highly Commended --- Emma Carey, Melissa O Sullivan Colaiste na Sceilige, Caherciveen Whats going on behind those puppy dog eyes.
Our project is to test out dogs reactions to 5 tests. These test out their different senses: smell, sight, hearing, feeling. We are looking for the dogs reaction and if the results are the same in the age and breed sections.
Highly Commended --- Sarah Louise O Connell, Odhran O Mahony, Chris O Sullivan Colaiste na Sceilige, Caherciveen The influence of music on physical and mental tasks.
Out project is to investigate whether music has an influence on performance, challenges, and reaction tests. We set 3 different challenges while listening to different types of music and recorded the results.