SciFest @St Brendans 2015

Cian Buckley O'Sullivan and Luke Murphy who designed a solar-powered water purifier SciFest @ St Brendans Mar 15

The department of science at St Brendan’s College held a Junior and Intermediate SciFest@School Science Fair on Thursday the 5th of February 2015.  Twenty groups comprising of first, second and transition year students competed in the competition.

Students arrived into the large Study Hall, at 9am, amid an air of excitement and anticipation.  They earnestly set about setting up their posters, displays and models.  Project titles were varied, many reflecting the interests and life experiences of this group of 12-16 year olds.  Titles of projects covered a myriad of captivating topics ranging from ‘Farm Safety’, ‘The effects of internet usage on teenagers’ personalities’ and ‘Charge as you Drive’; the electric car that charges its battery as it is driving’.

While the competing students were busy setting up their projects and impressing the judges, others were busy setting up their demonstration tables.  The judges Mr. Jim O Brien (Deputy Principal of St Brendan’s College), Mrs Sheila Porter (CEO of SciFest) and Dr Tim Yeoman (Researcher in Tralee Institute of Technology) spoke tArmadas Bendaravicius pictured with his work on drift turbines which was awarded first prize in the junior categoryo the competitors about the importance of displaying their love and enthusiasm for science.

Transition Year, second year and first year students were a great help on the day.  In groups of two they set up and manned stands in biology, chemistry, physics and agricultural science.  The remaining Transition Year, Second Year and First Year students performed a wide range of tasks to ensure the day ran smoothly.  In addition to setting up the hall and helping the students display their work, they brought light refreshments to the Study Hall, met and greeted parents, took photographs and set up the microphone and projector.

The judges had made their decision by 2pm and the awards ceremony began.  Parents of the competitors were invited in to view the projects and enjoy some teas/coffees and light refreshments.  First prize in the Junior Category was awarded to Armadas Bendaravicius for his research on and design of drift turbines which could be used to provide a renewable energy power source by harnessing the power of off-shore winds. First prize in the intermediate categorCathal Hickey, David Kenny and Cian A. O'Sullivan who were awarded first prize in the intermediate category for their model electric cary was awarded to Cathal Hickey, Cian A. O’Sullivan and David Kenny for their electric car model which charges its battery as it drives. This technology has the potential to revolutionise the electric car market.

Well done to all the students who entered projects in this competition.  The prize-winners will have the opportunity to continue their research and the present their projects in the next round of the SciFest which will be held in May in Tralee IT.  SciFest provides a wonderful opportunity for students of all abilities to work as part of a team and to research and develop their ideas in an area that interests them.  The competitiveness of the more able students encourages all competitors to perform and present work of a very high standard while the less academic students are exposed to and engage in science in a new way.  Students are only too delighted to speak to anyone who asks them about their project, the model they have built, the poster they have created or the food they have prepared.  It was a lovely experience for the students involved in this fair as they had the opportunity to speak about their projects to fellow students and teachers, which was a huge confidence builder for many students exhibiting.  For this day they were the centre of attention and loved being listened too.

Several students from last year’s SciFest@school, St Brendan’s College. Went on to compete and win awards in Tralee IT.  One first year group comprised of three brothers reached the National Final of SciFest held in Dublin last November.  Harry, James and Jack Knoblauchs’ project entitled “Hydro-mite” was based on looking at the feasibility of micro hydroelectric power in Ireland.  In this National SciFest Competition, the boys won the Irish Science Teachers Association trophy for their project.

This Science Fair held in St Brendan’s College would not have been possible without the help of so many people: Judges – Mr. Jim O Brien, Mrs Sheila Porter, Dr. Tim Yeoman, Teachers – Marian O’ Gorman, Paul Lynch and Marie Vaughan, Exhibitors, Presenters, Colleagues, the students who helped the day to run smoothly, the sponsorship received from both SciFest and the college itself.  Already, we are looking forward to the success of next year’s Science fair.


Marie Vaughan and Marian O’ Gorman.

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