Success for Moate Scientists in at SciFest Regional

On Friday 12th of April, seven groups of First year and Transition year Science students from MCS presented the findings of their investigations at the Regional Final of SciFest in Athlone Institute of Technology.

Irene Murphy and Rebecca Simpson’s project titled ‘Spray your Way to Healthy Play’ studied the bacteria levels on sports gum shields after use. The students investigated the effectiveness of a number of plant materials at reducing bacterial growth to develop a natural spray to disinfect the gum shields.

Grace O’Flaherty compared the ability of a number of common substances to reduce the growth of moss on lawns and tarmac in her project ‘Be the Boss of your Moss’. She also studied the impact of increasing the concentration of the substance on moss growth. Grace was awarded 2nd Place in the Junior Life Sciences Individual category for her project.

Abbie Coolohan and Poppy Hennessy examined the heats of combustion of a number of fruit skins and nut shells in order to determine if fruit waste is a suitable biofuel. Their project ‘Is Food Waste our New Energy?’ was awarded the Arran Chemicals Junior Physical Sciences 2nd Place Award.

Grainne Kelly and Eimear Keenan impressed the judges with their project ‘The Drought Tolerance of Irish Grasses’. The girls compared the percentage germination, root length and shoot length of eleven varieties of grass sown in different artificial drought conditions over three weeks. The students were awarded the PPD Junior Life Sciences Group 1st Place Prize for their work.

Jay Looney, Ruiari Casey and Oisin Murphy created a passive solar still for the purification of water containing heavy metals such as lead. The students investigated the effect of a number of design factors on the condensation rate of the solar still. Their project ‘Purification to Save a Nation’ was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Intermediate Life Sciences Group Category. They were also awarded the Air Products and Water Quality 3rd Place Prize.

Michelle Corcoran and Kirsty Lohan developed their previous SciFest project to investigate whether UV light is a suitable alternative to chlorine based detergents on dairy farms. The girls compared the kill effect of common detergents and UV light. They also visited Teagasc Moorepark in Co. Cork where they tested the trichloromethane levels of the milk tank washings. They were awarded 2nd Place in the Intermediate Life Sciences Group Category and the Air Products and Water Quality 2nd Place Prize.

Stephen Kelly and Christopher Kerrigan developed a device which could be attached to an agricultural electric fence which could detect a drop in voltage. The device could then immediately alert the farmer by text message should a breakage occur. Their project ‘Fence Defence’ won the Ericsson Intermediate Group Technology 2nd Place prize and the Intel Best Technology Award.

The judges were impressed with the student’s enthusiasm and confidence during their presentations. The future of Science is in safe hands!

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