Moate CS Students scoop nine awards at the BT Young Scientists and Technology Exhibition

Congratulations to the budding Moate CS young scientists and their teachers on being awarded with nine prestigious awards at the virtual BT Scientists and Technology Exhibition, including Best Group Project, Best School, Teacher and major Category Awards.

TY Students Chloe Murphy, Abby Mullins and Megan Carroll were awarded Best Overall Group 2021 along with the Perrigo Best Project in the Biological and Ecological Sciences.

The aim of their project Wool Saviour of the Sea was to develop a wool blanket which allows the timely and thorough removal of oil slicks following oil spills. The students carried out experiments with wool from various breeds of sheep to determine which wool breed, and in what form, is best suitable for absorbing oil. The results of their investigations show that all wool breeds effectively absorbed oil, with Fine Bred Grey being most effective in its natural form. The absorption of oil by sheep wool was attributed to the presence of a natural waxy oil in the wool. The students plan to further their project by examining the effect of weaving, crocheting and knitting on the oil absorption. The girls are stunned and delighted with their win.

Daragh Lowry and Conall Mandal took first place in the Intermediate Group of the Technology Category. These TY students designed an app, ‘Moate Guide’ for their project, An app to co-ordinate your awareness and knowledge of your locality.  This app shows information on Moate and its significant places with pictures, sounds and narrations, along with quizzes and orienteering activities to target a younger audience.  They developed their ‘Moate Guide’ in the programming language java using google supports. They carried out surveys to identify how they should design their app. They have introduced a prototype of the Moate Guide to their fellow students at MCS who found it user friendly and interesting.  The students plan to increase awareness of the knowledge, history, sites, amenities, etc in their locality by making their app available to locals and visitors to the town.


Aine Maxwell, Joyce Conway and Laura Conlon won first place in the Intermediate group of the Biological and Ecological category. In their project, Stop milk spoilage; start seeing changes, these TY students designed a milk carton, incorporating freshness indicators, that reduced milk spoilage and warns the consumer when milk is at risk of spoilage.


Initially, the group examined the changes in milk pH, sensory properties and titratable acidity when milk was stored at different temperatures. They also tested the effectiveness of a food-based indicators (tumeric, red cabbage, raddish) at indicating milk spoilage by producing a vivid colour change. Using their findings, they designed a milk carton, using a blue colour to minimise heat absorption and including smiley face motifs with thermochromic dyes, as a visual reminder to consumers to return milk to the fridge when the carton temperature increases.


Second Year students, Reuben Guinan and Kian Brady won first prize in the Junior Group of the Biological and Ecological category. In their project Superfoods and their Effects on Diabetes, the students analysed the Vitamin C, Sugars and Fibre content of various fruits and vegetables. They found that Vitamin C and Sugar content varied greatly for all fruits and vegetables analysed, red onions and peppers having the highest Vitamin C. They noted that fibre is important for people with diabetes, keeping their sugars levels low. They found when blending fruits like blueberries, the level of fibre is reduced, indicating smoothies may not be the best for diabetics. Fruit or vegetables containing the highest vitamin C and fibre levels and the lowest sugar concentration are most suitable for the diet of people with diabetes.

Shana Brady, Lauren Finan and Aine Broderick took second place also in the Biological and Ecological category. Their project An Investigation on the Impact of Diet on the Prevalence of Laminitis among Connemara Ponies, these second year students carried out experiments to determine which site is best for Connemara Ponies. These experiments included a habitat study, sugar content, dry matter content and a stem to leaf ratio experiment. They used their findings to recommend a better seeding mix for farmers in order to prevent laminitis.  Laminitis is a condition that causes the hoof to be inflamed making it extremely painful for the horse or pony to walk.


Ava and Leah Hallissy along with Annie Duffy won a Highly Commended award in the Biological and Ecological category for their project The Future is Bright: Turning Organic Waste into BioFuel. The girls produced biofuel pellets from domestic compost like fruit and vegetable peelings. They measured the heat of combustion of their pellets. They would like to express sincere thanks to Dr. Sean Reidy and Christy Hopkins of the AIT for facilitating them with some of their experiments.


Five other projects from MCS students were presented to the judges:-

Transition Year Students’ Projects:

Labhaoise Foley, Kaytlin Flynn and Emer Killian: The Bird Feeder Infection Problem Caitlin Blom and Rachel Bermingham: Investigating the Effect of Music on the Addictiveness of Video Games.  Tara Hamilton and Aine Egan: A Statistical Analysis of the Effect from home on gender Stereotyping During Lockdown

Second Year Students:

Niamh Kelly, Sarah McCormack & Skyla Looney: Examining the Impact of Lockdown on the Irish Diet.  Aine Macken & Mia Shelam: Ironing out the Water Quality Issues on Irish Pig Farms

Perrigo Educator Award

Ms Maireád Cusack won the Perrigo Educator of Excellence Award. Mairead works tirelessly each year with the BTYS students focusing them on project ideas, advising them on their scientific investigations, helping with presentations in preparation for the judges. She is a truly inspirational science educator and a well-deserved recipient of this award.

The MCS students would like to thank Ms Cusack and the other teachers Ms Irene O’Sullivan, Ms Margaret Mandal and Mr Colin Doyle for their support with the BTYS projects. In recognition of the high standard of work and presentation, Moate Community School was awarded Best School at the BT Young Scientists & Technology Exhibition.

The students benefitted hugely from their BTYS experiences, here are some of their comments….

‘I quite enjoyed the fact that the exhibition was virtual as we were not at risk of getting COVID and we could enjoy it from home. Although I would have loved to be up in the RDS to view other projects and enjoy the experience.’

‘I learned how to be a better communicator and how to work better in a team.’

‘I thought the judging process was different but good and I thought there was less stress because it was online.  Overall, I felt this was a very good experience and I enjoyed it very much.’

Congratulations to the MCS students and their teachers on their fantastic achievements at the BT Young Scientists and Technology Exhibition.