Students Reach For The Scifest

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SCIENCE projects ranging from increasing milk yields through cow-love to getting drunk on mouthwash were on show at the SciFest fair at the ITT on Thursday where students from all over Kerry took part.

SciFest is a series of one-day science fairs for second-level students hosted locally in schools and at regional level in the Institutes of Technology and there were nearly 40 projects up for judging at the fair.

We visited the college to find out more about the Tralee schools’ projects.

Laura Ni Eaidhin, of Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai with her 'Safety On Our Roads' project at the Scifest Fair at the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Laura Ni Eaidhin, of Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai with her ‘Safety On Our Roads’ project at the Scifest Fair at the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Faring best of the Tralee schools was Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai’s Laura Ni Eidhin who finished Runner-Up in the Best Project category for her  ‘Sábhálacht ar ár mbothaire – Safety on our roads (A statistical analysis of driver knowledge)’ project.

“It’s about safe and fuel-efficient driving. I’m very interested in the environment and I was on the Green committee in my primary school so I decided to do a project on it,” said Laura.

Orla Ni Chonchuir of Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai with her project 'Shoes - Cost Or Comfort' at the Scifest Fair at the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Orla Ni Chonchuir of Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai with her project ‘Shoes – Cost Or Comfort’ at the Scifest Fair at the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Orla Ni Chonchuir of Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai did a project on the effects of wearing cheap flat shoes.

“I found that wearing flat shoes causes more pain and swollen ankles. You have a greater chance of hip, knee and back problems and of getting athletes foot,” said Orla.

Mercy Mounthawk student, Grace Egan, Ardfert, with her project 'Does Extra Tender Loving Care Increase Milk Yields In Dairy Cows', at the Scifest Fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Mercy Mounthawk student, Grace Egan, Ardfert, with her project ‘Does Extra Tender Loving Care Increase Milk Yields In Dairy Cows’, at the Scifest Fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

A project from a Mercy Mounthawk student found that greater affection towards cows  increases milk yields.

“Giving cows names has a big influence on the amount of milk they produce,” said Grace Egan, who lives on a farm in Ardfert.

“I tested the milk levels one group of cows, which I gave names to, every week for six weeks at evening milking time and compared them to another group over the same period. I found that the group with names’ milk yield went up by seven litres by the end of the period,” said Grace.

Aran Deely, Camp, of Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai, with his project on 'School Canteen And Lunchbox Diet Design' at the Scifest fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Aran Deely, Camp, of Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai, with his project on ‘School Canteen And Lunchbox Diet Design’ at the Scifest fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Aran Deely of Gaelcholaiste Chiarrai compared Mediterranean, Japanese and Irish diets and found that if Irish people took elements from these diets we’d he much healthier.

Mercy Mounthawk students, Niall Marley and Tiernan Brosnan with their project 'Are You Drunk On Mouthwash?' at the Scifest fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Mercy Mounthawk students, Niall Marley and Tiernan Brosnan with their project ‘Are You Drunk On Mouthwash?’ at the Scifest fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Mounthawk students Niall Marley and Tiernan Brosnan found that the alcohol in mouthwash is enough to make somebody fail the breathalyzer, within 20 minutes, when following the instructions from the bottle.

“It says to half-fill the cap and rinse for 30 seconds. Our subjects did that and within 20 minutes they failed the homemade breathalyser,” said Tiernan.

Mercy Mounthawk students, Dorcas Oyewande and Busola Akintope, with their project on 'The Effects Of Heavy School Bags On Secondary School Students' at the Scifest fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Mercy Mounthawk students, Dorcas Oyewande and Busola Akintope, with their project on ‘The Effects Of Heavy School Bags On Secondary School Students’ at the Scifest fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Fellow Mounthawk students Dorcas Oyewande and Busola Akintope did a project on the weight of schoolbags and their effect on students.

“We found that there’s no documented evidence to prove it has an effect on students’  backs but many believe that if the weight of the bag is over 20% of the student’s body weight it may cause future back problems,” said Dorcas.

Presentation Tralee students Hannah O'Connor and Aoife Sheehan with their project 'The Dangers Of Household Chemicals To Young Children' at the Scifest fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Presentation Tralee students Hannah O’Connor and Aoife Sheehan with their project ‘The Dangers Of Household Chemicals To Young Children’ at the Scifest fair in the ITT on Thursday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Presentation students Hannah O’Connor and Aoife Sheehan did a project on the dangers of household products to children.

“We found that many people didn’t know what the hazard symbols on the bottle mean and that mixing these household products is dangerous,” said Aoife.

The girls decided to do the project after reading an article on how young children were eating liquitabs because they thought they were sweets.

SciFest has developed rapidly since its launch nationwide in 2008. In that year just over 1,600 students exhibited 680 projects. Five years later in 2013 over 2,300 students exhibited 941 projects at SciFest@School fairs while almost 3500 students exhibited their work at 15 SciFest@College events.

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