Farming, finance, floods and fungus were among the subjects exercising the minds of some of the brightest of Westmeath’s students over the Christmas holidays.
That’s because they all feature on the list of an incredible 25 projects from Westmeath schools that have made it through to the finals of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) taking place at the RDS, Dublin from January 9-12.
Thirteen of this year’s qualifying projects are from the Mullingar/ Kilbeggan/ Rochfortbridge area and twelve are from schools in Athlone and Moate.
Seven schools in total are represented, and the level of Westmeath representation is believed to be at its highest level ever.
Coláiste Mhuire has eight projects through; there are three from Mercy, Kilbeggan and two from St Joseph’s in Rochfortbridge.
The projects all had to come through a preliminary assessment before being selected for the final, which is the 55th held to date.
“Does inequality in sport effect women’s attitude towards the game?” is a question examined by Kilbeggan students Ella Ravenhill, Roisin Mealiff and Katie Reid under the supervision of teacher Padraic Earley, while in an individual project, Emma Ham assesses whether people take care of inanimate objects better if they give them human qualities.
Under the supervision of teacher Niamh Daly, a third Kilbeggan entry, by Erin Heeney and Lisa Ennis, aims to find out does the school type attended by girls aged 14 to 16, have an effect on their level of anxiety.
The teacher supervising the two St Joseph’s Rochfortbridge entries is Darragh Glynn.
One of the projects, by Cormac Ó Fearghail and Fintan Larkin, is focused on the creation of a fire locating system that not only lets people know there’s a fire in progress, but also where in the building it is located while Grace Moran and Roisín Lyster want to use natural anti-fungal plants to make a mat for dressing rooms that will kill fungus on the floors.
Individual projects submitted by students of Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar and under the guidance of teachers Eva Acton and Gerry Rafferty span a range of topics.
The aim of Rory O’Sullivan-Sexton is to develop an active road stud which will visually alert road users to traffic levels and accidents ahead of them while Charlie Drumm’s “Freshgraze” consists of an automated moving fence system for livestock.
Six of the Coláiste Mhuire entries are group projects. Hugh Murtagh and Oisin Smullen created “WFF”, which they describe as a mobile and desktop game that aims to teach children the fundamentals about farm, water and fire safety.
“CommunicAID” is an application developed by Gerald McVeigh, Rory Fagan and Paul McCool for patients and specialists/GPs with the hope of alleviating waiting lists and simplifying patients’ day-to-day tasks.
Medical care also inspired another Coláiste Mhuire group: Robert Brennan, Declan Delaney and Sean Brennan’s project involved creation of an interactive first aid kit to help bystanders administer first aid.
An investigation into the effects of global warming on floods in Ireland and creating an alert system for people living in areas that are prone to flooding is the focus of Eoin Rhatigan and Cian Flaherty.
“Dairy farm, methane harm” is the title of the entry by Jack Keena and Tadgh Heneghan, who have carried out research to show the effect of climate change and global warming on a dairy farm.
Firmly focused on finance are Jamie O’Reilly and Mark Cairns who created a recession calculator, studying the effects and causes of past and recent recessions and attempting to predict if there will be another recession.
For the 11th year running there are more girls than boys competing, indicating a positive trend in girls engaging in the critical subjects of science, technology and maths at secondary school level.
There is also a 62% increase in the number of girls qualifying for Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences on 2018, traditionally a strong, male dominated category.
Overall, 237 schools from across Ireland are sending students to the Exhibition in January.
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition takeS place from January 9 to 12 2019 at the RDS in Dublin.
Eva Acton and Gerry Rafferty (teachers at Coláiste Mhuire) with Eoin Rhatigan and Cian Flaherty who have been investigating the effects of global warming on floods in Ireland and creating an alert system for people living in areas that are prone to flooding.
Rory O’Sullivan Sexton, who has been working on development of an active road stud that can visually alert road users to traffic levels.
Coláiste Mhuire’s Hugh Murtagh and Oisin Smullen have developed a water, fire and farm safety application.