BRIGHT YOUNG MINDS OFF TO BT EX­HI­BI­TION

LOTS OF WICK­LOW PROJECTS ON DIS­PLAY AS EVENT OPENS IN THE RDS

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

WICK­LOW will be well-rep­re­sented at this year’s BT Young Sci­en­tist Ex­hi­bi­tion which gets un­der way to­day (Wed­nes­day).

Sec­ondary schools from across the county will ex­hibit a di­verse ar­ray of re­search and ex­per­i­ments over a three-day pe­riod.

With ev­ery­thing from the ben­e­fits of fid­get spin­ners to the use of al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies with autism, the Wick­low com­peti­tors, sup­ported by their teach­ers, have cer­tainly put plenty of hard work into their projects.

Four projects from Avon­dale Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Rath­drum have been en­tered into the ex­hi­bi­tion.

Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate pupils Aoib­heann Hayes and Hannah Kin­sella’s project is en­ti­tled ‘Autism! Sen­sory Over­load’ and ex­am­ines how al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies are used by stu­dents with autism to help them cope with the sen­sory is­sues they can en­counter dur­ing a school day. The find­ings of the re­search sug­gest that mu­sic ther­apy is the most pop­u­lar type of ther­apy used and favoured by stu­dents. One of the rec­om­men­da­tions would be to al­low stu­dents with autism to wear head­phones in loud places such as halls and can­teens.

Fifth year pupil Sean Byrne, who has qual­i­fied for the ex­hi­bi­tion three times to date, has worked on a project en­ti­tled ‘Gl­o­gos’ which is an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the dif­fer­ent meth­ods of mak­ing safety cloth­ing ‘glow’ or emit its own light, to im­prove safety by mak­ing the wearer more vis­i­ble.

Se­cond year stu­dents Luke Doyle and Nathan De­lamere ex­am­ined the com­par­i­son of ‘Pre­dicted weather ver­sus ac­tual weather’ and asked ‘Is there as much of a dif­fer­ence as peo­ple think?’

First Year stu­dents Alanna De­lamere and Eric Mur­nane have en­tered a project called ‘Teach­ing an old dog new tricks’. The premise is to in­ves­ti­gate the idea of Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, the idea that the brain is ca­pa­ble of change even into ma­tu­rity and old age which has enor­mous im­pli­ca­tions for teach­ing as well as re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive medicine, psy­chol­ogy and psy­chi­a­try. The im­pli­ca­tions of an op­por­tu­nity ‘to re­wire’ the brain of a dyslexic stu­dent or a stu­dent with ADHD could be life-chang­ing.

At Ark­low’s Gael­choláiste na Mara, Ais­ling Downes, Is­abelle Lawlor and Sarah Bren­nan have in­ves­ti­gated the ben­e­fit of ac­cess­ing both the English and Ir­ish ver­sion of an exam as well as sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis of cur­rent prac­tices of stu­dents from Gael­choláistí taking the Ju­nior Cer­tifi­cate ex­ams.

Fid­get spin­ners and why they are more than just a toy was the theme of Katie Gar­rett’s ex­per­i­ment from St Mary’s Col­lege while Anna Keat­ing and Alaidh Ka­vanagh came up with a way to clean your gum shield pitch-side, in less than a minute.

An­other St Mary’s Col­lege project was com­pleted by Alice Keenan and Aoife McBride, who looked at var­i­ous milk brands to see if their con­tam­i­na­tion is true to the best-be­fore date set.

sabella Chonaill and Laura Gal­lagher from Coláiste Bhríde, Carnew, ex­am­ined whether your zo­diac sign ac­cu­rately de­scribes your per­son­al­ity and skills while over at the Do­mini­can Col­lege Wick­low, Lily De­vitt and Is­abella Downey con­ducted an ex­per­i­men­tal and the­o­ret­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion of air re­sis­tance on fall­ing coffee fil­ters and ping pong balls.

Fel­low stu­dents from the Wick­low town school, Rachel Werner and Cather­ine Moy­seyeva in­ves­ti­gated the physics be­hind the tre­buchet cat­a­pult and what fac­tors af­fect its abil­ity to hurl ob­jects.

Over at Scoil Chonglais in Balt­in­glass, Agustin Plaza Reino ex­plored the abil­ity of Neu­ral Net­works to rep­re­sent mu­sic, start­ing with clas­si­cal mu­sic, while Seán Nolan, Shay Bar­rett and Nathan Rogers ex­am­ined the use of Lego Tech­nic Mech­a­nisms and Mind­storm Ro­bot­ics to model en­gi­neer­ing projects and de­velop prob­lem-solv­ing skills that are key to STEM sub­jects.

Alexan­der Brady and Jack Brady from Coláiste Chraobh Ab­hann in­ves­ti­gated the use of a mech­a­nism on the gates of a live­stock trailer to de­crease farm in­juries while Dono­van Webb from East Glen­dalough School fo­cused on cli­mate change for his project. He con­ducted an ex­periement to an­a­lyse and mon­i­tor river ecosys­tems – bal­anc­ing drink­ing water use with nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment in a chang­ing cli­mate.

Aoib­heann Hayes, Hannah Kin­sella, Sean Byrne, Eric Mur­nane, Alanna De­lamere, Nathan De­lamere and Luke Doyle who will rep­re­sent Avon­dale Com­mu­nity Col­lege at the BT Young Sci­en­tist Ex­hi­bi­tion.

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