Secondary school students from around Cork are preparing to showcase up to 150 science projects at a SciFest event at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) this Friday. The students will be presenting their ideas around everything from whether video games can help dyslexia to awareness of sudden cardiac death in athletes.
Running nationally since 2008, SciFest events are one-day science fairs for second-level students that are hosted at local level in schools and then at regional level in institutes of technology. A national competition is then held for the overall winners from the institutes.
The idea for the SciFest events is to provide an extra platform for students to present their scientific investigations, in addition to the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition.
At this Friday’s event at CIT, around 320 students from 25 schools across Cork City and county will be showcasing their projects.
Dr Hugh McGlynn, who is head of the School of Science & Informatics at CIT, said that SciFest events encourage students of all abilities to participate in a science fair and to experience what it is like to be a research scientist.
“They develop an interest in science through inquiry and activities that link to their everyday lives,” he said.
According to SciFest’s CEO Sheila Porter, there has been a record number of entries from students around the country this year.
“The rapid increase in participation in the competition is a clear indication of the interest and enthusiasm among students and teachers in the investigative approach to teaching and learning science,” she said.
In addition to the Cork event taking place this Friday, students will also be presenting at SciFests in other institutes, such as in Waterford, Dundalk and Letterkenny institutes of technology between now and June.
Lauren Elliffe Smith and Natasha Roche from Ashton Secondary School, Cork, with their project ‘Looking at how soil types and plant food affect plant growth’ at last year’s SciFest at CIT