The grand finals of the Intel Mini Scientist 2011 have taken place at the Intel Ireland campus in Co Kildare, with the two overall winners being Hair Today, Heat Tomorrow, from Kilmurry National School in Co Clare, and Water Testing, from Scoil Eoin Phoil in Leixlip, Co Kildare.
Intel Ireland said that 2011 has been the best year ever for the Intel Mini Scientist competition, with almost 3,000 primary school students from eight counties in Ireland getting involved.
Over the past few months, fourth, fifth and sixth-class students from across Ireland have been getting hands-on with science.
The Intel Mini Scientist competition, which has been running since 2003, gives young students the chance to explore science through project-based learning and exhibitions.
The first phase of the programme involves students participating at local-level exhibitions, where Intel judges visit the participating schools, choosing two winning projects in each school.
The second phase involved each of these winning projects taking part in the Mini Scientist Grand Final. This year’s event was hosted last Thursday, 1 December, and Friday, 2 December, at the Intel Ireland campus in Leixlip, Co Kildare.
Vicky Dolly, Amy Conlon and Grace Casey from Caragh National School in Naas, with their project ‘Do different types of manure affect grass growth’ at the Intel Mini Scientist grand final event at Intel Ireland’s Leixlip Campus
The grand finale at Intel event brought together 300 of these students who displayed 98 projects in the hope of picking up one of the two overall and 10 runner-up prizes.
Thursday, 1 December
Grand Final overall winner
- Hair Today, Heat Tomorrow – Kilmurry National School, Co Clare
- Natural Dye – St Patrick’s National School, Rathvilly, Co Carlow
- Solar Heater – St. Laurence’s National School, Sallins, Co Kildare
- Hydrogen from a Solar Panel – Castleknock Educate Together, Dublin 15
- Powerful Paper Towels – Scoil Naomh Bríd, Celbridge, Co Kildare
- Is your Water Really Clean? – Caragh National School, Naas, Co Kildare
Friday, 2 December
Grand Final overall winner
- Water Testing – Scoil Eoin Phoil, Leixlip, Co Kildare
- Building Bridges – Rahan National School, Mallow, Co Cork
- Oil Spills – St Pius X Girls National School, Terenure, Dublin 6
- Organic Fertilizer – St. Anne’s National School, Ardclough, Co Kildare
- Be Green – St Pius X Girls National School, Terenure, Dublin 6
- Which Side of the Brain Do You Use? – Scoil Naisiunta Oilibheir, Dublin 15
Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, TD, with some of Ireland’s budding scientists at the Intel Mini Scientist grand final last week
The participants exhibited their projects for a panel of judges, which was made up of Intel employees. Intel employees also had the chance to come along and view the work of the students, whose projects each included visual displays, projects books and practical experiments based on a scientific area aligned with the national primary science curriculum.
Scientists of the future
Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn visited the exhibition at Intel on 2 December to hear from some of the budding young scientists and to award the prizes to the students. Quinn commended the standard of work presented by the students and reminded them of the importance of exploration and investigative learning in solving big problems and creating opportunities for the future
Sarah Sexton, co-ordinator of the Intel Mini Scientist programme, said Intel was delighted with the success of this year’s competition.
"This year, it was fantastic to once again see a growth in the number of students participating in the programme and at the same time we continue to see an ever-higher standard of projects amongst the participants – the competition is a great way to get children excited about science and to give them the opportunity to build key 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork,” said Sexton.