As institutes of technology across Ireland gear up for the one-day festival of science, it is expected that over 2000 student entries will be submitted by the deadline of 13 March.
While the SciFest competition is held in several institutes of technology, it is aimed at local second-level students, encouraging them to demonstrate science and technology projects and cultivating interest in these areas for third-level study.
In 2008, some 1612 students exhibited over 680 projects in nine institutes of technology: Athlone, Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Sligo, Tallaght, Tipperary and Waterford.
“The aim of SciFest is to encourage a love of science and technology by offering students a chance to show off their projects to their peers and local community, while competing for national awards,” said Sheila Porter, SciFest national co-ordinator.
“SciFest is also tied to the Junior Certificate, as students’ projects can be used in the practical work element of the new science curriculum.
“Hands-on activities in science are the key to developing students’ interest in the subject, as they take learning out of the textbooks and link science and technology back to their everyday lives.”
Since last year’s Project Blogger, SciFest has added an online element that encourages students to blog their experiences for everyone to see, adding multimedia elements such as video, images and graphs of their project.
SciFest, which is jointly funded by Intel and Discover Science and Engineering, requires entry forms to be submitted by 13 March, but actual projects are not due for submission until the end of April.
By Marie Boran
Pictured: the former Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin TD, with two particpants in last year’s SciFest