Timahoe girls named overall winners of Intel Mini Scientist

25 Jan 2016

Sinead Buggy and Laura Miller receiving their award for the Intel Mini Scientist Grand Final. Image via Marc O'Sullivan

Two students from Timahoe, Co Laois have been named as the winners of the grand prize at this year’s Intel Mini Scientist Grand Final for their game designed for visually-impaired children.

The Intel Mini Scientist competition is one of the largest of its kind, and it is specifically aimed at challenging the minds of primary school students from 4th, 5th and 6th class to push their understanding of science.

Held in the Science Gallery in Dublin, this year’s event was the largest in its nine-year history, with it having entries from 6,000 students from 105 schools in 14 counties of Ireland.

After exhibiting their project to a panel of judges and showing them how they conducted their research, it was decided that 6th class students Laura Miller and Sinéad Buggy from Timahoe National School – both aged 12 – were the overall winners with their project, Leaping Labradors.

Intel Mini Scientist

Students attending this year’s Intel Mini Scientist at the Science Gallery Dublin. Image via Marc O’Sullivan

The coding enthusiasts wanted to create a game that could be played by children who are visually impaired, which they designed following extensive research among a number of interest groups that are well-versed on what would make a great game for them.

The platform game follows many games of its kind, with the player aiming to reach the highest possible level while collecting points along the way.

Fantastic role models

For their valiant efforts, the girls’ school will now receive a grant of €1,000 provided by Intel.

Speaking of the success of Leaping Labradors and the event as a whole, Intel Ireland’s head of STEM programmes, Sarah Sexton, said: “Each student competing is a fantastic role model of innovation and creativity and has done a remarkable job in communicating their work.

“Intel is very proud to be at the heart of the Mini Scientist programme and we look forward to seeing all that will be made possible by these young people in the future”.

See below ofr the full list of award recipients:

Grand Final Overall Winner

Game Changer – Leaping Labradors – Timahoe NS, Co Laois

Runner- up Awards

Bike Phone Charger – CBS Primary, Ennis, Co Clare

Lungs – Wicklow Montessori School, Co Wicklow

Additional special prizes were awarded as follows:

  • Best Communications Sward
    Buzzy Bees – SN Colmcill Naofa, Moone, Co Kildare
  • Best Project Book
    Heat from Below – Tubberclare NS, Co Westmeath
  • Best Visual Display
    Light & Reflection – Gaelscoil Eiscir Riada, Lucan, Co Dublin
  • Most Innovative Idea
    Energy Speed Ramps – St. Mary’s Primary School, Enfield, Co Meath

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Open Eir (formerly Eircom Wholesale), Fidelity Investments, Accenture and CoderDojo.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic