After a number of months of trying (off and on, mind), I finally managed to get the url for the blog changed to thinkforyourself.ie
Thanks to my colleagues at St. Columba’s College English department for the idea.
After putting in quite a bit of work into Young Scientist Projects for the first time this year, we have had four out of the eight submitted accepted for presentation next January. Busy times ahead. They’re almost all in Second Year, and when we spend time on it in class, those not preparing for the Young Scientist Exhibition will be preparing for the Scifest equivalent next May.
Then I got a phonecall on Saturday from Aoife O’Donoghue, who is the Tyndall Outreach Officer, to inform me that one of my leaving cert students won first prize in the senior category of Science Snaps, their Science Photography competition (Shhh . . . Shane doesn’t know yet).
Not that I that anything to do with it mind; I tried to promote an internal Science-Photo competition at the beginning of the year and had the grand total of three entries. So at least this should help in promoting it if it runs again next year. And Mary Mulvihill over at Science@Culture might even be impressed with the quality of the entries.
And then I came across this on Youtube, and I don’t know why but I cried. My wife thinks it might have been the beautiful music in the background.
I mentioned that I was trying to promote Scifest as a means of getting students to do real science as opposed to the learning by rote and following cookbook recipe-type so-called experiments. So after promoting it among second, fourth and fifth years, I ended up with about eight groups, of which seven pulled out when they realised the presentation was going to be held on a non-school day.
Which left us with ‘The Power of Poo’, a second-year entry from two girls; Georgina Gilsenan and Philippa Tuthill. This highly original project involved inserting a couple of radiators into the middle of a dung-heap, pumping water through the pipes, and noting the rise in temperature. The results obtained may not turn the planet off its axis, but there was a serious amount of science involved in controlling variables. They even tried two different dung-heaps; cow and horse!
And it won!
In three categories!
Best Junior Project.
Best overall Physics Project.
Runner-up in Best overall Project.
Unfortuantely I had to leave early in the afternoon and so wasn’t there for the prize-giving ceremony, and so don’t have any photos of the girls receiving their prizes, but if I talk nicely to their parents they might lend me some to put up here.
The irony is that after prodding and poking each of the other groups all along the way, only for them all to pull out, this was the one project which I had almost nothing to do with apart from submitting the entry. There really shouldn’t be any teacher’s name associated with it – it really was all there own work.
Not that it will stop me shamelessy exploiting the publicity in school as a means of promoting the project again next year, with hopefully a little more commitment.