Moate Community College students achieved significant success at the virtually hosted BT Young Scientists and Technology Exhibition, the results of which were announced this past weekend.
Making a firm presence within the STEM environment, the students were duly recognised for their laudable work, most notably Transition Year trio, Chloe Murphy, Abby Mullins and Megan Carroll, who were awarded ‘Best Overall Group’ and the ‘Perrigo Best Project’ in the Biological and Ecological Sciences category.
The focus of their project, entitled ‘Wool Saviour of the Sea’, was to develop a wool blanket which allows the timely and thorough removal of oil slicks following oil spills. The students carried out experiments with wool from various breeds of sheep to determine which wool breed, and in what form, is best suitable for absorbing oil.
The results of their investigations show that all wool breeds effectively absorbed oil, with Fine Bred Grey being most effective in its natural form. The absorption of oil by sheep wool was attributed to the presence of a natural waxy oil in the wool. The students plan to further their project by examining the effect of weaving, crocheting and knitting on the oil absorption.
Daragh Lowry and Conall Mandal achieved first place in the Intermediate Group of the Technology category. The duo designed an app, ‘Moate Guide’ which co-ordinates your awareness and knowledge of your locality. This app shows information on Moate and its significant places with pictures, sounds and narrations, along with quizzes and orienteering activities to target a younger audience.
They developed their ‘Moate Guide’ app in the programming language java using google supports. They carried out surveys to identify how they should design their app. They have introduced a prototype of the Moate Guide to their fellow students who found it user friendly and interesting. The students plan to increase awareness of the knowledge, history, sites and amenities in their locality by making their app available to locals and visitors to the town.
Aine Maxwell, Joyce Conway and Laura Conlon won first place in the Intermediate group of the Biological and Ecological category. In their project, ‘Stop milk spoilage; start seeing changes’, these students designed a milk carton, incorporating freshness indicators, that reduced milk spoilage and warns the consumer when milk is at risk of spoilage.
Initially, the group examined the changes in milk pH, sensory properties and titratable acidity when milk was stored at different temperatures. They also tested the effectiveness of a food-based indicators (tumeric, red cabbage, raddish ) at indicating milk spoilage by producing a vivid colour change.
Using their findings, they designed a milk carton, using a blue colour to minimise heat absorption and including smiley face motifs with thermochromic dyes, as a visual reminder to consumers to return milk to the fridge when the carton temperature increases.
Second Year students, Reuben Guinan and Kian Brady, attained success in the Junior Group of the Biological and Ecological category. In their project ‘Superfoods and their Effects on Diabetes’, the students analysed the Vitamin C, sugars and fibre content of various fruits and vegetables.
They noted that Vitamin C and sugar content varied greatly for all fruits and vegetables analysed, red onions and peppers having the highest Vitamin C. They realised that fibre is important for people with diabetes, keeping their sugars levels low and when blending fruits like blueberries, the level of fibre is reduced, indicating smoothies may not be the best for diabetics. Fruit or vegetables containing the highest vitamin C and fibre levels and the lowest sugar concentration are most suitable for the diet of people with diabetes.
Shana Brady, Lauren Finan and Aine Broderick achieved second place also in the Biological and Ecological category with their project ‘An Investigation on the Impact of Diet on the Prevalence of Laminitis among Connemara Ponies.
These second year students carried out experiments to determine which site is best for Connemara ponies. These experiments included a habitat study, sugar content, dry matter content and a stem to leaf ratio experiment. They used their findings to recommend a better seeding mix for farmers in order to prevent laminitis. Laminitis is a condition that causes the hoof to be inflamed making it extremely painful for the horse or pony to walk.
Ava and Leah Hallissy along with Annie Duffy won a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the Biological and Ecological category for their project ‘The Future is Bright: Turning Organic Waste into BioFuel’.
The girls produced biofuel pellets from domestic compost like fruit and vegetable peelings, measuring the heat of combustion of their pellets.