Primary Science Fair: ‘I’ve seen their interest grow in science and nature’

A school in West Cork is playing a major role in helping to reverse the decline in the local bee population. 

Primary Science Fair: ‘I’ve seen their interest grow in science and nature’

The project was one of a number of exhibits at the opening of RDS Primary Science Fair in Dublin yesterday. The fair runs alongside the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Principal of Ardfield National School in Clonakilty, Orla Whelton, said the pupils were concerned about the declining bee population and felt that they could improve their habitat.

“A person who lives beside the school gave us a walled garden for our project, and we are now working on increasing the area’s biodiversity and bee population,” said Ms Whelton.

“We have done our winter planting and will do more over the next two months,” she said.

Pupils in 4th, 5th and 6th class are helping to create the new habitat to attract more bumblebees and solitary bees.

“We are hoping that our contribution will be significant. We have made bare soil areas where the bees can nest and also placed a number of fence posts in the garden that they can use as well,” she says.

One of the 21 pupils working on the project, Caoimhe White, said they all believed they could make a real difference. “I had no interest in bees before the project started but I definitely do now,” she said.

Ms Whelton said it was a fantastic experience for the children. “I have seen their interest grow in science and nature. We also want to see them go on to enter the BT Young Scientist Exhibition so as to encourage a lifelong interest.”

Demand for places at the fair has meant that on each day different schools will have projects on display. It is a non-competitive event, but participating awards are given to all the schools taking part and all of the judges give their feedback on each project.

Sixth class pupils at Scoil Naomh Barra, Navan, Co Meath, had a project explaining why hands go wrinkly in liquids. One of the students, Glen Murphy, said they used several liquids to show what happened to hands.

“I did not know that the skin on the hand was made up of numerous layers and was also thicker than other parts of the body,” he said.

“There is oil in your hands called sebum, and they go wrinkly when it is washed off along with a load of dead cells.”

This year the RDS Primary Science Fair will host a record 7,500 students who will showcase their projects at one of the three fairs in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast. Around 6,000 had worked on 240 projects displayed at the Dublin Fair.

RDS chief executive Michael Duffy said the expansion of the fair to Limerick was a great success, with capacity doubling after one year. The Limerick fair takes place from January 19 to 21 and the inaugural Belfast fair is from June 8 to 9.

The aim of the fair is to equip students with science and maths skills. It has been developed and fully managed by the RDS and is designed to engage entire classes in science-related projects.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.