Over 400 projects were on display at RDS Simmonscourt in Dublin last week for the fifth annual ESB Science Blast. 10,500 students participated in the programme this year; expanding their knowledge into STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-focused projects.

Pupils from each participating class showcased their experiments; presenting their findings and discussing their investigation with a STEM expert (Judge/Moltóir). The judging is non-competitive and aimed at growing pupils' interest and passion for STEM.

Benefits of the programme

Paddy Hayes, Chief Executive of ESB, said: “ESB is very proud to work with the RDS in bringing ESB Science blast to schools across Ireland. This important STEM learning programme helps students to develop key skills like critical thinking and problem-solving by nurturing their innate curiosity and creativity.”

Students: Brownwyn Kevick, Eva Wang, Emily O’Hanlon, Fredrick Osbourne and Fin McQuinn with their teacher Hannah Murphy at ESB Science Blast

Dr Niamh Shaw is an engineer, scientist, artist and performer, whose mission in life is to get to space. Niamh is Ireland’s first and only ESA Champion in Education, an award bestowed on her in 2022 in recognition of her work in promoting space in her education and communications work. Speaking about her involvement in the programme she said, "It's hugely important that we make children aware of STEM as a career choice, especially young girls.”

In outlining the importance of space from an agricultural point of view, Niamh said, “There are satellites that help farmers understand when to irrigate their land, across all the third world countries. Space is a really good foundation for being aware of our place and our part in keeping our planet healthy and clean”.

Students: Lily Ryan, Lauren Doyle, Amelia Rajek and Toma Janonyte with their Teacher Audrey Murphy at their ESB Science Blast stand.

School projects

Scoil Naomh Iósaf in Baltinglass, Co.Wicklow investigated the topic: ‘Are luxury food/drink products actually more tasty than shop-brand products?’

Speaking to Irish Country Living, 6th class students Lily Ryan, Lauren Doyle, Amelia Rajek and Toma Janonyte gave an overview of their project. Using different own and luxury brand food and drink items, they conducted research on 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes to see which students preferred. Lily outlined their main findings:

“Our research altogether found luxury brands are tastier than shop-brand products. However, own-brand foods were cheaper. We used the five senses to investigate which students preferred.”

Travelling to the ESB Science Blast from Wicklow, Teacher Audrey Murphy highlights their determination.

“A few of our students were up at 6am this morning to get their animals fed before they could come.” She continues, “The food-to-farm source is so interesting for the students, between looking at where your food comes from and planting your own food, I think, growing up, I don’t know if we had enough of it. We definitely need a growing awareness of it.”

Goat’s milk or cow’s milk

Students from Castle Park School, Dalkey, Co.Dublin investigated ‘What tastes better? Products made with cows’ milk or goats’ milk?’

They conducted research by asking the fourth class to taste cow’s milk and goat’s milk products. Students Brownwyn Kevick, Eva Wang, Emily O’Hanlon, Fredrick Osbourne and Fin McQuinn outlined their research to Irish Country Living.

Brownyn said, “By our studies, we found cow’s milk has been a more popular choice because people have grown up with it.” Eva added, “People who have allergies are more likely to pick goat’s milk or alternative products.” Emily said, “Yogurt and cheese were much more popular for goats because more people, when drinking milk, pick cow’s milk.”

Teacher Hannah Murphy said “For these guys to be doing something self-motivated and coming up with an idea all on their own is just an unbelievable experience. They have a huge sense of ownership over the project and have involved different classes in the school.”

For more information visit: www.esbscienceblast.com 

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