Science week - Report

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Science Week kicked off with a bang here at Coláiste Chiaráin with our Science Disco, on Monday. Students were treated to a barrage of cheesy science tunes and classic science demonstrations over lunchtime. The playlist included golden oldies such as Tom Lehrer’s ‘The Elements’, as well as modern classics like ‘All About That Base (No Acids!)’. Science music not only boosts students’ engagement with STEM, but the catchy lyrics also act as a mnemonic – helping students to remember difficult concepts.

Throughout the week we kept the theme going with noticeboard updates which included information on the day’s events as well as science facts, jokes, memes and brainteasers.

On Tuesday morning our 5th year students attended a careers talk from Regeneron (Niamh has supplied more details on this).

On Wednesday we had a guest speaker from LIT. Katie Shiels is an early career researcher who is currently completing her PhD on Cyanobacteria, and has worked as a scientific researcher in Analog Devices, Reagecon, and Shannon Applied Biotechnology Centre. It was great to see the level of engagement from students and the depth of their questions for Katie, who at only 24 years old is an excellent female role model for all our budding young scientists.

During lunchtime on Wednesday we hosted pop up labs. Students had a choice of activities including building an electromagnet with Ms. McNamara, making slime and elephant’s toothpaste with Ms. Murphy, or coding with Ms. Danagher.

On Thursday our first years visited UL and took part in a workshop (Niamh has supplied more details on this). Ms. Farrell’s TY class set the world alight, starting with their own hands. They also explored various uses and applications of dry ice, which made for some impressive pictures. We also had 27 students from all year groups travel to the ITLG Young Innovators Challenge, at Shannon Airport, where one group made it through to the shortlisting stage of the competition.

On Friday our second years took part in our annual science quiz. There was excellent engagement from all students, who also had to endure more cheesy science tunes in between rounds. Third place was scooped by: Dylan Conroy, Killian Moore, Lenia Kouneta and x; there was an excellent display of girl power from our all-female second place team: Mobi Offor, Angel Eze, Natalia Kashembe and Edith Angel Egharevbaand, but in first place with a Micheal Schumacher-esque victory was the winning team: Courtney Brown, x, x and x. Prizes included science week goodies and selection boxes. Well done to all the teams who took part, who should also be commended for their excellent behaviour and for getting so into the spirit of science week! Thanks also to the fourth and fifth year students who acted as MCs, Quiz Masters and correctors.

Our Science Week activities closed on Monday with a visit from the Lismore Heritage Centre’s mobile lab. Our visitors, Megan and X carried out a fantastically messy workshop on the digestive system with all of our first years.

Science Week can be a busy and disruptive time for schools, but it is important to remember that many Irish scientists attribute events they attended during Science Week in their own school years as being what initially ignited their passion for science. It is also worth bearing in mind that young women, and other underrepresented students may feel that careers in science are closed to them. It is vitally important that these students get to explore science in new and varied ways, and that they meet new people, to highlight the fact the all skillsets and talents are not only valuable to the scientific community, but welcome. #STEM4all

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