Over 150 students from schools in Tipperary, Limerick, Laois, Kilkenny and Waterford displayed their scientific work at the 2016 SciFest in LIT’s Thurles recently.
St. Anne’s Secondary School students Katie Kinane and Ali Ryan had great success recently winning the Science Foundation of Ireland Best Project Award for their project ‘Mechanics of Pencil Holding in ECCE Children [Early Childhood Care and Education]’. The girls investigated how children in pre-schools in Tipperary town and surrounding area hold their pencil and whether with intervention pencil holding technique could be improved. This project was originally entered in the BT Young Scientist Competition in January where the girls were highly commended for their work. Since then the girls have researched the pencil holding technique in teenagers and adults and found a significant difference in technique in those over and under 18 years of age. Nearly 40% of those surveyed had incorrect pencil holding technique, which is linked to hand wiring difficulties and hand muscle strain. All of those with incorrect technique were under 18 allowing the students to further query as to whether less emphasis is now being placed on the technique with the introduction of items such as smart phones, tablets and emphasis on same.
Ali and Katie will now go on to compete at a national final in November 2016 that is held in Dublin.
SciFest is an all-inclusive, all-island science initiative that fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second-level students. SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel and Boston Scientific.