Wicklow student scoops top prize at the Intel Mini Scientist

Síofra Ní Scanláin from Gaelscoil na Gcloch Liath in Greystones picks up the top award for her ‘Feithidí sna haibhneacha’ (insects in the river) project



NO FEE INTEL MINI SCIENTIST - ​Síofra Ní Scanláin from Gaelscoil na Gcloch Liath in Greystones picked up the top award at this year's Intel Mini Scientist

​Yesterday, March 9th, students from across Ireland took part in the Intel Mini Scientist Grand Final, an event which is the culmination of a nationwide competition that kicked off in September 2021.

The Intel Mini Scientist, which is now in its 15th year, gives primary school students from 4th, 5th and 6th class, the chance to explore science through project-based learning and exhibitions.

This year the Mini Scientist competition ran in a slightly different way than usual due to COVID restrictions. Students completed science projects within their schools and each school selected one of these projects to go forward to a virtual grand final. The grand final projects were judged by a panel of Intel employees who selected the prize winners. Schools were invited to attend a virtual grand final which took place yesterday and was hosted by Phil Smyth from RTÉ’s Home-school Hub.

The 2021 / 2022 initiative was another exciting year for the Mini Scientist competition with almost 3,000 students from 62 schools in 18 counties across Ireland taking part. This year there were 1,000 projects created as part of the Mini Scientist competition and the grand final brought together the top project from each school who took part.

At the Virtual Grand Final, students had the chance to hear from guest speakers, including Professor Ora Feely, President of Engineers Ireland and Intel employees Jennifer McKenna and Cliodhna Ní Scanaill who headed up the judging panel for this year’s competition. Event host Phil Smyth also led a fun experiment that the students could join in with from their classrooms.

It was then time for the prizes to be presented. As a special surprise, the grand final was broadcast from the school of the overall winner, and when it was time for the prize to be announced, the Mini Scientist team arrived at her classroom door to make the presentation in person. The Grand Final was filled with innovative and imaginative projects, put together through months of hard work and the judges, after a very difficult task of deliberation, selected their winning projects;

Grand Final Overall Winner

  • Feithidí sna haibhneacha – Gaelscoil na Gcloch Liath, Greystones, Co. Wicklow

Runner-up Awards

  • Robotics – Kildalkey National School, Co. Meath
  • What materials is most effective for facemasks - Coill Dubh National School, Co. Kildare
  • Carbon Capture: Broadleaf vs Coniferous – Cratloe National School, Co. Clare
  • How does your body react to 24hrs of no sleep – Kilmurry National School, Co. Clare
  • Red to Green Braille project – Citywest Educate Together, Citywest, Co. Dublin

Special Awards
Additional special prizes were awarded as follows:

  • Communications award:
    Electric cars are here but can your hear them coming – Baltydaniel National School, Co. Cork
  • Sustainability award:
    Natural glue vs Synthetic glue – St. Cuan’s National School, Co. Clare
  • Scientific Method award:
    Water Quality – St. Michael’s, Castletown Geoghegan, Co. Westmeath
  • Innovation award:
    Bin Attachment Recycling Tool – Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh, Co. Cork

Síofra Ní Scanláin, aged 12, from Gaelscoil na Gcloch Liath in Greystones picked up the top award for her ‘Feithidí sna haibhneacha’ (insects in the river) project.

‘Feithidí sna haibhneacha’ is a research study written in Irish, which explores which insects live in 2 different streams and 1 river. Síofra took samples at 3 different times and in 3 different locations along the stream/river and classified each insect according to their shape, colour, pattern, presence of a shell, and number of legs/antenna/wings/tail.

Síofra discovered more shrimps and water louse in polluted water and a larger variety of insects in cleaner water. In her next study, she plans to investigate how long it takes insects to re-populate a stream, after it has been dry for part of the year.

As part of the prize for the overall winning project, Gaelscoil na Gcloch Liathin, will receive a grant of €1000 from Intel.

Professor Orla Feely, President of Engineers Ireland, shared a special message of congratulations for the students who took part in this year’s competition and said: “Engineers are problem solvers who innovate to deliver creative and sustainable solutions in response to the great challenges our society faces. By getting involved in this year’s Mini Scientist competition, students across Ireland are taking their first steps to build a better world by using their talents. I would like to applaud each student on their creativity, innovation and determination and congratulate this year’s winners.”

Speaking about the winning project, Intel’s Cliodhna Ní Scanaill, who was a Mini Scientist judge this year, said “Bhí an modh eolaíoch sa tionscadal seo an-láidir: ag tosú le ceist agus plean taighde soiléir; ansin, ag bailiú samplaí ó shuímh éagsúla i ngach abhann agus ar laethanta éagsúla; agus ag críochnú trí chonclúidí a tharraingt faoi na  3 abhainn ón líon agus cineál na feithidí a bhí ina gcónaí ann”.
(The scientific method in this project was very strong: starting with a clear question and research plan; then, collecting samples from different locations in each river and on different days; and finishing by drawing conclusions about the 3 rivers from the number and type of insects that lived there)

To view all of the photos from the event click here or visit www.intel.ie/miniscientist for information about the program.