The 2017 RDS Primary Science Fair once again plays host to a number of budding scientists from Educate Together National Schools around the country. Read on for a few of the fascinating experiments that are being presented this year!
What Factors influence the levels of CO2 in the air in the classroom.
Fourth Class at Carlow ETNS investigate factors that influence the levels of CO2 in the air in their classroom. Teacher Susanne Keating:
‘We think that the weather and the number of people in the classroom have an impact on the levels of CO2. We also think that the older classes will produce more CO2 because they have bigger lungs. We think that opening windows will reduce levels of CO2. We think that if we move around the classroom more, the higher the levels of CO2 because we breathe more often and deeper when we are active. We will measure our lung capacity and record the averages for a senior class and a junior class. We want to find out if there is a link between the higher levels of CO2 in the classroom and people being out sick.
We will record the CO2 levels in all eight classrooms in the school twice a day, once in the morning and once after lunch for 2/3 weeks. We will record the number of children/adults in the classrooms, and whether the windows have been opened. We will take a note of the weather outside and the temperature in the classroom. We will use our own classroom to experiment with other factors such as movement in the classroom, clothes we wear, door/windows opened or closed. We will measure our lung capacity and that of a sample of younger children. We will compare levels of CO2 with those in an empty classroom. We will check with the register to see how many people are out sick after days when there has been a high reading of CO2 levels.’
‘Can we make a 5 star concoction to clean our whiteboard completely?’
Denis Kelly’s Fifth Class at Adamstown ETNS will display their project ‘Can we make a 5 star concoction to clean our whiteboard completely’ on Saturday. Denis says:
‘When deciding to enter the competition we made it a goal to solve an everyday problem in our lives. Something that really annoyed us about our classroom this year is how dirty our whiteboard is. We inherited a whiteboard full of old marks that rarely cleaned fully, and to quote the children "It was really annoying". So we decided to try and make a cheap homemade alternative to manufactured whiteboard sprays. We tested a variety of homemade materials such as lemon juice, vinegar, nail polish remover, baby oil, sparkling water, soap and hand sanitizer. We put each material to the same fair test so that all results were fair. We then ranked each of these cleaners by giving them a star rating up to 5. We then decided to try and mix and match our materials to make a perfect concoction. Through various trials and tests we decided that the perfect homemade whiteboard spray would consist of baking soda, nail polish remover, soap and sparkling water.
We are very excited to display our project to the world this weekend!’
'Does Hydration Affect Student Concentration and Performance’
Greystones ETNS Fourth Class did an X-Factor style judging process to decide a project to explore. This ensured that the project was their idea and that a consensus was reached democratically. It also allowed children to present and query different ideas. The children decided that the most interesting idea to explore would be, 'Does Hydration Affect Student Concentration and Performance’. The children are testing approximately 100 children and there will be approximately 6 tests taking place per student – so that’s a total of 600 tests!
The 5 second rule – Busted?
The 6th class students from Thornleigh ETNS nvestigated ‘The 5 second rule’ that states that food dropped on the ground will not be significantly contaminated with bacteria if it is picked up within 5 seconds of being dropped. Teacher Aoife Lynam:
“We tested 4 different food types; cooked pasta, apples, ham and bread on 3 different surfaces; table top, classroom floor and toilet floor for 4 different durations of time; 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 1 minute and 1 hour.
We swabbed each food item and plated them onto a nutrient agar plate to see what germs would grow. After an incubation period of 3 days we were able to count the germ colonies and study our results.
Yes, the 5 second rule was busted! When food falls to the floor it is immediately contaminated with germs!”
How does stress affect the body?
How does stress affect the body investigated by Fifth and Sixth class at Navan ETNS. Teacher Ruth Meade:
“We first carried out a survey in the senior end of the school to see why they get stressed, when and how their bodies react (e.g. sweet, get shivers, feel sick etc.). From this we came up with a hypothesis – we think that when you get stressed your body temperature changes, either it goes up or goes down. So we got the average normal body temperature of 24 children across 3rd, 4th and 5th class. We then got their temperature when they were placed in a stressful situation (i.e. an important test) and we compared. Across all classes we found that when children became stressed their body temperature dropped.”