Science Fun in Laois this November

The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for people of all ages from November 12th – 19th and promises a packed programme with over 130 innovative and fun hands-on events. Science Week, which is managed by ‘SFI Discover’ the education and public engagement programme of Science Foundation Ireland, has been in existence since the mid-1990s and has grown to around 800 events per year.  The festival will take science out of the lab giving people a variety of fun ways to explore and open up a multitude of ideas for a potential future career in science, technology, engineering and maths.
This is the fifth year that a dedicated programme of free Science Week events is being rolled out in the counties of Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford. It will bring together a large number of interested participants including science communicators, performers and researchers, science and technology speakers, science and TY students, mini scientists and the general public from all over the Midlands and beyond.
Midlands Science Festival Director, Jackie Gorman said, ‘We are delighted to be heading into our fifth year with the festival and in planning the year’s programme, we have secured some really new and different events and activities as well as bringing back some of the most popular ones from previous years. We have partnered with a number of schools and organisations including Laois County Council and the Heritage Council to create opportunities which aim to excite students about science across Laois. The festival is a real celebration of science and features something for everyone to enjoy. Among a rich programme of events for this year in Laois we have interactive workshops with the Junior Einsteins Science Club, an ‘Under the Microscope’ project and an exciting ‘Science Circus’ where an experienced presented uses juggling, plate spinning, peacock feathers and all sorts of fantastic circus tricks to demonstrate the laws of physics.’
Other Laois events for 2017 include an engaging dinosaur show, science career talks and workshops from the Geological Survey of Ireland.
Catherine Casey, Heritage Officer at Laois County Council.
‘We were delighted to be supporting and participating in this year’s Midlands Science Festival. Science surrounds us in so many ways in day to day life and we need to ensure that young people understand its significance from an early age. These events which takes place as part of national Science Week are a fantastic opportunity to promote science education to Laois pupils and especially to reach young children with the more fun and hands-on workshops which will hopefully igniting in them a future love for science subjects. We look forward to making elephant toothpaste and following the journey of our drinking water from ‘droplet to drain’ this November during Science Week.’
Join us from November 12th-19th in celebrating science in Laois!

Focus on Heritage

The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for people of all ages from November 12th – 19th and promises a packed programme with over 130 innovative and fun hands-on events. A key theme for this year is that of heritage and Midlands Science has teamed up with Creative Ireland to provide one Offaly school with a project which celebrates the work of a local nineteenth century pioneering scientist, microscopist and naturalist Mary Ward, who was working at a time when it was very difficult for women to be taken seriously in any field other than the domestic.

Amanda Pedlow, Heritage Officer of Offaly County Council commented,
It is wonderful to see this performance focusing on Mary Ward in Banagher for Science Week 2017. Creative Ireland has provided this opportunity for us to transform the ways in which our cultural heritage is perceived and understood. As heritage is a key theme this year, it is an even better fit and I have no doubt that students will really benefit from being involved with this performance curated by artists Tina Claffey and Caroline Conway which enables them to see just how diverse and exciting science can be.’

This is the fifth year that a dedicated programme of free Science Week events is being rolled out in the counties of Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford. It will bring together a large number of interested participants including science communicators, performers and researchers, science and technology speakers, science and TY students, mini scientists and the general public from all over the Midlands and beyond.

Caroline Conway who will deliver this particular workshop said,
‘This a very exciting project and we are delighted to be bringing it to an Offaly school for this year’s Midlands Science Festival. This particular event is quite different to traditional ones as we are using a variety of art forms to promote science. The project consists of a projection of macro-photography and Zoetrope animation. Zoetrope animation was invented in the 1850’s at the same time as Mary Ward was examining the minutiae of nature with the microscope, and we are combining old and new technologies to bring excitement to this subject. There is also drama and music involved so we hope that the students will enjoy it, particular given the Midlands connection.’

CELEBRATING SCIENCE IN OFFALY THIS NOVEMBER

The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for people of all ages from November 12th – 19th and promises a packed programme with over 130 innovative and fun hands-on events. Science Week, which is managed by ‘SFI Discover’ the education and public engagement programme of Science Foundation Ireland, has been in existence since the mid-1990s and has grown to around 800 events per year.  The festival will take science out of the lab and into libraries, theatres, sports clubs and primary school halls, giving people a variety of fun ways to explore and open up a multitude of ideas for a potential future career in science, technology, engineering and maths.

This is the fifth year that a dedicated programme of free Science Week events is being rolled out in the counties of Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford. It will bring together a large number of interested participants including science communicators, performers and researchers, science and technology speakers, science and TY students, mini scientists and the general public from all over the Midlands and beyond.

Midlands Science Festival Director, Jackie Gorman said, ‘We are delighted to be heading into our fifth year with the festival and in planning the year’s programme, we have secured some really new and different events and activities as well as bringing back some of the most popular ones from previous years. We have partnered with a number of schools and other organisations including Integra LifeSciences, Waterways Ireland and Bord na Mona in Offaly to create opportunities which aim to excite students about science. We also look forward to another new project for this year which focusses on the extraordinary flora and fauna of the bogs, with reference to the pioneering work of the nineteenth century local scientist and naturalist Mary Ward.’ 

The festival is a real celebration of science and features something for everyone to enjoy. Among a rich programme of events for this year is one being provided by Waterways Ireland for Daingean NS in Co. Offaly.

Manus Tiernan, Waterways Ireland Education Officer commented,

‘We were delighted to be supporting and participating in this year’s Midlands Science Festival. The event which takes place as part of Science Week is a fantastic opportunity to promote science subjects within Midlands schools and to reach young children at an early age. We are looking forward to visiting Daingean National School this November to provide a workshop all about the Grand Canal; one of Ireland’s greatest engineering achievements. Pupils will be introduced to the rich biodiversity of the canal and meet some of the mini beasts who call the canal their home! They will also have the opportunity to explore the history of the grand canal and the uses of the canal past and present.  This festival provides ideal activities and events to enable schools to learn about science and in this case also about heritage in a fun and interesting way.’

There are also a large number of other school events taking place in Offaly schools during Science Week such as high value science career talks, the return of the team from Go Fly Your Kite, the Reptile Zoo and many more. Thanks to local company Integra LifeSciences Ireland Ltd, events are being provided for two Tullamore schools in the form of marine exploration and rocket building workshops.

John O’ Donovan, Plant Manager at Integra LifeSciences Ireland Ltd commented,

‘Integra is very pleased to partner with Midlands Science as a corporate sponsor in order to provide hands-on, interactive science events to some of our local primary schools. Science surrounds us in ways that we don’t often think and we need to do all we can to ensure that young people understand the importance and significance of science in day to day life. The Midlands Science Festival creates many opportunities for people of all ages to connect with and celebrate science and Integra is delighted to be a part of this for 2017.’

Join us from November 12th-19th in celebrating science in Offaly!

SCIENCE PROMOTION FUN WITH BORD NA MÓNA

Midlands Science is delighted to announce a new partnership with Bord na Móna for this year’s annual Midlands Science Festival. Established in 1934 as the Turf Development Board, renamed Bord na Móna in 1946, the company has committed itself over 80 years ago to delivering sustainable industry to Ireland using indigenous resources. Bord na Móna is also committed to promoting awareness and education on biodiversity in schools and in communities and to protecting and preserving our heritage and environment for future generations to enjoy.

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘The Midlands Science Festival is all about taking science out of the lab and into places like libraries, theatres and even outdoors in order to provide diverse ways for people of all ages to explore the world around them and to learn something new. We are delighted to be partnering with Bord na Móna for this year’s Midlands Science Festival and with their support and sponsorship, we will be providing some fun and interactive events for schools this November in various Offaly locations. In keeping with a key Science Week 2017 of ‘climate change’ we are particularly excited to be inviting two lucky schools to Bord Na Mona’s largest windfarm, Mountlucas Co. Offaly, where pupils will learn first-hand about wind turbine technology, the national significance of wind energy and the workings of a local windfarm. Thanks to the generosity of partners such as Bord na Mona, we are now heading into our fifth year and our 2017 festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before.’

Exciting and interactive workshops from providers at the ‘Rediscovery Centre’ and the team at ‘Go Fly Your Kite’ will be delivered to schools and these workshops are a way of engaging young children about the diversity of science and technology and how it is such a big part of everyday life. Bord Na Mona has a number of sites in the Midlands that welcome visits from the public and particularly young people to learn more about the advances being made in the areas of renewable energy technology, power generation and ecology to name but a few.

Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Bord na Móna, Mia McCarthy commented,

‘Bord na Móna’s strategy is focused on moving the company from being dependent on our traditional businesses. We have diversified to sustainable businesses including renewable energy. While providing employment is highly valuable, Bord na Móna provides more than just jobs. We have always perceived our role to be active and directly involved in the communities where we operate so we are delighted to be teaming up with the Midlands Science Festival this year to support events which help to promote the importance of science education to our local young people.’

Explore Pets and Relationships during Science Week!

The Midlands Science Festival will be taking place across the region for all ages from November 12th-19th and promises a packed programme with over 130 innovative and hands-on events. Science Week, which is managed by ‘SFI Discover’ the education and public engagement programme of Science Foundation Ireland, has been in existence since the mid-1990s and has grown to around 800 events per year. The festival takes science into libraries, theatres and even the outdoors, giving people a variety of exciting ways to explore a multitude of ideas for a future career in science, technology, engineering and maths.

This year’s programme includes two very different events which will be held in Athlone and will be open to the general public. On the evening of Nov 13th at 8:00pm, ‘The Science of Dogs, From Wolf to Woof’ will take place in Athlone Institute of Technology. This event will appeal not only to pet owners but also to anyone with an interest in animals or science in general. There’s a lot of science to the dogs in our lives, everything from how to care for them to how they think and how they evolved from wolves.

Midlands Science Festival Director, Jackie Gorman said,

‘In planning the programme, we have partnered with a number of schools, organisations and academia such as Athlone Institute of Technology, to create opportunities which excite students and the general public about science and how it connects to real life. It’s about creating greater interest in science education and careers which of course benefits the Midlands region. Join us for a fascinating evening with a Veterinary Scientist and an Evolutionary Biologist as they explore the world of canines. What’s it like to be able to smell not just every bit of open food in the house but also to smell sadness in humans? Learn about the secrets of their tails and their skill at reading our attention. We will also be joined by some four-legged friends along with their owners, as we seek to understand an animal that there is still so much to know about.’

Fun-filled school workshops including a mobile planetarium, snakes and tortoises from the Reptile Zoo, career talks and rocket building are just some of the many events taking place across Westmeath this November as part of national Science Week for younger audiences.

Jackie Gorman continued,

‘The Midlands Science Festival is a real celebration of science and features something for everyone to enjoy. Among a rich programme of key speakers featuring for 2017 is neuroscientist and author Giovanni Frazzetto who will deliver a free and most unique science festival event all around the ‘Science of Relationships’ and this will also be held in AIT on the evening of November 16th and booking is essential. Giovanni Frazzetto is an engaging speaker who has published books on relationships and emotions. He was awarded the John Kendrew Young Scientist Award for his cross-disciplinary and science communication efforts.We look forward to hearing from Giovanni all about the neuroscience behind the way people relate to each other and this event promises to be one which will hopefully appeal to many different people. You can book this and our event about the ‘Science of Dogs’ by using the link below.’

www.midlandsscience.ie/events
twitter @curiouskim1

Photo: David Nally and Neil Ashe with their dog Albert and Midlands Science Festival director, Jackie Gorman

 

DISCOVER SCIENCE WITH ABBOTT!

The countdown is on for this year’s Midlands Science Festival which takes place across the counties of Longford, Laois, Offaly and Westmeath from November 12th- 19th as part of national Science Week. The festival will highlight how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) is fundamental to everyday life, and demonstrate STEM’s importance to the future development of our society and economy.

The festival team is delighted to announce an exciting, free-of-charge event which will take place on Saturday, November 11th in St. Mel’s secondary school in Longford from 10:00am until 2:00pm. The event will be run in partnership with Abbott, one of Ireland’s leading healthcare companies, and will offer the public a unique opportunity for students ages 12-14 and their parents or guardians to experience a whole range of science and technology activities including Dinosaur Science, Curious Chemistry, The Reptile Zoo, The Science of Energy Drinks, Drone and Robot Coding and high value career advice during this innovative ‘Discovery Day.’

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘The Midlands Science Festival is all about taking the traditional notion of science out of the lab and into places like libraries, sports clubs and classrooms, giving people a variety of diverse ways to explore the world around them and to learn something new and beneficial. The overall week-long event is an opportunity to delve into science through a programme of interactive workshops, informative seminars and shows developed by ourselves in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland and thanks to the generosity of partners such as Abbott, we are now heading into our fifth year and our 2017 festival promises to be even bigger and better.’

Science Week is a free, family-friendly programme of events which allows people of all ages to discover something new, participate in a large number of hands-on science and technology activities and see a whole host of live discussions with science enthusiasts and communicators, corporate partners, business and science experts.

Plant Manager of Abbott’s diagnostics facility in Longford, Ciaran Corcoran said,

‘At Abbott, we’re all about helping you live the best life you can through good health. Learning events like the Midlands Science Festival promote the importance of science and technology skills amongst the next generation. By advancing science and technology, we’re shaping new methods of care and improving treatment standards around the world. We want to help students discover a love of science, technology, engineering and math, and make them aware of the many STEM career opportunities that exist. This free event also will provide parents with a unique opportunity to learn about STEM as well, through an assortment of family science experiments and demonstrations, as well as specialist career talks that offer insights into the diversity of roles and career options.’

Places are limited so please remember to book. See www.midlandsscience.ie for details.

Please contact Jackie Gorman for further information 0579323902

Photo: Reptile Zoo tortoise who will visit St. Mel’s in Longford for the day

Midlands Science and AIT to Participate in Healthy Living Week

Local development company Midlands Science is delighted to be participating in the 2017 Annual Tullamore College Healthy Living Week. Healthy Living Week in Tullamore College focuses on all aspects of health; physical, emotional and mental, with talks, workshops and activities running all week. A series of these talks have been organised in partnership with the region’s third level education provider, Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and these talks will cover a range of subjects from health and wellbeing advice to careers and course information across the fields of health and nutrition, sports science, physiotherapy and others.

Kelly Doolan, one of the co-ordinators of Tullamore College Healthy Living Week commented,

‘This is a really important week for students and staff of Tullamore College and it makes a big difference to its success when we provide a different range of events and activities every year. The talks provided by Midlands Science and AIT will offer students not only some very valuable advice on better nutrition and well-being during the busy academic times in their lives but will also provide an insight in to the types of relevant courses of study that are available at AIT and other colleges and universities as students start to think about what line of study they will pursue after secondary school. I’m really grateful to everybody taking part and we are very much looking forward to holding similar events in the future.’

The week is an opportunity for students to focus and build their knowledge around healthy eating, being active and personal wellbeing, as well as to consider making positive changes in health behaviours and attitudes towards what we eat and physical activity.

Jackie Gorman of Midlands Science said,

‘As part of our ongoing work to promote science education across the region, it is important for us to not only roll out a wide range of workshops and events during Science Week itself but to also aim to have ongoing activities that continue to spread the message that science is all around and is a good third level and career choice for so many reasons. Participating in Healthy Living Week gives ourselves and our academic partner, AIT the opportunity to meet a number of students, educate them on the scope of courses available here in the Midlands and also to encourage them to explore the many different career options that may be available them should they choose a science related course in the future.’

Successful Science Show Learning for Mountrath School

 
Local development company Midlands Science recently collaborated with the Community Foundation of Ireland to provide an assortment of engaging and interactive workshops for the pupils of Scoil Bhride in Mountrath. The National Reptile Zoo visited the school in June and the girls and boys had the opportunity to get up close and personal with some scaly creatures such as a snake, turtle and lizard. They also enjoyed energy and electricity workshops with ‘Anyone for Science’ and the ‘Rediscovery Centre’ and they also had a lot of fun with the teams from ‘Junior Einsteins Science Club’ and ‘Go Fly Your Kite.
Jackie Harrison, Head of Development for the Community Foundation said,
‘The Community Foundation was delighted to partner with Midlands Science in order to deliver a variety of science shows to Scoil Bhride in Mountrath over the past six months. From the Reptile Zoo Village to investigations in static electricity using a range of materials, we hope that pupils got to experience first-hand the fun and scope of science learning. The Community Foundation for Ireland works with donors to optimise their philanthropic giving and in 2016, there were over 70 donor advised funds at the Foundation which enabled us to work with over 4,000 community and voluntary organisations to create social impact in Ireland. It was wonderful to be able to provide this funding in the Co. Laois and hopefully it will inspire more young people from across the Midlands to consider science when choosing future subjects and career options.’
Mary Keegan principal at Scoil Bhride in Mountrath said,
‘We were delighted to welcome a number of wide ranging science performers to our school over the past year with thanks to Midlands Science and the generosity of a private donor who provided funds for these events through the Community Foundation.
We are very grateful to all parties who enabled this to happen as we believe that by creating a more fun and innovative approach to learning science, pupils will have a much better appreciation for how diverse, exciting and far-reaching science actually is. We look forward to more future science shows here in Mountrath and in continuing to spread the message that science is so important for the future and is all around us in so many aspects of life.’
 
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Mergon Support Technology Learning Opportunity for Castlepollard Students

Midlands Science recently collaborated with Mergon International to provide an engaging and interactive coding workshop for the first and second year students of Castlepollard Community College.

Lucy Payne, Business Development Manager from iConnect Galway ran this ‘Coding Workshop’ for pupils at Castlepollard School, on 1 June 2017. Based on the Swift Playground app using the Apple TV, students explored how to use the Swift Playgrounds app and understand where coding is used in daily life.

Aisling Nolan, General Manager of Mergon International in Castlepollard said,
‘Mergon was delighted to partner with Midlands Science as a corporate sponsor in order to deliver this innovative event to a local school. Technology has the power to transform education and as a company, Mergon is always looking for ways to help inspire learning and encourage new ways of teaching the future generation. Swift, the powerful programming language which has been designed by created Apple, is intuitive and user friendly involving touch, motion and sound.’

Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary app for iPad that makes learning Swift interactive and fun. It requires no coding knowledge, and is perfect for students just starting out. Using puzzles to master the basics with Swift students are equipped with a powerful programming language created by Apple that is used by the professionals to build today’s most popular apps. Students take on a series of challenges and step up to more advanced playgrounds designed by Apple and other leading developers.

Mary Coyle, principal at Castlepollard Community College said,
‘We were delighted to welcome Lucy Payne of iConnect to our school recently where students had the opportunity to enjoy a really immersive lesson in ipad technology and coding. The new Technology element of the curriculum enables students in the junior cycle of post-primary education to develop their technology knowledge and life skills and to apply these in real-world situations. We are very grateful to both Mergon and Midlands Science for this opportunity as we believe that by creating a more dynamic learning environment and giving students the tools and materials they need to succeed, their technology lessons can really be brought to life.’

Notes to Editors:
For more information on Swift and how iConnect can benefit your school or business please contact Lucy on 085 873 2331.
Media Enquiries: Victoria Marsden, Marketing Manager victoria.marsden@i-connect.ie

iConnect:
iConnect is an Apple Premium Reseller and Apple Solutions Education Experts serving every type of customer, from individuals to creative freelancers to professional businesses, schools and universities.
As Apple Solutions Education Experts iConnect also serves many of the countries primary, secondary and third level institutions with the most up to date Apple Solutions for Education.
Owned by Al Mana Lifestyle Limited and part of the Al Mana Group of Companies, iConnect has stores in Henry Street, Dublin, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Dublin and Whitewater Shopping Centre, Newbridge. The group also acquired Stream Solutions, Cork and Screenway Limited, Galway in 2015.

New Board Member for Midlands Science

Midlands Science is pleased to announce the appointment of the Assistant Secretary General of the Irish Association of Community & Comprehensive Schools, Mr. John Irwin, to its Board of Directors.
Martin Cronin, Chairperson of Midlands Science commented,
‘John joins a voluntary Board dedicated to ensuring that the importance of science education and careers continues to be highlighted here in the Midlands. John is a very valuable addition to our Board and I look forward to working with him as we continue our efforts to connect to more students, teachers and parents. He brings a wealth of academic and corporate expertise and experience in education promotion to help Midlands Science activities and contribute to setting our vision for the future.’
John is an experienced secondary school teacher and former school principal and in his current role as Assistant Secretary General of the Irish Association of Community & Comprehensive Schools and in this role, he is responsible for the development and management of a network of large community schools across the country. He is particularly interested in the linkages between education, employment and local development and in his years as a teacher and school principal he was an early adopter and proponent of new and engaging ways to interest students in STEM issues.
John Irwin commented,
‘I am honoured to join the Board of Midlands Science and look forward to collaborating with fellow members on new concepts and ventures to provide even more opportunities, activities and resources for our students here in this region. Together, we will continue our efforts to build the next generation of local scientists and engineers in the most innovative and dynamic ways possible.’
Midlands Science has recently launched its new website which will provide details of upcoming science and technology education and promotional events taking place across the region. The website can be accessed at www.midlandsscience.ie

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