The Reptiles arrive in Longford!

Longford pupils were treated to a visit from the Reptile Zoo Village today in Ballymahon library as part of this years Midlands Sceince Festival and national Science Week. Scorpions, snakes, stick insects and their minders having been coming to the Midlands for the past few years to educate young pupils about science and it is always a huge hit!

Science performer Declan Holmes of Science Ireland also visited Longford this week for a unique show exploring everything from the science of rockets to vuvuzelas to Darth Vader’s voice. This took place in Longford County Library and was full of enthusiastic young students from surrounding areas.

We also had an inter-active workshop with artists Tina Claffey and Caroline Conway exploring the life and legacy of Mary Ward, one of Ireland’s first female scientists, earlier this week in Granard, Longford.

Climate Change Film Launch

We were so excited and proud today to attend the launch of the co-created film which students in Tullamore College on having been working so hard on since September.

Midlands Science Chairperson, Dr Craig Slattery of UCD congratulated the students involved on their work and introduced the film which explores climate change and the action that is needed. The focus for Science Week 2019 is on climate action – providing accurate, scientific context to the current state of the world’s changing climate and the actions needed to mitigate this change.

This film features a number of corporate and academic interviews and the final piece is so impressive.

Congratulations to everyone involved!

 

Foodoppi Fun-Filled Day!

It really was science fun madness in Offaly County Library, Tullamore today for Foodoppi’s Molecular Gastronomy Live Event!

TV Chefs and food educators Louise Lennox and Aisling Larkin of Foodoppi  expertly presented shows exploring food and it was exciting, fun and  fast-paced and gave the young audiences an opportunity to see food become experiments you can eat! The show directly links to the primary science curriculum integrating learning objectives from sections such as Living Things, Energy and Force and Materials and Change. Louise Lennox is one of Ireland’s leading chefs, broadcasters and food writers. Having featured in a number of popular television and radio shows for over 15 years, she is best known as the chef who is “full of personality” from the hit television series, The Restaurant. Aisling Larkin is tv chef, a busy mum of 3, food media broadcaster, feeding and mindful eating coach. Aisling appears each week on Virgin Media One’s Six O Clock Show teaching the nation her creative and functional & umami filled family-friendly recipes.

Jazz Pharma Career Talks…

We were delighted to welcome Sean and Denis from Athlone based  company, Jazz Pharma to meet a group of senior cycle students in Tullamore today for a talk all around pharma careers. Feedback from students has been excellent and they are looking forward to another STEM careers talk already!

Jackie Gorman, Director of the Midlands Science Festival said,

‘ We are extremely committed to remaining focused on growing high level industry-education collaboration across the Midlands region in order to inspire the next generation of scientific and digital leaders. There is a real urgency to ensure that young people are getting the best type of careers advice possible and by taking it beyond the classroom into forums where students have the opportunity to hear from experts working in these fields, we hope that we are going in the right direction. The Midlands Science Festival provides plenty of stimulation for those who are undecided about their future career choices and will hopefully help people to make more informed decisions.’

 

 

The smiles say it all!

The Midlands Science Festival is a real celebration of science and features something for everyone to enjoy.

We are delighted to be in our seventh year with the festival and in planning this year’s programme, we secured some really new and different events and activities as well as bringing back some favourites from previous years, like the ever popular reptiles and dinosaurs.

As always we have partnered with a number of organisations including all Midlands libraries to create opportunities which aim to excite students about science. It always makes such a difference to see children enjoying the science bit as well as watching them getting curious and asking lots of questions. We were at one event today in a school and it was wonderful to hear so many of the pupils talking about the Discovery day that their parents had taken them to at the weekend which shows that word is spreading and people are becoming all the more aware that science really is everywhere 🙂

Remember you can contact us about science events during the rest of the year too! We will come to you!

#stem #believeinscience

From Rockets to Sustainability!

We were thrilled to welcome renowned science performer Declan Holmes of Science Ireland back to the region today for a unique show exploring everything from the science of rockets to vuvuzelas to Darth Vader’s voice. Three shows took place in Longford Library today and the feedback has been great.

Jackie Gorman said,

‘The science festival is a real celebration of science and features something for everyone to enjoy. The Rediscovery Centre workshops also returned to the Midlands today and children in Laois learned about a whole range of science and environmental topics. This fun and engaging workshop is being provided by an organisation who are focused on the science of sustainability in our communities.

 

 

Dinosaur Fun with Dale!

We had so much fun this weekend with Dale Treadwell from Naturally Wild and (the children loved it too!) 🙂

Dale participated in our fantastic Discovery Day which took place this weekend as part of the annual Midlands Science Festival and Science Week. The children loved Dale’s Dinosaur show and they were particularly excited and surprised to see a giant dinosaur entering the Sacred Heart School dining hall in Tullamore!

Dale said,

‘I’m an Australian with a background in Rainforest ecology but I’ve been living in Ireland now for 18 years, I build school gardens, plant native Irish Trees, write Children’s books and have been on Telly with Dustin the Turkey and Albie the Why Guy..For this Science Festival this year I thought I would do something different and bring you my own backgarden from Australia but with a twist.. it’s old really old from about 100 million years ago!!!’

Popular TV Chefs coming the Midlands for Science Week!

We are really excited that TV Chefs and food educators Louise Lennox and Aisling Larkin for Foodoppi will be coming to the Midlands next week for the Midlands Science Festival to present a show exploring food! Foodoppi’s Molecular Gastronomy Live Event is an exciting, fun, fast-paced science & food show which gives audiences an opportunity to see food become experiments you can eat! The show directly links to the primary science curriculum integrating learning objectives from sections such as Living Things, Energy and Force and Materials and Change. Louise Lennox is one of Ireland’s leading chefs, broadcasters and food writers. Having featured in a number of popular television and radio shows for over 15 years, she is best known as the chef who is “full of personality” from the hit television series, The Restaurant. Aisling Larkin is tv chef, a busy mum of 3, food media broadcaster, feeding and mindful eating coach. Aisling appears each week on Virgin Media One’s Six O Clock Show teaching the nation her creative and functional & umami filled family-friendly recipes..We caught up with Louise in advance of the festival….

Q: Louise, you are a leading chef, food writer, broadcaster, a children’s food media specialist and the co.founder of Foodoppi.com ..can you tell us about Foodoppi and what led you to setting it up?

A: I wanted to share my passion and vision that food literacy is as important as the basic subjects thought in schools across Ireland. We eat at least 5 times a day, every child should leave school with a basic understanding for what food is.

In 2016 I met my business partner Aisling Larkin and we combined over thirty years of experience in food, science and nutrition together and Foodoppi was born.

The name Foodoppi means ‘food learning’ in Finnish. In 2017 Foodoppi was one of 10 companies selected from thousands across Europe to further develop our food education program in Finland, who are the world leaders in education. Foodoppi an Ed Tech company which creates online food and science courses for parents and the Department of Education.

Outside of the classroom Foodoppi began to help parents who were experiencing difficulties in getting their children to eat working with families offering live masterclasses, online courses, webinars and 1:1 online private consultation. I experienced first-hand what the stresses and problems living with a fussy eating child can bring and impact on the child’s well-being. In order to expand our knowledge in this area, we travelled to America and trained at The Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston. Part of my mission at Foodoppi is to make food education a global reality and to help change children’s food eating habits for a lifetime. Using science we make food fun, interesting and delicious.

 

Q: You focus a lot of your work on helping families understand the science of eating, do you have a helpful hint you can share with us for small fussy eaters?

A: Making food fun and playing with purpose.

This is very important part of learning, learning anything. If it is fun it doesn’t feel like learning.

Playing with the food makes it less threatening to your child and increases the likelihood that they will interact with it. Introducing food based play reduces children’s anxiety of thinking they may be forced to put this food in their mouth. Allowing them to explore at there own pace and them taking charge gives a more positive experience.Resulting in a greater change of the child building confidence and tasting the food.

Q:Have you always had an interest in/passion for food?

A:Yes, my mum started up her own food business and I use to help her after school when I was a child. I am dyslexic and I was so lucky to have an incredible teacher Mr.Banville in 5th and 6th class in primary school. He instilled self belief in me when I had none, by giving me homework to simply bake a cake. It was the first time I felt I was good at something and that feeling stayed with me all through my school years when other teachers would put me down. I have so much respect for him as he was able to look beyond the traditional academic ability schools back then scored children’s intelligence. Mr.Banville saw my own personal talents and helped them blossom and for that I will always be so grateful to him.

Q:What is your favourite part of your job?

A:To be honest it is so difficult to pin point just one favourite part. I love how creative and innovate my job is. No two days are the same. It makes me so happy when you see and hear the laughter and fun children have when we work with them. The other side is getting so many emails from parents thanking us for helping their family with getting their children to eat new foods.

Q:Midlands Science is working to encourage more young people to consider science as a future career option. Why are events like the Midlands Science Festival so important do you think?

A: It helps to breakdown the barrier and show cases that science is all around us. It also removes the stereotype that science is white lab coats and very serious. By showcasing how fun science is, we hope to spark an interest and encourage lots of the young people to see science in a different light and a possible future career. In our show “Eat Your Science” we show children that you can learn a lot about science using food and it tastes delicious.

Talking STEM Careers with the Next Generation …

We are really pleased to team up with a number of expert speakers for Science Week 2019 to deliver a range of high value career talks to schools across the region. Speakers will include biomedical scientist,  lecturer and science communicator Dr. Craig Slattery who is also Chairperson of Midlands Science, Dr Helena Bonner of the Royal College of Surgeons and Midlands native and senior Intel manager, Bridget Molloy who will address senior cycle students in relation to subjects and future careers in STEM.

Bridget Molly commented,

‘I am delighted to be returning to Tullamore as part of this year’s Midlands Science Festival. It is so important to enable students to connect learning to actual real-world situations and show them how much innovation there is in science and technology fields. Midlands Science is doing extensive work to give local schools the opportunity to develop their knowledge of the world of work and the types of future jobs that might be available to them, particularly in the subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). The more work that can be done in this area, the more likely it is that students will consider one of these fields as a future career option. I am really happy to support this and participate in the aim of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and I am really looking forward to seeing what else will be taking place during this year’s festival which promises to be engaging, educational and fun.’

#believeinscience

Science of Water Workshops for Midlands Primary Schools

We are really looking forward to these workshops in association with Waterways Ireland. This will be another unique opportunity to explore how science can help us to understand the world around us. Environmental expert Paula Farrell will introduce pupils to the rich biodiversity of the water system in Ireland. They will also look at the features of a river and compare the river and canal networks in Ireland. Each group has the opportunity to meet some freshwater invertebrates and newts during hands-on activities throughout the day!

Manus Tiernan, Waterways Ireland Education Officer commented,

‘We are pleased to once again collaborate with the Midlands Science Festival team to host a series of interactive workshops to Midlands schools during Science Week 2019. The workshops will be delivered by Paula Farrell from the Irish Peatland Conservation Council and will be action packed with lots of hands on activities sure to enthral participants! Events like these introduce science and the world around us in an informative but also fun and interesting way. During our workshops, students will have the opportunity to learn and discuss the journey rivers take from source to sea and compare this with the man-made structure of the Grand Canal. As these two features within the Irish landscape pass through our towns and villages the workshops will turn its focus on the variety of wildlife that call these waterbodies their home. The young people taking part will get an opportunity to experience life from beneath the water surface with a live freshwater invertebrate identification session. Waterways Ireland strives to be actively engaged in the communities where we operate so we are delighted to be teaming up with the science festival again help to promote the importance of science education to our local young people.’

 

#believeinscience @waterwaysirelan

Photo: Looking back on a Science Week Waterways Ireland workshop in 2016