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.

Superhero Science for Laois!

Dr. Barry Fitzgerald visited Portlaoise branch library this week and we were delighted to have him back for this years science festival where he delivered ‘secrets of superhero science’ workshops to Laois pupils .

Dr. Barry Fitzgerald is a superhero scientist, speaker, author, and enthusiastic science communicator. His research interests include particle processing, responsible innovation, science education, scientific outreach and communication, and superhero science. For the latter, Barry aims to identify the science and technology of today that could lead to superpowers tomorrow.

Barry is the author of the popular science books “Secrets of Superhero Science” and “Secret Science of Santa Claus”. His latest book “How to Build an Iron Man Suit” is out from October 2019.

Barry said, ‘I first presented workshops as part of Science Week in 2015 and am delighted to be back in the Midlands to celebrate science again this year. Several science themed events will take place around the country this November, providing a wonderful opportunity to explore and learn about the world of science and technology that surrounds us and there really is something for people of all ages. It is a really valuable platform for researchers and those working in scientific communication to encourage the next generation to consider science as a subject and future career option and an opportunity to inspire young people to engage with science in a fun and exciting way. ‘

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.

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.

 

 

Let the Westmeath Science Fun begin!

We have lots happening across the region this week and some of the highlights include STEM career workshops in Mullingar, Harry Potter science fun, Chernobyl exploration, Google Computer Science workshops in association with Camara in Athlone and Google Applied Digital Skills workshops in Mullingar.

Mae McLynn of Athlone Library said,

‘We are really pleased to once again team up with Midlands Science to provide a number of exciting events in Westmeath Libraries during Science Week 2019. We place a lot of focus on outreach in the local community-  it is really important that we provide services and resources to people of all ages through education programmes, interactive workshops and events which make the library accessible to everyone. The Midlands Science Festival provides plenty of opportunities for this across the region. This year we are looking forward to hosting ‘Travels in Chernobyl’ on November 12th at 6.30pm in Athlone Library. This explores the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant which took place on April 26th, 1986. We are also anticipating a magical  day on November 13th in Athlone Library as we introduce school children to  ‘The Science of Harry Potter There are lots of other events taking place so check out https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/midlands-science-for more details on how you can celebrate science this November.’

Anyone 4 Science in the Midlands?

Christine Campbell from Anyone 4 Science has been coming to the region for the past few years during Science Week to provide a range of different fun, hands-on science, engineering and maths activities for local students of all ages. We were delighted to see Christine in the region again this week for our open Discovery day which was held in Tullamore as part of the annual Midlands Science Festival.

Christine patiently explained and demonstrated to children who came in their droves, how to make their own ice-cream. And the best part was; the eating of it afterwards. So many children told us all about the ingredients that were needed and talked about how they were going to make their own ice-cream from now on!!

#believeinscience @anyone4science

The Reptiles Return!

We were delighted to welcome back our friends from the Reptile Zoo Village for this years Midlands Science Festival. People of all ages had the opportunity to meet stick insects, scorpions and snakes and more! We believe this is a wonderful way to show young people just how diverse science can actually be and at the same time they are learning and enjoying the diversity of it all and maybe even facing some fear! Our friendly presenters were professional and patient as always and we would encourage everyone to visit them if  you want to know what a snake really feels like or how a chameleon catches it’s prey…. Reptile Village Zoo, Ireland’s only reptile zoo is the place to be! With over 100 different animals and more than 50 species on display, from Alligators to Tortosie and Toads to Pythons, there is something for everyone.

nationalreptilezoo.ie/ #stem #believeinscience

Excitement is building in Laois!

Every year we want the festival to ignite curiosity and let people discover that science and technology can offer amazing opportunities, often in ways that they may not realise. This year’s calendar of activity is bigger and better than ever. We are delighted to announce some of the key events which will take place in Laois this year including Dr Mindflip workshops, science fun with the Rediscovery Centre, exploring the archaeology of the Vikings with the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin zoo workshops, exciting science journey with Marty Jopson, the BBC One Show’s resident scientist and lots more.

Suzanne Carroll of Portlaoise Library said,

‘We are really pleased to once again be collaborating with the Midlands Science Festival team to deliver a range of exciting and innovative events in Laois during Science Week 2019. We want to continue to ensure that the library is more than just a place where people can borrow books. We want it to be a place where people can avail of free, informative talks and workshops in a friendly, community setting. The Midlands Science Festival provides plenty of opportunities for this across the region and in Laois we are looking forward to showcasing an educational outreach event from Dublin Zoo and exploring the secrets of Superhero Science in Portlaoise library but there are lots of other things happening so check out for more details on how you can celebrate science this November.’

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.