The following is the feedback we received from our judge, Dr Fiona Thorne, Senior Research Officer with Teagasc.
“From the first time I met the class and teacher I was really impressed by the general level of excitement and enthusiasm of the students for science and learning from the research. It was a pleasure to be involved in the judging of the research.
The class had a great understanding of the question they were researching. The class had a great grasp of the concept of soil erosion and had a really nice example of the impact of over grazing in the Irish context.
I was really impressed that the students understood the importance of making a prediction of what might happen in their research before they carried it out. The understanding of a starting hypothesis is such an important step in science and it was great to see the students putting this into practise. The class made a solid prediction at the start of the project as to what they expected might be the impact of soil erosion.
The highlight of the research for me as a scientist was the research approach. The class were very aware of the need for a ‘fair test’ and the scientific approach was really well outlined.
The results were organised and presented in tabular form. Perhaps if the class were to enter Science Blast again a couple of graphics such as a bar chart or pie chart might be an appropriate way of communicating the results in a user friendly manner. But this is really just a very, very minor suggestion for what was overall a great project. Another simple suggestion for what the class could do differently if they were to revisit the research in the future would be to perhaps think about using a crop that is more relevant for Irish agriculture, grass or perhaps a potato crop?, now wouldn’t that be interesting and fascinating.
The conclusion was very straight forward and to the point. Practising scientists could learn a thing or two from the children in this class, communicating was easy to these students and the conclusions outlined in a simple manner. Really well done on this.
I really hope everyone keeps up the brilliant work, and I have no doubt that you will all make great scientists one day if that’s what you would like to do.”