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Teagasc staff exchange science with participants of ESB Science Blast, Limerick

Teagasc staff exchange science with participants of ESB Science Blast, Limerick

Last week, Teagasc partnered with ESB Science Blast to deliver a successful, engaging three-day event at the University of Limerick, Eimear Ferguson, Science Communication and Engagement officer, Aoife Quinn, Marketing Intern and Alex Oltean, Multimedia Intern, told us more.

Last week Teagasc were thrilled to once again partner with ESB Science Blast to deliver an exciting, hands-on event for primary school students. This engaging three-day event which took place at the University of Limerick, provided primary school students and their teachers with the opportunity to interact with real-life scientists, making science both fun and accessible.

The event was a resounding success, fostering a dynamic exchange of knowledge between researchers and students. For the scientists, it was a chance to refine their communication skills in an informal, enjoyable setting. The students, on the other hand, got to dive into the fascinating world of scientific discovery, sparking their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning through hands-on demonstrations, games and experiments.

Among the highlights of the event was Bhadra Parij from Teagasc's Crop Development Department who captivated the children with her explanation of nitrogen fixation, a critical process for plant growth. By showing them root nodules in various plant species, she made this complex concept tangible and understandable.

Equally enthralling was Md. Munir Mostafiz, whose work on plant-virus interactions was brought to life through his demonstration involving aphids and ladybirds. The students were fascinated by his detailed observations and enjoyed learning about the intricate relationships between these insects and plants.

Marta Niedzicka's session on Mendelian genetics was very well received. She used a simple card game and associated activity to explain how genes are expressed in plants, making the principles of inheritance clear and engaging for the young learners who were between 8 and 12 years of age. Her hands-on approach allowed the students to see the practical applications of genetics in everyday life.

Earlier in the week demonstrations included topics such as Forestry, Health and Safety, Food Chemistry and Rural Development to name a few, showcasing the variety of career opportunities available through studying agriculture and its related disciplines.

Overall, the ESB Science Blast, coordinated by Eimear Ferguson, Science Communication and Engagement officer at Teagasc, proved to be a fantastic event. It successfully ignited a passion for science among the participating children while providing valuable communication practice for the researchers. As one of the researchers commented, “If you can explain your science to a curious child, you will have no problem communicating with others, they are not afraid to ask difficult questions”. Events like these are crucial for inspiring the next generation of scientists and making science education both fun and meaningful.

Bhadra Parij

Bhadra Parij, Postdoctoral Researcher from the Crop Science Department in Teagasc, OakPark engaging with students about her work in nitrogen fixation in plants at the ESB Science Blast this week in University of Limerick.