Can Bundoran’s hens crack the egg question ?

Transition Year students Julian Pawlowski, Niall McSharry and Jack Roden from Magh Ene College in Bundoran have posed a challenge to the hens in their home town - what makes the best egg?

Transition Year students Julian Pawlowski, Niall McSharry and Jack Roden from Magh Ene College in Bundoran have posed a challenge to the hens in their home town - what makes the best egg?

This is just one of a number of exciting questions posed by students from eight of Donegal’s colleges in the 27 projects submitted in a number of categories for the 48th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition which takes place this coming week at the RDS in Dublin.

This will be Niall and Jack’s second time to compete in the exhibition, as they previously conducted a project investigating the antibacterial properties of spices.

This year, the Bundoran students are researching the effect of hen feed on egg quality. The students came up with the idea for this project as they noticed that many people in their local area were setting up small chicken coops to produce eggs. The main cost in keeping hens is the cost of their feed and the students decided to investigate whether it is necessary to buy commercial feed or if household food waste could be used alternatively. Every person in a household produces on average 70kg of food waste which is dumped and is enough to feed a hen for a year.

One of the members of the group, Julian Pawlowski, rears hens and over the twelve weeks between September 15 and December 15, the students collected and analysed 24 batches of eggs produced by 14 hens. Half of these hens were fed solely on commercial hen feed while the second group of hens were fed on household food waste. The students test the eggs collected from each group of hens under each of the following categories; egg size, egg mass, shell strength and shell colour. The results should be fascinating!

The Young Scientist event will be open to the public from this Thursday, January 12 until Saturday, January 14 with tickets available at the door costing €6 for students, €12 for adults and €25 for a family pass.

The exhibition is a great family day out packed full of fun, creative inventions, interactive education and live shows including Robot Wars and 3D Theatre which includes a cosmic voyage of discovery. There will also be a real NASA astronaut attending the exhibition this year - Dan Tani will fly in from the U.S and talk about his experiences in Space including his 100th spacewalk on the International Space Station! Coding club Coder Dojo will also feature at the exhibition with workshops teaching creative problem solving skills and practical creative skills.

In addition to the displays of up to 550 student projects, there are a further four exhibition halls filled with science and technology based exhibits making it a must-see event. The annual BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition attracts over 40,000 people making it one of the largest events of its kind in Europe, if not the world!

The other Donegal schools taking part include Choláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon; Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny; Gairm Scoil Chú Uladh, Beal an Atha Mhór; Loreto Community School, Milford; Loreto, Letterkenny; Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair and St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny. The topics they chose include the effects that drugs used for asthma have on the heart, smoking, a study of the relationship between temperature and the rate of erosion of aluminium, a study of the level of carbohydrates in different types of milk, the question can the type of musical instrument you play effect the size of your lungs; a study of pollution on the river Finn and a number of its banks; an investigation into gathering rain water which explores the benefits of the energy it generates; an investigation on whether your fear changes with age; the effects that walks, climbing and tourism has for the Mount Errigal and a study of the effect water has on a golf ball.

We look forward to hearing the final results of the projects and good luck to all of them.