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Mini Scientists…….Big Ideas!


– On Thursday December 1st and Friday December 2nd the Grand Final events of Intel Mini Scientist 2011 took place at the Intel Ireland campus in Leixlip, Co. Kildare

– This year almost 3,000 students from 8 counties across Ireland took part in the Intel Mini Scientist competition

– Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn visited the exhibition at Intel on December 2nd to present the prizes to the winning projects

For the past number of months, 4th, 5th and 6th class students from across Ireland have been getting hands on with science and showcasing their big ideas as they took part in the annual Intel Mini Scientist competition. The competition, which has been running since 2003, gives young students the chance to explore science through project based learning and exhibitions.

The first phase of the program involves students participating at local level exhibitions where Intel judges visit the participating schools, choosing two winning projects in each. The second phase saw each of these winning projects take part in the Mini Scientist Grand Final which was hosted on Thursday December 1st and Friday December 2nd at the Intel Ireland campus in Leixlip, Co. Kildare.

The 2011 initiative was the biggest year yet for the competition with almost 3,000 students from 8 counties across Ireland taking part. The Grand Final event brought together 300 of these students who displayed a total of 98 projects in the hope of picking up one of the 2 overall and 10 runner prizes being awarded.

At the Final event the participants exhibited their projects for a panel of judges, which was made up from Intel employees, who had the difficult task of choosing the winning projects from the very creative variety. Intel employees also had the chance to come along and view the work of the students whose projects each included visual displays, projects books and practical experiments based on a scientific area aligned with the national primary science curriculum.

Each of the days of the Grand Final were filled with innovative and imaginative projects, put together through months of hard work and the judges, after a very difficult task of deliberation,  compiled their list of winning projects for each day;

Thursday December 1st

Grand Final Overall Winner
• Hair Today, Heat Tomorrow – Kilmurry National School, Co. Clare

Runner-up Awards
• Natural Dye – St. Patrick’s National School, Rathvilly, Co. Carlow
• Solar Heater – St. Laurence’s National School, Sallins, Co. Kildare
• Hydrogen from a Solar Panel – Castleknock Educate Together, Dublin 15 
• Powerful Paper Towels – Scoil Naomh Bríd, Celbridge, Co. Kildare
• Is your Water Really Clean? – Caragh National School, Naas, Co. Kildare

Friday December 2nd

Grand Final Overall Winner
• Water Testing – Scoil Eoin Phoil, Leixlip, Co. Kildare

Runner-up Awards
• Building Bridges – Rahan National School, Mallow, Co. Cork
• Oil Spills – St. Pius X Girls National School, Terenure, Dublin 6
• Organic Fertilizer – St. Anne’s National School, Ardclough, Co. Kildare 
• Be Green – St. Pius X Girls National School, Terenure, Dublin 6

• Which Side of the Brain Do You Use? – Scoil Naisiunta Oilibheir, Dublin 15

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn visited the exhibition at Intel on December 2nd and had the opportunity to hear from some of the budding young scientists and to award the prizes to the students. Minister Quinn commended the standard of work presented by the students and reminded them of the importance of exploration and investigative learning in solving big problems and creating opportunities for the future

Sarah Sexton, coordinator of the Intel Mini Scientist program, was delighted with the success of this year’s competition, “This year it was fantastic to once again see a growth in the number of students participating in the program and at the same time we continue to see an ever higher standard of projects amongst the participants – the competition is a great way to get children excited about science and to give them the opportunity to build key 21st century sills such as critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork”.

For more information about the grand final event or the Mini Scientist program visit

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Further images from the event can be found here:

Day 1 –

Day 2 –

Further Information

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