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Today I got the chance to judge at the Grand Final of Intel’s mini scientist competition. It’s a national competition run by Intel to encourage primary school children to get involved with maths and science. It’s open to schools across the country.

Children are invited to conduct and write up their own experiments and investigations.

At the grand final the children get the chance to present and show off their experiments and reports. There were some fantastic entries. Everything from research into the best types of toothpaste, which included some surprising results on the damage overuse of some types can do - right through to experiments on the best way to make plant fertiliser. For the fertiliser experiment the 5th year students even managed to rope in some help from University Collage Dublin!

Deciding on the winners was increasingly hard, and there were some heated discussions between us judges. In the end the overall winner was a fantastic experiment into water quality across three major rivers in Ireland. It included everything from chemical experiments to try to determine the best quality water, right down to using the water to grow watercress in an effort to see which was the most biologically friendly!

To cap it all off TV3 and the Minister for Education turned up for some high profile interviews and reviews of some of the projects!