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How using a freezer is the secret formula to win a game of conkers

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Craig Nolan, Sam Veale, James Henkel, and Dean Myler, from St Joseph’s NS, Gleneally, Wicklow, at the Primary Schools Fair at the Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS.

Craig Nolan, Sam Veale, James Henkel, and Dean Myler, from St Joseph’s NS, Gleneally, Wicklow, at the Primary Schools Fair at the Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS.

Craig Nolan, Sam Veale, James Henkel, and Dean Myler, from St Joseph’s NS, Gleneally, Wicklow, at the Primary Schools Fair at the Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS.

The formula to winning a game of conkers and ways of improving your memory are just two of the experiments that some of the country's younger scientists have been working on.

The RDS Primary Science Fair kicked off yesterday and over the next few days, 2,700 children will show off all they have learned and the fruits of their labour.

Students in 4th, 5th and 6th class from schools right around the country will continue to present their projects at the science fair today and tomorrow. And, across the three days 120 different class groups will have participated in the event for one day each.

At the helm of one gang of aspiring scientists was teacher Joyce Lynch from Scoil Mhuire Lourdes in Carrigaline, Co Cork. Her enthusiastic fourth class boys are between the ages of nine and 11-years-old and they joined her yesterday dressed in lab coats for the day and were excited to measure the heads of passer-bys. Their project was investigating if the size of your head determined your intelligence.

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Martha NicIonais (13) and Caoilfhionn Ni Dheorain (14), with their project 'Educating by making shapes with a 3D printer' at the BT Young Scientist

Martha NicIonais (13) and Caoilfhionn Ni Dheorain (14), with their project 'Educating by making shapes with a 3D printer' at the BT Young Scientist

Martha NicIonais (13) and Caoilfhionn Ni Dheorain (14), with their project 'Educating by making shapes with a 3D printer' at the BT Young Scientist

"They were very into it - the brain, how it works, the size of it and they were very into Albert Einstein," Ms Lynch explained.

"It was fantastic, because we have been working on it for two months straight and they never once lost interest. And, because there is so much maths involved in it didn't take from our daily routine."

Another teacher who admitted that he possibly enjoyed the scientific adventure more than his pupils was Darragh Bell from St Ultan's National School in Ballyfermot, Dublin.

His class love playing the classic game of conkers, so they investigated different ways which they could make their conkers harder to improve their chances of winning.

"We play conkers every October when they are in season. We did lots of experiments and we found in the end that freezing them was the best. They loved it. I had a great time and they had a great time as well," he added.

Sinead Delambaca (11) and Sarah Khan (11) were the lead scientists on this project and they said it was "really fun" and that science has now become a new hobby of theirs.

"You get to experience new stuff, and I am going to be doing science in secondary school and now I know what it feels like to do it, it's a great experience," Sarah added.

The 2015 RDS Primary Science Fair saw a 43pc increase in applications this year and over 50pc of the schools were first time entrants.

The event is geared towards encouraging teachers to focus on developing their pupils scientific skills by investigating a question or problem by "working scientifically, deigning and making".

Michael Duffy, chief executive of the RDS, said another aim is to "develop teacher confidence and skills in teaching STEM subjects, using an inquiry based approach".

Irish Independent