"Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy,
but I love you nonetheless."
Although the quote above conjures up in our mind what we regard to be the ideal winter - crisp, frosty mornings and cold temperatures that make us want to take refuge in our warm homes - our winter so far has been anything but. We often ask why it is such a topic of conversation in Ireland but when you consider the range of different types of weather and the variability in a given day of temperature, precipitation and wind, it is no wonder that we talk about it so much. It impacts and shapes our daily lives whether it's at work, playing sports or just trying to cut the lawn during a dry spell!
Like I always say, next month we could literally be swimming out there.
As I write this on the last day of December, we are in fact getting a good drenching from a band of rain sweeping south across the country. See rainfall radar pic below left.
Met Eireann have some cool graphs on their past weather section of their website and when you look at the data for the year it is very interesting. With the temperature we see that it is not really ever on the average, but swinging from warmer to cooler than average periods. For example, I said above that December was warmer than average, but if you look at November you see that it was cooler than average. It generally evens out in the long run.
The last number of weeks have been really busy in school with the Christmas tests, STEM 'Super' Wednesdays and Lego Mindstorms day among other things. We haven't been as productive with the project in December as in other months, not forgetting we got the holidays on the 22nd aswell!
However, we did make progress on a few fronts. Firstly we had a number of visits from graphic designer Glen O'Sullivan who is taking the children in groups to work on creating Info-boards for our display in the Young Scientist exhibition.
Glen talked to the class about the project to get a sense of what they wanted and what we would be looking for in our info-boards. He also spoke to the class about the technical aspects of processing images and adjusting / editing them for the best impact. A few children in the class were interested in photography already so this really hit the spot with them.
The Young Scientist exhibition runs on the 19th, 20th & 21st of January in Mary Immaculate College. We will be displaying our project on Saturday the 21st of January from 09:30 to 15:00.
Our clay model of the wetland has proven somewhat problematic. What started out as a trial model turned into the actual one we thought we would use. However we found that the clay continually shrinks at it dries which leaves gaps that need to be filled. The new material then shrinks and you are left with a smaller gap, and so on. This sparked an interest in the maths concept of infinite series which we explored through drawing fractals. (Funny clip here. Apologies for the elephant theme which rears its head again in the clip!) Anyhow we think we will have to rethink what material we use for the model, it might be modelling clay or plasticine.
Our survey of the local residents also concluded with the children doing a lovely job processing and displaying the data they collected. The experience of composing questions, going door to door and organising the raw data was incredibly valuable to the children. The findings were interesting, even if they were largely in line with what we expected.
For example, half of the houses surveyed (17 in total) had paved or concreted their front lawns in the last 10 years. This creates a lot more run-off than previously, as the soakage is reduced. Another interesting, if somewhat scientifically insignificant piece of information, is that most people say the wetland has increased in the last ten years. There are many factors at play of course and it is impossible to say which has been the main cause of the wetland forming and increasing over time.
So its goodbye to 2016, we will be back with more in January and we look forward to what 2017 will bring.