Ballygar NS wins first prize in 3M Smart Earth Challenge!

Ballygar National School has won €575 in prize money as the winners of the science-based technology company 3M’s Smart Earth Challenge poster competition.

Fifth and sixth class pupils, Alex, Dominik, Saibhe, and Simone designed the winning entry, a pedal-powered iPad and heated seat, for the new sustainability poster competition for schools.

The winning idea involves a desk and chair with pedals connected to a generator. Pedal power is converted into energy, with a socket to plug in and charge electronic devices and a switch to heat the seat.

The judges were impressed with how creative and practical the invention was and how it could be used reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

A total of 29 entries, involving 65 pupils, were received for the Ireland pilot of the 3M Smart Earth Challenge from three schools close to 3M’s manufacturing facility in Athlone. They were judged by members of 3M’s European Sustainability team against criteria based around the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, including concepts such as recycling, energy conservation and climate action.

Speaking about the winning entry, Siobhan Heanue said: “This is such a clever idea! It’s also a great fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of sustainable energy and wellbeing. Congratulations Alex, Dominik, Saibhe and Simon”.

Commenting on the award, Ballygar principal Helene Hanley said: “The 3M Smart Earth Science competition was a fantastic initiative which immediately engaged our students given the issue of climate change.

“Both students and parents alike showed a tremendous interest in the challenge and we look forward to entering again next year. In the meantime, while planning how to allocate the 3M prize money we will continue to raise awareness for sustainable energy. My thanks go to class teachers, Orla Cormican and Elizabeth McManus, for helping with and encouraging such wonderful entries from our pupils”.