8 January 2019|General News, Transition Year

On Wednesday 9th January, Transition Year students Jack McGuirk, Patrick Brennan and Tom Carroll will represent St Kieran’s College at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition 2019 in the RDS, Dublin. Students from all over the country will present their projects at stands across the RDS and will be judged over the course of the four day event. The Exhibition originated when in 1963 two physics researchers from the University College Dublin, Rev. Dr. Tom Burke and Dr. Tony Scott, came across the concept of ‘Science Fairs’ while conducting research in New Mexico. The pair decided that this type of hands-on science was something that students in Ireland could benefit from. And so the Young Scientist Exhibition was born. We wish Jack, Patrick and Tom all the best with their project and trust they will enjoy this wonderful event. Below the boys give a brief summary of their project. Well done to Mr Hennessy, to the lads and their families for all their work involved with this project.

What is our project about? 

For our project, we are studying HRV and its connection to stress. HRV (Heart Rate Variability) is not the same as a changing Heart Rate (HR). Although an individual may have a HR of 60 beats per minute, not every beat occurs on the second. HRV refers to the variation in the interval between heartbeats. HRV is a measure of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Your ANS is the part of your nervous system responsible for the control of your bodily functions not consciously directed. This includes functions like breathing, heartbeats and digestive procedures which can respond to how you exercise, recover, eat, sleep and perceive stress. 

Through our investigation and research, we discovered that different HRV readings can help to display levels of stress within an individual. For our project, we wondered if a Leaving Certificate exam student would display more signs of stress than a Transition Year Student due to their huge upcoming state examinations. Our hypothesis was that there would be a difference in HRV between the Transition Year and Leaving Certificate students. We would think that if HRV is a measure of the Autonomic Nervous System’s (ANS) response to stress, that there will be significant differences between the groups. Our project aimed to establish if this was the case and so we set about our work.