STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics)
St. Fursey’s N.S.
The Discover Primary Science and Maths Programme (DPSM) is part of Science Foundation Ireland’s Education and Public Engagement Programme, which aims to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among students, teachers and members of the public.
DPSM originated in 2003 with the goal of introducing primary school students to science in a practical, hands-on, enjoyable and interactive way. Since 2010 the programme has been run in conjunction with the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) Ireland which uses space to inspire and engage young people in science and technology in the world around them.
This year the Science Team under the guidance of Ms. Mulholland have been working hard to achieve the SFI Plaque of STEM Award. All the classes in the school have been engaged in a journey of Scientific Discovery throughout this year. They have completed a broad range of activities and tasks that cover the breadth of the Primary School Curriculum. The children have been working as Scientists conducting investigations that will equip them with the skills, expertise and knowledge to enter the Engineering and Digital World in which they live.
SFI Plaque of STEM AWARD
After all of the hard work and effort, led by Ms. Mulholland and the Science team, St. Fursey’s N.S were informed that they have been awarded the SFI Plaque of STEM. Congratulations to all of the staff and the children in the school. The wonderful work has been highly commended in a glowing report that we should all be extremely proud of. The report read as follows:
“Congratulations – your school has achieved an SFI Discover Science and Maths Award for the 2019/2020 academic year. We have evaluated your Log of Evidence and we are satisfied that you have met all the criteria for the Plaque of STEM.
Your school has provided evidence of children’s engagement with STEM in the following areas:
Here is some feedback on your Log of Evidence:
This Log was a pleasure to assess. The work was well explained and clearly labelled. The breadth of STEM experiments and activities across the whole school was comprehensive: use of your Chromebooks by all the learners, your interest in developing Coding (including your lunch time Code Club), DNA exploration, Einstein and Forensic workshops, your access to concrete and practical Math resources through your involvement with DKIT, your teachers planning, etc.
What an honour being invited to present at the Education Conference in Portlaoise – I know it was a pity to have to cancel – but remember with pride being invited – and I’m so glad you made the video record to share with peers and parents. Congratulations – you are worthy recipients of the Plaque Award. Keep up the good work and consider applying for the Badge of Excellence next year.”
Enjoy browsing through some photographs that display the work the children have been completing in Science this year. During these lessons the children have been encouraged to think Scientifically and ask Scientific Questions when engaged in their investigations. These lessons will be categorised and showcased below based on the four Strands of the SESE Science Curriculum.
While engaging in this topic from the curriculum many classes from our school were extremely busy and engaged in meaningful contextualised learning. Junior Infants explored how rain is formed. Senior Infants explored the changing properties of cream and in doing so made some delicious discoveries and made some butter! First Class explored the effects and changes caused by various liquids on eggs. Fifth class designed and made some marvellous volcanoes. Their creations were astounding. However, they never got the opportunity to create a volcanic eruption using sodium bicarbonate and vinegar due to the closure of our school as a result of Covid 19.
Junior Infant Rain Makers!
Senior Infant Butter Makers:
First Class Eggsperiments!
2. Living Things:
Second Class undertook an experiment to examine the effects of various liquids on teeth. They conducted this experiment by pretending eggs were their teeth. They immersed the eggs into milk, coke and water. After a number of weeks they examined how these liquids had impacted on their teeth.
3. Energy and Forces:
Second Class were very busy conducting Science experiments to explore the nature and properties of Static Electricity. They had so much fun engaging in these experiments and the knowledge that they gained was invaluable.
4. Environmental Awareness and Care:
The children from the Senior classes throughout the school were involved in planting and harvesting fruit and vegetables in the school. This integrated excellently with the preparations and work for obtaining our Green School Flag. It was a fabulous worthwhile project that taught the children exactly what plants need to grow and survive. They had to care for and nurture their plants over a period of time. By doing this they yielded a very rich harvest.The children literally enjoyed the fruits of their labour.
Science Week was celebrated in style in our School this year. There were two big events which took place in the school. Firstly, the Sixth class pupils attended a Science Workshop in the Louth County Library. Secondly, all children in the school participated in the Junior Einsteins Science Workshops.
DNA Cell Explorers Workshop:
Our Sixth Class participated in a DNA Cell explorers Workshop in the Louth County Library. They were afforded the opportunity to work like real scientists. The pictures speak for themselves!
Junior Einsteins Workshop – Our Science Showcase!
Every class in our school was given the opportunity to attend the Junior Einsteins Scientific Workshops that were held in our school. These workshops were organised by Ms. Mulholland with the help of parent Maureen Hoey. Maureen and her team of scientists came to the school for a two day period and engaged the children in an expansive range of science experiments. This experience brought Science to life for the children. The Junior Children made Ooblek (Oobleck is a classic science experiment that’s perfect for entertaining both kids and adults. If you haven’t seen it in action it’s very fascinating stuff and before too long you’ll have your hands covered with it, happily making a mess that can be washed away with water.) They also conducted investigations with electricity. The Senior Children engaged in a Science Forensics Workshop. We are most grateful to Maureen and her team for providing such an enjoyable learning experience for ALL the children in our school. Enjoy browsing through the photographs in the following slideshow showing the wonderful Scientific work that was showcased during these workshops.
The children are provided with a range of opportunities to incorporate digital technologies and resources that are available in the school to support and scaffold their learning in Science. Fifth and Sixth Class have taken part in Scratch Coding Workshops and a Lunchtime Coding Club with Ms. Higgins. Fifth Class have engaged with “The Hour of Code Project” with Final Year Students from St. Patrick’s College DCU. Even our Junior Infants have engaged with their Phonic activities using the chromebooks. All classes from 2nd upwards have been given Science tasks to complete via Google Classroom using the School’s Chromebooks. Thankfully the children were highly proficient in the use of Google Classroom on the Chromebooks. This proved to be an invaluable skill which was utilised and drawn upon during the Covid-19 lockdown. Google Classroom provided an invaluable platform for the children, parents and teachers to engage in Homeschool Learning.
Scratch Coding Club
Hour of Code Workshop
Junior Infant Phonics
Engineers Week was on from 29th February to 6th March 2020. The children from 2nd Class engaged in a Lesson Study. They worked on designing and making Marble Runs. To help facilitate this lesson the children were peer tutored by the children in 5th class.
The Lesson Study involved planning, consultation and collaboration between the Science Team (Ms. Mulholland, Mrs. Smith, Ms. Sloane, Ms. Galligan) and Ms. Mc Guinness. The project was conducted in consultation with Máiread Holden, a PDST facilitator. The findings from the study were to be showcased at an Educational Conference on the 12th of March 2020 in Portlaoise. However, the staff in the school were unable to attend due to fears of the spread of Covid-19. As it happened the school closed that very day due to the pandemic. The project was still showcased to the parents via Google Classroom through video. You can enjoy watching this video for yourself. The children were extremely proud of their creations. The learning from the process was phenomenal. The children thought like enginneers, questioned like engineers, worked like engineers, problem solved like real engineers and participated in meaningful and invaluable group learning.
Third Class also designed and made thermal flasks as part of a STEM project with Mr. O Donoghue. The children engaged in this process as teams and came up with some brilliant designs.
Fifth Class were very busy during Homeschool. Ms. Mulholland provided them with a project to create airplanes. The children thoroughly enjoyed this project and created some marvellous masterpieces. Check out the video below to see the results!
Marble Run Lesson Study
Maths lessons have been brought to life and contextualised for the children in the classes throughout the school this year. The children have been encouraged to question, problem solve and think like Mathematicians. Maths Stations have been undertaken in the Junior Classes in the School. The children from Junior Infants learned all about weight in a practical way by working in mini groups during these Station Workshops. The senior children from Sixth Class have had opportunities to take part in Maths Worskshops with Douglas Buchanan and a team of lecturers from the DKIT. These opportunities have enriched the children’s experiences of Maths. They have been enabled to complete an array of practical Maths activities that are based on their concrete life experiences.
Junior Infant Weight Lessons.
Sixth Class Math Workshops:
Plaque of STEM 2020/2021:
This year, under the guidance of Ms. Mulholland and the Science team, we have continued our wonderful work developing children’s scientific and mathematical skills through engaging STEM lessons. Enjoy looking through the video below which depicts the magical science work which has taken place in the school throughout this academic year.
Many stands and strand units of the Science Curriculum have been covered through engagement in this work.
As part of the Science programme the children undertook lessons in the following four areas:
2) Living Things
3) Energy and Forces
4) Environmental Awareness and Care
The children engaged in a variety of experiments to explore and gain insight into these topics. Examples include making lava lamps, fizzing chemistry, making slime, skittle colour mixing, growing a rainbow, planting seeds, Autumn trails, egg parachutes, playground designs for a derelict piece of land, moon craters, marine activities, houses for the Three Little Pigs and gardening. Evidence of these activities are included in the photographs and videos below.
Another PLAQUE OF STEM 2020/2021!!!
St. Fursey’s N.S has been awarded the Plaque of STEM for the second year running. Well done to Ms. Mulholland and the Science team for all their hard work and effort in achieving this award for the school. Congratulations to all of the children for their engagement in the wonderful science projects and investigations throughout the year.
Here is some feedback that we received on our Log of Evidence:
“Congratulations to all staff and pupils in Scoil Fhursa on achieving your SFI Discover Science and Maths Award. It was a pleasure to assess your well designed and labelled video log and to see all the wonderful photos of learners engaged in investigative science, use of technology for research, design and make projects for engineering and practical maths. The football tables and pringles constructions were particularly impressive and it was great to see learners engaged in practical STEM work at home. It was also lovely to see STEM work happening in the outdoors with learners completing an Autumn trail, gardening, launching parachutes and completing maths trail. For future logs, it would be lovely to see some examples of the learners’ planning sheets, results tables or written descriptions of investigations included along with the photographs. Keep up the great work.”
Technology is the use of knowledge to invent new devices or tools. Throughout history, technology has made people’s lives easier. The children participated in numerous Science, Maths and SESE lessons through their Google Classroom accounts using the chromebooks available in the school. They researched their topics collaboratively in teams and completed many wonderful projects. The children also conducted a range of scientific experiments as part of homeschool learning experience this year using technology.
Engineering involves creating and building structures, products, and systems by using Math, Science and Art. An engineer is a person who does the engineering . Engineers are problem solvers who create useful inventions. As part of the Science curriculum the children have undertaken design and make projects and actually worked as engineers and developed their problem solving and questioning skills in the process. They have designed and made boats, marshmallow bridges, parachutes, a pringles wheel and football tables.
One of the most important reasons to study math is because it builds problem-solving skills. All children need to know how to reason and analytically think through a problem. These problem solving skills have been enhanced and developed among the children in our school through a range of focused activities. The children have completed interactive Zoom workshops in conjunction with the Dundalk Institute of Technology, played interactive mathematical games on platforms such as Nrich Maths, IXL Maths and Topmarks Maths using their chromebooks. The children have also developed their mathematical skills using their immediate environment through engagement in Math trails.
Plaque of STEM 2020/2021 Log of Evidence Video: