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.
For the past three years, 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, St. Fursey’s N.S have received the SFI Plaque of STEM for two consecutive years. Congratulations to all of the staff and the children in the school. The wonderful work has been highly commended in two glowing reports that we should all be extremely proud of. Extracts from the reports 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.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.” (2019/2020)
“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.” (2020/2021)
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.
First Class learned all about primary and secondary colours during Science this year. They also explored the component colours of the rainbow. This topic was reinforced through some hands on experimentation. They created walking rainbows using tissue paper, water and food dye. They examined the changes over time and were amazed by the magical science that happened.
2. Living Things:
While engaging in this topic from the curriculum many classes from our school were extremely busy and engaged in meaningful contextualised learning.
Sixth Class explored facts about soil by watching relevant educational videos. They examined the consistency and formation of soil through a series of hands on experiments. They conducted an experiment to investigate the effects of water on soil. They also examined the layers that soil is composed of. The records of these experiments were recorded in their SESE copies and diagrams to correspond were illustrated. This topic of work was further developed in Geography and History by learning about, comparing and contrasting Farming and Famine in Ireland and Africa.
Fourth class learned all about the Lungs. They become aware of and investigated breathing, appreciated the need for oxygen from the air and investigated how air is drawn in through mouth and nose and passes through windpipe to the lungs. This was reinforced through a design and make experiment where the children constructed lungs using plastic bottles, straws and balloons. The children enjoyed these lessons thoroughly and gained a wealth of information through this process.
3. Energy and Forces:
Third class took part in the Ski challenge this year. They created mini skiers using tinfoil, lollipop sticks, blu tac, selotape and markers. On completion of their skier, the children tested how well their creation could ski down a slope by using the forces of pushing, pulling, twisting and stretching. In doing this they also explored gravity and its effect on the skier. They then extended their learning by exploring how far the skier travelled on slopes made out of various different materials. This task focused on the effect that friction had on their skier in moving smoothly down the slope. The children enjoyed questioning, hypothesizing and testing during the ski challenge.
4. Environmental Awareness and Care:
Senior Infants went on a Spring Walk all around the immediate environment of the school. They used all of their five senses to explore the signs of Spring all around them. They kept a record of their findings. They wrote down all the things they saw, what sounds they heard, what signs of Spring that they could touch and feel around them and the smells of spring in the air. They spoke about the various aspects of Spring that they could possibly taste too!
Science Week Promotion:
Science Week 2021 took place from the 7th until the 14th of September. During this week all classes took part in a selection of Science investigations with their teachers. Many of the classes also took part in Virtual Zoom workshops between Science Week and Math Week (in October)- with Aoibheann Ní Shuilleabháin to promote Math learning among girls and Math Rocks with Andrew Jeffrey.
Technology is the use of knowledge to invent new devices or tools. Throughout history, technology has made people’s lives easier. Coding is a type of computer language or instructions that enable us to communicate with computers. Children are growing up in a digital world as “digi natives”. Therefore they need to be able to function and operate within this world. This year the children in school have been provided with opportunities to engage with coding through the use of BeeBots and Scratch Coding Workshops. First and Second Class engaged in coding lessons for a five week block where they engaged and interacted with the BeeBots for their English lessons. They programmed the floor robot to find the correct answer on a mat designed by their class teacher. Not only did Bee Bot help the children with their grammar, it also improved their directional language and programming skills. They had great fun in the process and the workshops were a huge success!
The children in 6th class were introduced to computational thinking by engaging in the Bebras Challenge. Bebras is an international initiative that promotes informatics and computational thinking among teachers and pupils of all ages. The children were provided with opportunities to play Mathematical, logic and computational games on the School Chromebooks in preparation for the challenge. Then in November the children took the opportunity to participate in the online “test”. This was a challenging and difficult task, however they did their best and completed it. It was also an opportunity for mathematically gifted children to shine in a new, innovative and exciting manner.
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.
Fifth class children engaged in a sustainable housing project. They explored the various types of sustainable energy sources. They investigated solar panels, with the help of a local engineering lecturer from Dundalk Institute of Technology Dermot Clarke. In groups the children designed and made houses that promoted sustainable energy sources. The project was then displayed and presented to the children of 6th class in a STEM SHOWCASE Show and Tell afternoon.
Sixth class children investigated magnets. They watched online videos about Magnets, magnetic poles, fields and laws of attraction. They explored magnets and the power of various types of magnets. In teams the children created race tracks and magnetic powered cars to maneuver around the tracks. They presented their creations to their classmates and had a “playtime” where their peers could come and experiment with the tracks and cars that had been created.
Check out the video below of 6th class Magnetic Car in Action
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.
Second class explored Shape and Space through the use of tangrams. They created pictures and patterns using the tangrams and examined the attributes of various 2-D shapes. The children also explored symmetry using shapes and created marvellous symmetrical patterns.
Junior Infants went on a Math trail around the school and played Numicon Math Bingo. They were encouraged to use Math in their immediate school environment which brought the Math lesson to life and contextualised it for them. The lesson was a “hit” and enjoyed by all of the children.
There are a selection of photographs included here to show the breadth of hands on Math lessons that were completed in all classes throughout the school.