As you may know I have recently become a facilitator with Science Foundation Ireland and I have begun giving workshops to schools based on their Inquiry Based Approach to teaching and learning in Science and encouraging schools to apply for the Discover Primary Science and Maths Science Excellence Award.
These awards are not an additional task for teachers as they are to recognise the work you already do with your class and across the school. There are different steps to the award which are:
Step 1: Science
As part of Step 1 you must show the children engaging in Hands on Activities across the four strands of the Science Curriculum. You can easily represent the work of different classes in your school within this step.
As part of this step you must also include two further activities which could be:
- Visiting a Discover Centre – this could be part of your annual school tour and confirmation of booking can be included if your tour is after the awards deadline.
- Participate in Science Events as listed on SFI website
- Invite a Science Speaker into your school – these can represent the many areas of the Science Curriculum.
- Participate in a Science Week or Space Week Event
Step 2: Technology
As part of this step you must provide evidence of 2 different ways the children engaged with ICT as part of their learning.
This could include using the iPad in class to support their research skills or more advanced ICT including robotics. I hope to explore the hourofcode.org site with my class as part of Step 2.
Step 3: Engineering
As part of Step 3 you must include two examples of the children exploring engineering in the class. This can include design and make activities and the variety of events available in Engineers Week.
Previously I have organised shared engineering challenges where my senior pupils worked with junior classes to make a specific item from a variety of K’Nex and Lego.
Step 4: Maths
As part of this step you must show 2 different ways that the children have used and applied their maths knowledge in practical activities.
This can include using maths to record your science experiment such as weighing or measuring. You could also analyse the results of an experiment using graphs in senior classes or sorting and classifying activities in junior classes.
As part of this step and as part of Maths Week my class designed a Maths trail for the other classes in the school. Once they were aware of specific topics and skills for each class they really enjoyed this activity.
Step 5: Show and Tell
As part of Step 5 the children must present their work in STEM to the wider school community or wider community. Children can present their work at a School Assembly or present their work by visiting other classrooms.
This year I hope to have an open Science afternoon where parents and the wider school community can come and view the work of my class across the school year.
Many of these activities are already ongoing in classes across your school, so why not register for the awards and get the recognition for the fantastic STEM work in your school. If you have any further questions please send me a PM.