Timahoe NS receiving their STEM award, one of eight Laois schools awarded by Science Foundation Ireland
By Lynda Kiernan firstname.lastname@example.org @laoisnews
This year eight Laois schools have won awards from Science Foundation Ireland, for their work to promote Science Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects.
The Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Maths Awards were announced on June 28 by Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs Frances Fitzgerald.
The Laois recipients are; Scoil Mhuire Fatima in Timahoe, Arles NS, Scoil Bhríde, Ballyadams NS, Camross NS, Naomh Padraig NS, St Paul's NS and Scoil Fionntán Naofa.
In Timahoe, they were presented with their award by Arles woman and science graduate Deirdre O'Shea of Agri Aware.
The school has shown exceptional interest in science for many years, and submitted this year's many events for the SFI prize.
Those included an Engineers Week visit from a mechanical engineer, hosting the Exploration dome in the school for Midlands Science Festival, Aoife Fitzpatrick’s National Final award at the Intel Mini Scientist, the Young Scientist award-winning HIIT or LISS project, a nutritionist-guided ‘supermarket-safari', a visit to Carlow IT for Science Week and meeting President Higgins to present a bog project at YS 2018.
Fifth class teacher Anna Moore said the the award brings a range of benefits.
“It provides a structure for STEM work and it raises the profile of science in the school and among parents. It recognises the hard work put in by students and teachers in the school,” she continued.
On presentation day Deirdre visited all classes to talk about healthy eating, and and the huge role farmers play in everyday lives. “We need them three times a day every day,” she told them.
The children displayed their Farm Safety posters and slogans to the VIP guest, such as Eoin Shortall's "Slurry Gas ain't class" and Caoimhe Ramsbottom's "You are the key to farm safety".
Junior and Senior Infants impressed Ms O’Shea with their healthy lunch boxes and 1st and 2nd classes were thrilled to learn about the Family Farm in Dublin Zoo as they were preparing to go there on their School Tour.
To everyone’s delight Deirdre brought three family passes for Dublin Zoo to raffle. They were won by Kate Ramsbottom, Oisin McDonald and Daniel Tynan.
John Hanley, 3rd class, had some social media tips for the Agri Aware Executive Director, suggesting the use of ‘Vlogging’ while exhibiting his tractor sketches from his art portfolio.
For more on the Discover Science and Maths Awards and the DPSM programme, see www.primaryscience.ie.
Speaking about the announcement, Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD, said: “I am delighted to congratulate these young Laois students and their teachers on this wonderful achievement. The Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Maths Awards guide and inspire the next generation of inventors, problem solvers and creative thinkers. I am confident these students will lead the way and continue to make us proud in the future.”
The awards recognise the achievements of children and teachers in the application of STEM in their classrooms.
To qualify, schools are required to keep a log of STEM activities that they have undertaken throughout the academic year and which involved the whole school. Schools are awarded credit for visiting Discover Science Centres, carrying out their own experiments, using digital technology and maths, going on STEM-related field trips, hosting visits from scientists and engineers, and holding a science open day in the school.
Commenting on the Discover Science and Maths Awards, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to making STEM accessible to all, so encouraging students, particularly girls, to engage with science and maths in a fun and interactive way early on is key. I commend these teachers for their passion and commitment to STEM and congratulate them on achieving the award for their school.”