DPSM Award Number WW008 (2017-2018)

Welcome to our submission for the Discover Primary Science Awards 2017-2018. Our award number is WW008. This is our first digital log and we are very excited for you to see some of the great things that have been going on in St. Fergals School in relation to STEM. We regret that we can't fit everythikng in so we chose some of the highlights of our work to share with you.

Steps of Awards.

For Step 1 - Science under the strand Materials, we looked at Creeping Colours, Effects of heating and cooling, and Lava Lamps.

Under the strand Living Things we looked at How Plants Drink.

Under the strand Energy and Forces we looked at Sound Insulation, Creepy Reflections and Floating Finger, Static Electricity and Magnetism.

Under the strand Environmental Awareness and Care we made some bird feeders, we investigated the signs of Spring in our school surroundings and investigated the effects of Global Warming.

Also we visited Sea Life in Bray which is one of the Discovery Centres and our Science Speaker Grace Guard visited us throughout the year to talk about many different aspects of Science and brought us outside into the school garden and surrounding area of the school..

For Step 2 Technology - some of the classes took part in SCRATCH (coding). We also made bar graphs on our computers to show our Maths DATA. We also did a number of Internet Safety Day activities including looking at a Powerpoint Presentations and making posters about staying safe online.

In St Fergals we are lucky to not only have the use of some computers in our classrooms we also have a designated Computer Room to use in both the Junior and Senior buildings. Some of favourite websites for STEM reasearch are National Geographic, Science4kids, worldbookonline, topmarks, factmonster etc.

The teachers in St Fergals have also received CPD training recently and we have come away with a fountain of new ideas and APPS to try. We are looking forward to using these going forwards.

For Step 3 - Engineering we did a number of Design and Make activities (namely Bridge, Diver and Boat)

We also looked at Henry's Piano book which looks at simple machines and their usage in moving a heavy piano. We then had to put together a model using all of the simple machines.

Afterwards we investigated engineering in our local area - Playground.

We also invited our resident, engineer and caretaker Joe Carroll into the classroom to discuss his job with the children. He identified areas where he used simple machines (pulleys, levers, screws, inclied planes) in his work. We asked him alot of questions and he made us think alot!!

For Step 4 - Maths we looked at measurement. We measured heights, shoe sizes (and compared them at two different stages throughout the year). We also measured areas around the school and also the Weather. We had great fun with this.

Also for Step 4 we developed Maths trails around the school.

For Step 5 - STEM Showcase the 3rd classes put on a great Science Display Day in the school hall. They developed a timetable and all of the school got a slot to go down, look at investigations and try them out. The 3rd classes were excellent at explaining each ones and their Teachers Ms Smyth and Ms Clarke were very proud. It was a very busy day but great fun!!

All of the steps are documented below with pictures!

ENJOY!!!!!

Step 3 - Engineer visit from our resident plumber, electrician, carpenter and gardener - Joe Carroll

Children discuss Joe’s role as above and ask questions relating to pulleys used on removing the old horse chestnut tree in the school grounds.

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Joe discusses with children the importance of recycling and the danger plastic poses to wildlife! 

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Children are as to think about where levers might be located in the school building.

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Joe demonstrates how levers work in one of the locks from the school doors.

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Joe points out that certain materials are not good for our school’s plumbing system.

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Step 1 - Science - Energy and Forces (Sound insulating in 3rd Class)

3rd class have been learning all about sound. We learned how sound moves through vibrations passed along air molecules.  

 

 

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We closed our eyes and listened carefully to all of the noises we could hear. After 1 minute we had to brain storm all of the sounds we could hear. It's amazing how many sounds you notice when you listen carefully! We could even hear dogs barking quite far away.

 

 

 

 

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We explored how sound travels more easily through solids, as the air molecules are packed tightly together. We could hear the ruler vibrating off the table MUCH wore clearly when we put our ear to it! 

 

 

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After discussing times when we may need to insulate sounds (like the walls of a music studio or a pair of ear protecting head phones) we began our experiment!

 

Each pair took two plastic cups to cover our ears and a number of possible insulating materials. We stuffed the cups with the same amount of each material and listened to our music speakers. After each test we scored the materials on a scale of 1-10 (10 meaning we could hear the music perfectly, 0 meaning we couldn't hear a sound). We even listened to the same song every time to ensure it was a very fair test! (Havana ooh-na-na is very catchy!) 

 

 

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We found that Cotton Material was the best sound insulator. We think this is because cotton is good at absorbing things, and maybe that's why cotton is used in clothing, as it could also absorb sweat. 

 

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We really enjoyed learning all about sound!

 

We will be showing this experiment at the Science Fair in April :) 

 

 

Step 2 - Technology - Coding day 2- 4th class (Scratch)

On Tuesday, Ben showed us a game of Pac-Man he coded for us to play. It took 25 hours of coding to make it! We are all coding games on scratch coding. We wrote about what we did in the computer room......

 

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 Drawing and designing a character for their game.

Drawing and designing a character for their game.

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These girls are coding a fashion game where you can dress up your character! 

 

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Coding a football game! 

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Making a ghost fly across the city! 

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Making a ballerina twirl! 

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Making the sprite run down the road! 

Step 1 - Science (Invite a science speaker Grace Guarde)

Taking a closer look at life cycles.

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We planted some morning glory, sunflower seeds and vegetables in recycled yoghurt pots.

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We packed the compost firmly.

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We collect all of our school’s food waste daily.

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We reuse this food and add it to our compost bins in the school garden.

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Once our composting is complete we return our empty bins to the classroom for the following day. 

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Step 1 - Science (Visit a Discovery Centre - Sea Life Bray

Sixty Second Class pupils walked from our school to Sea life Bray on Friday 9th March.Below is Ms Brady’s Class.

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First, we had a safety talk. 

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Then Annie gave us a talk on how to protect life in the sea.

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we made posters and pledged to protect turtles from plastic litter and protest against shark fin hunting.

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We had a guided tour with Dave.

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We touched a starfish in the touch pool! 

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It was amazing!

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Step 1 - Science - Energy and Forces - Exploring creepy reflections & floating fingers in 3rd class


Today we carried out two exciting experiments.  

The first experiment investigated how our fingers can appear different when looking at their reflection in a mirror as the mirror is submerged in water. 

The second experiment involved investigating whether we could see another magical finger appear between the gap of our two fingers. 

 

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Step 1 - Science - Living Things - How Do Plants Drink?

In Ms. Kelly’s Senior Infant class, we investigated how plants drink.  

 

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Firstly, we discussed all the ways we thought that a plant might get water. We had lots of ideas!   

 

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For our experiment we used glasses, water, celery and  food colouring. Our control was a piece of celery placed into a glass of water without any additive. This control makes sure our experiment is working properly. 

We filled the glasses with an equal amount of water and marked the water level with a marker. This will show us how much water the plant drinks. We added green food colouring to one glass and red food colouring to another glass. Nothing was added to the control.

We split the stalk of celery in two and put one half into the green food colouring and the other half into the red food colouring. 

The next day we came back and observed our experiment.  We could see that the water level in all glasses had decreased. The control had not changed but the other piece of celery had started to show signs of discolouration.

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We then documented our experiment by drawing a labelled diagram. We found that the coloured water had travelled through tubes inside the celery stalk and into the leaves of the plant!

 

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Step 3 - Engineering - Design a Boat- Design and Make - 2nd class- Ms Brady’s

Will our balloons float or sink? 

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They float! 

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Water pushes the balloon upwards with a force called ‘ upthrust’. 

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Will an orange float or sink when unpeeled? 

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we found out that unpeeled oranges float and peeled oranges sink!

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We made a ball of plasticine and it sank in water. 

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I made my ball into a boat and it floated! 

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The shape of the boat was important! 

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My boat could carry more than 15 passengers before it sank! 

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The suspense! Where our predictions accurate? 

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