How can minibeasts walk up walls? This was just one of the 120 class projects that will be on the display at the 2014 RDS Primary Science Fair, which took place alongside the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition this January.
Among the participants were two Offaly schools. St Francis Boys’ School, Clara looked at which paper towels were which is the strongest and most absorbent while Scoil Chrónáin Naofa, Dromakeenan sought to find out if we could get electrical energy from fruits and vegetables.
The RDS Primary Science Fair takes place alongside the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition and encourages primary school teachers to focus on developing students’ scientific skills by investigating a question or problem.
The Fair is not a competition, the emphasis of participation is on the development of children’s core scientific skills as set out in the primary science curriculum ie ‘working scientifically’ and ‘designing and making’. Through working together to question, observe, record and then make sense of what they find, students develop core life skills which provide them with a strong foundation for their future path in life.
The Fair also aims to support teachers to develop their confidence and skills in teaching STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) using an inquiry-based approach. Feedback from teachers who have been involved in the Fair indicates that, through the process of their scientific investigation, students can also develop their literacy, oral language and numeracy skills.
The 120 participating schools represent 23 counties from Ireland north and south, and come from as far afield as Cavan, Antrim, Limerick and Wexford. Over 2,800 4th, 5th and 6th class students will display their class projects in a specially designated RDS Primary Science Fair Zone of the Exhibition. This year over 1/3 of exhibiting schools are new entrants to the Fair, and over 2/3 come from outside of Dublin.
Students work as a class under the supervision of their teacher on a project which should seek to pose and answer a question.