THE inaugural Primary Schools’ Science of Life Fair, held in Dunmanway before the summer holidays, was enjoyed by pupils from across West Cork.
The idea was developed by the West Cork Education Centre, under the leadership of its director, Mary O’Donovan, together with Professor John F Atkins, a research professor at UCC and board member of West Cork Education Centre, and in collaboration with the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, UCC (Catherine Buckley) and in association with Blackrock Castle Observatory, LifeTime Lab and the Irish Photonics Centre, Tyndall Institute.
In April, primary schools were invited to participate in this innovative Primary Science Project. Catherine Buckley, APC, UCC, facilitated a teachers’ information workshop where the Living Things Strand of the SESE Curriculum was explored. This inquiry-based Science Learning evening provided teachers with background knowledge and tools to explore DNA through using simple experiments and tools.
Schools involved with this project showcased their research and experiments through model displays, food testing demonstrations, photo collages, demonstration of experiments including extraction of DNA from strawberries, etc.
An integral part of the Science Fair day was the opportunity for schools to showcase their work through dialogue with other schools, which contributed to their oral and presentation skills development.
The showcase of stands was well complemented by activities provided by associated partners, including the StarDome from Blackrock Castle Observatory, Marine Explorers Education Programme with LifeTime Lab, the Alimentary Inflatable Tunnel from APC and demonstrations from the Irish Photonics Centre at the Tyndall National Institute.
Local TD Michael McCarthy addressed all present and visited the various stands and activities. The chairperson of the management committee of West Cork Education, Dympna Daly was present, together with board member Noel Coakley.
Michael McCarthy, together with West Cork Education Centre board members, was on hand to support the Director in presenting awards and certificates to all participating schools.
Director of West Cork Education Centre Mary O’Donovan was very pleased with the success of the first Primary Schools’ Science of Life Fair. The standard of showcase presentations was very high and clearly demonstrated the level of research which teachers and students had engaged in for this project. She wish to applaud the support of collaborating and associated partners who provided great learning opportunities for the attendees. It is vital that we continue to promote science education in West Cork and continue to bring the many wonders of science, which is in rapidly evolving space, into our classrooms.
Noel Coakley, Management Committee Member West Cork Education Centre
Dympna Daly, Chairperson West Cork Education Centre
Michael McCarthy, Labour TD
Professor John Atkins, Management Committee Member West Cork Education Centre
Mary O’Donovan, Director West Cork Education Centre