17th June 2022: The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, announced today that 372 primary schools across the country will be awarded the Discover Science and Maths Award. Led by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the programme aims to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) among primary school students, parents, and teachers, nationwide in a fun and engaging way.
Commenting on the awards, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, said: “I want to congratulate all the students and the teachers that have been successful in winning an SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths Award. The projects this year covered several important topics that will inevitably impact every one of us including climate change, plastics and technology.
“I know the last few years haven’t been easy for children but yet again, we have seen their imaginations remain alive and they are working together to help us solve the big challenges we all face.
“I really hope students and their teachers will keep engaging with programmes such as this one and developing science, technology and maths within the school. Because we need so many big ideas and bright people to help us navigate our way through the big problems we are all dealing with.”
The awards celebrate and recognise the participation of schools in hands-on, inquiry-based learning in the areas of STEM. This year, students focused on issues such as climate change, plastics, technology, and using STEM to solve everyday problems.
Congratulating the schools, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “It is great to again get the opportunity to celebrate and reward so many primary school students, and their teachers, for their excellent contributions to the SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths programme. We are committed to breaking down barriers and finding ways to make learning both accessible and engaging. I hope that dated, stereotypical views of the types of people who work in STEM will soon be a thing of the past; as we look forward to the next generation of STEM workers and enthusiasts, we need to ensure that the full diversity of our society is reflected. There already is evidence of increasing levels of diversity amongst our research community, but more can still be done. Engaging with primary school students and their families is a key component to achieving this.”
The awards offer three categories for applicants: The Certificate of STEM, is aimed at schools starting out on the STEM journey and involves a minimum of two classes. The Plaque of STEM, which is for schools further along their STEM journey, involves at least half of the classes in the school. The Badge of Excellence is for schools that have already achieved the Plaque and have continued to demonstrate excellence in raising awareness of STEM in their communities. This year, 15 schools received the Certificate, 332 schools achieved the Plaque, and 25 schools accomplished the Badge.
The virtual award ceremony was attended by teachers and students from over 200 schools and included a live science show marking the close of this year’s programme.
SFI, in conjunction with the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO), offers free continuous professional development (CPD) in STEM for primary school teachers. The programme explores the topics of biodiversity, insulation, and space through inquiry-based learning. The three workshops will provide teachers with a framework and planning tools to deliver hands-on STEM learning in the classroom. This CPD can be carried out virtually via Zoom.
Registration for the 2022/2023 Academic Year Awards and the DPSM/ESERO CPD will open in September 2022. For more information about the DPSM programme, the Awards and CPD, please visit www.primaryscience.ie or contact the team on email@example.com.
Total Awards: 372 awarded
Certificate of STEM: 15 awarded
Plaque of STEM: 332 awarded
Badge of STEM: 25 awarded
DEIS Schools: 80 awardees for 2022/2023
Gaelscoil: 16 awardees for 2022/2023