More than 2,000 primary school students attended one of the biggest events on the academic calendar.
Thousands of primary school students descended on Belfast’s Waterfront Hall over two days to exhibit at the RDS Primary Science Fair, arguably the region’s largest STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) school exhibition since coming to Northern Ireland in 2017.
Through investigations undertaken by entire classes of primary school children, such as “Kids versus adults: Who has the quickest reflexes?” the event seeks to equip students with fundamental science skills in an exciting, creative and hands-on way. Research shows that science and maths skills really benefit from involvement and it is anticipated it also will help encourage the uptake of STEM subjects throughout students’ education pathways and beyond.
Sinead McGleenon, a teacher in St Malachy’s Primary School, Armagh spoke of her experiences of the Fair: “Our school loves coming to the RDS Primary Science Fair and really looks forward to it each year. I have found that participating in the Fair helps develop confidence in teaching science in an unthreatening and positive environment. Through participation students become active agents in their own learning. Our school has participated over a number of years and it has had a really beneficial effect on science teaching culture in the classroom.”
Michael Duffy, Chief Executive of the Royal Dublin Society addressed a breakfast of STEM academics and business leaders: “One of the aims of the RDS Primary Science Fair is to improve science and maths of primary school students and we know from research that the Fair does this. We also aim to give primary school teachers greater confidence in the teaching of science and maths in creative and exciting ways. But it isn’t just about STEM skills. Questioning, resilience, teamwork and creative-thinking are all nourished through participation; and they are all life skills that will be required by the next generation for the rest of their lives.”
The RDS Primary Science Fair is already well-established in Dublin and Limerick and between the three venues will host a total of over 7,000 primary school students and their STEM projects in 2018. With an underlying ethos of encouragement through whole-class participation, all of the schools chosen to exhibit will be presented with trophies and individual certificates for students in recognition of their hard work. Constructive feedback from judges who work across science, education and STEM industries will also give students the opportunity to engage with STEM professionals.
For more information visit the RDS Primary Science Fair website: www.primarysciencefair.com