Midnight 30 November is the deadline for entries for the ESB Science Blast, an informal education programme developed and delivered by the RDS, that will inspire entire classrooms with the wonders of STEM. Nourishing 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity at a young age – education skills highlighted by the World Economic Forum – this event will have showcase exhibitions in Dublin (March), Limerick (May) and Belfast (June). Delivered by the RDS in each venue, ESB Science Blast will make learning STEM skills fun for both students and teachers, and will feature amazing science shows, tailor-made for 7 – 12 year olds (3rd – 6th class).

Every participating school will receive €75/£75 towards their travel costs of getting to and from the showcase venues.

In this non-competitive education programme, entire classes of students, from 3rd – 6th or Key Stage 2 classes, will investigate a simple question about the world around them using scientific methods of discovery. They will then display their findings at a showcase event attended by hundreds of other classes. Typical investigations include: ‘How can we make the best slime?’, ‘Why does cake go hard but biscuits go soft?’, ‘Where do waves come from?’, and ‘Can I charge my mobile device with a fruit?’

To participate in the Dublin event, schools must submit their class question by?November 30. They will receive confirmation of?their class place at the Showcase event in March by December 14.

A second deadline of?February 27?is operating for the Limerick and?Belfast showcase events?only. Confirmation of?class places at these venues will be received by March 13.

Independent evaluation of the RDS science education programme was carried out in 2016 by ‘The Research Base’, an international research consultancy specialising in education and skills. They found that 97% of participating students believe their involvement had improved their science skills, while 80% reported improvements in maths skills. This report also found high level of engagement in children’s STEM education, with almost all parents engaged; while teachers and parents alike responded that they found involvement to be highly relevant to their needs. This study also found that it has significant impact on pupil’s levels of confidence, communication skills, social skills and teamwork. Evidence also showed that participation in the programme over a number of years had a lasting impact at student, teacher and school levels.

How to apply

Participation is child’s play.

Firstly, think of a simple question with your 3rd – 6th or Key Stage 2 class, something that they can investigate by predicting, measuring, counting or observing. Students then investigate their question, using core skills from the curriculum, before displaying their work and presenting their findings at a fun-filled event.

There is capacity in year one of ESB Science blast for up to 13,000 primary school students to take part, making it one of the largest events of its kind.

Teachers can use the ESB?Science Blast Investigation Framework?to help structure class investigations. This Framework aligns with the objectives of the primary curriculum and supports delivery of SESE (ROI) and WAU/TSPC (NI) requirements.

For the past nine years, the RDS organised and sponsored the RDS Primary Science Fair, a science education programme for primary school classes, 3rd – 6th and Key Stage 2, that ran alongside the BTYSTE and was annually over-subscribed. ESB Science Blast is a standalone event with the capacity to meet the demand for participation by primary schools all over the country.

To find out more about the event visit www.esbscienceblast.com

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