Winning School Profiles.
Highpark National School, Dromard Co. Sligo
Martin Mulligan from Highpark National School, Sligo, discusses their experience from being involved in the SFI Discover Science and Maths Awards. He says that ‘In the school we feel that the DPSM programme is an excellent initiative and provides a goal and a focus for the children throughout the year. We start collating our work/science experiments in September, planning speakers, school trips etc. which culminates in a Science presentation just before the deadline for submission of the project. Science education in our school is now no longer textbook based but rather gained from a multiplicity of sources. Children, also through the class speakers and visits have gained invaluable experience and see the relevance of science and technology in everyday life. Furthermore the Awards programme integrates excellently with the use of I.T. as the children take photographs, summate their experiments, scan their drawings, create a logbook using word and present their work using PowerPoint, to the wider school community.’
From trying a range of experiments over the past few years, Martin Mulligan states how the ‘children enjoyed the balancing clown activity and had great fun trying to place their coins in the correct position. They also enjoyed designing different types of bridges and calculating the weight of the load needed to collapse the different bridge types. We also enjoyed the electrical activities over the years, creating different types of circuits, adding propeller motors, buzzers and different types of switches. We also enjoyed making the electrical quiz game.’
‘Initially it was just the senior classes that were involved but when all the school saw how enjoyable Science really is at our Science presentation at the end of the year when the children were showcasing their work, all classes were interested and anxious to get involved. As such all classes in the school are now participating and all present a resumé of their work at the end of the year to the school wide community.’
As part of the programme, Highpark National School have had a variety of guest speakers talk to the classes ranging from Biologists to Engineers. They have also visited the SSE Airtricity Windmill farm Kingsmountain Co. Sligo, Dunmoran Strand for an investigation of the flora and fauna and Portavade Shoreline / Streamstown Ballisodare to examine the birdlife. Every year since their initial participation, they have showcased their work to the entire school wide community. This involves the children presenting and demonstrating different experiments that they have done throughout the year. They also show a Powerpoint presentation of their work and include photographs of any trips etc. Some of the pupils have attended Sligo IT Science fair and other Science presentations held there and found them both interesting and informative. From participating in the awards, Martin Mulligan claims that ‘it has enhanced the children’s I.T. skill, made Science more relevant and interesting, improved the children’s presentation skills and fostered a positive disposition towards the subject within the children.’
Top tips for success in the SFI Discover Science and Maths Awards:
- Start your project early which will reduce pressure as the deadline looms!
- Try and incorporate examples of science in action from the local area as this will make it more interesting and relevant for the children.
- Check if some of your parents or other individuals from the local community have scientific expertise and may be only too willing to help.
Check out Highpark National Schools dedicated Science Page on their school webpage here.