Thursday, November 19, 2009

Space science in Irish schools

I'm just back from the launch of the ESA / Discover Science & Engineering "European Space Education Resource Office" in Ireland by Minister Conor Lenihan. It was familiar territory for the minister seeing as he was once a student in the school himself - and he did confess to having done a few unorthodox "flame thrower" experiments with the bunsen burner gas in the labs as a student! It was a really interesting event and there was even a snazzy scale model of the Herschel Space Observatory on show.

The aim of the European Space Education Resource Office is to use student's interest in space as a way to encourage them to study science in school - and to pursue science careers too. Talking to the students in Belvedere College themselves afterwards, it was very interesting to hear that the science message was being heard and that they knew they needed to do at least one science subject to get into many third level university courses.

Science in Schools
It's been a busy couple of days when it comes science education in Ireland - with the Science in Schools event yesterday in Engineers Ireland being really interesting too. And the lively discussion afterwards showed that there's no lack of passion in the whole area of science education. A couple of the "take home" messages from the discussion that struck me were:

(a) we need to coordinate the science activities that are directed at schools so that students and teachers aren't overwhelmed every September


(b) we should focus energy on the basics of scientific literacy and content knowledge among both students and teachers

What do you think of these suggestions? Are you involved with science education? E-mail me at or comment on this post to let me know...

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