I recently signed up to bring third and fourth class in my school to the Science Blast Science Fair in the RDS. I have Junior ASD this year , and the Science Blast is only for third- sixth class so the third and fourth class teacher has kindly agreed to let me work with her class on this! I am really excited for it.
The Science Blast Fair is very straight forward. You and your class come up with a scientific question, and then set about gathering evidence to answer your question. It is work you would be doing with your class anyway, the only difference is that the children will present it at the science fair! You don't have to submit a learning log or journal or anything. It is very much child centred and not terribly onerous. The benefits of Science Blasts for me lies in the opportunities for so much cross-curricular integration. If you plan it in the right way, it could cover multiple subjects, e.g. bar charts in maths displaying your scientific findings, designing your Science Blast poster in art and so on. So all you need to do is to come up with a question with your class, 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 this fun-filled event.
The RDS has a long history of working in science and science education, going back well over 100 years. They have operated a primary school science programme for over 10 years and have run CPD workshops for primary school teachers on STEM teaching. The work that they do with Science Blast, is based upon best international pedagogical practice. The people who help deliver this on behalf of the RDS are a mix of science educators and teachers. Science Blast is operated entirely on a not-for-profit basis. I will be collaborating with Science Blast and the RDS over the next few months to share my journey with other teachers.
The venues for Science Blasts for 2020 are Dublin, Limerick and Belfast. You can register on the website: https://www.rds.ie/Ireland-s-Philanthropic-Society/Our-Work/esb-science-blast
I have a video on my Instagram page detailing what our scientific question will involve if you want to have a look! Check back in next week for more details on our journey!