A new science toolkit will be delivered to 300 classrooms in primary schools around Ireland to teach kids about environmental science.
‘Spikey’s Journey: an Exploration Box’ is the culmination of a two year collaboration between NUI Galway Cell EXLORERS, ProActivate Ireland, and Toodlelou Creativity Lab.
This free, educational toolkit was launched at the 2018 Science Week at Scoil Iosef Naofa, Oranmore, and now its creators will take it nationwide.
Following the journey of Spikey the hedgehog, the toolkit uses storytelling, hands-on activities and games to learn about four key topics in environmental science.
The exploration box contains a ‘Kamishibai’, a storytelling theatre that teachers can use to take their class through the story of Spikey.
Each chapter of the story introduces students to a new learning topic, such as understanding the key characteristics of living things, the food web and how it functions, habitats and hibernation and the vital role we all play in protecting the living environment.
Through hands-on projects, activities and games, these topics are explored, discussed and examined to reinforce new learning.
Muriel Grenon, Director of the Cell EXPLORERS programme at NUI Galway, said they relished the chance to work with the best science outreach programmes in Europe and enthusiastic teachers from local national schools.
“There was a rich exchange of practical knowledge and experience and from this collaboration emerged a freely accessible online resource which can benefit the children in Ireland.”
The toolkit will be given to requesting teachers through the Galway Education Centre as well as education centres in Donegal, Dublin West, Wexford, Monaghan, Navan, Tralee and Clare from January.
On top of that teachers at schools in the United Kingdom, Austria and Poland have also been invited to use the toolkit as part of the Erasmus+ European project linking researchers and education practitioners across nations.
The content of the exploration box and its activities were reviewed and piloted in Galway by first and second class teachers Ronan Dunne from Galway Educate Together, Vivienne Kelly from Knocknacara Educate Together, Anna McGuire from Mercy Primary School, and Niamh Cormican from Scoil Iosef Naofa, Oranmore.
Director of Galway Education Centre Mark Finlay said “This is a fantastic resource for primary schools so that pupils can learn about environmental science in an interactive way.