Sensors and sensibility for Junior cycle science

3 Dec 2007

Some 188 secondary schools around Ireland have signed up for a new approach to science learning and teaching that places the emphasis on pupils investigating science in the world around them through a new project, Discover Sensors.

This project began as a pilot running over 2006/2007 with two teachers from each of the initial 45 schools who took part attending training days at a regional education centre.

Many of these educators will now go on to train and support their fellow teachers from the remaining 143 schools.

When used in the classroom sensor technology will give both teachers and students accurate alternatives to the time-consuming method of manually logging and observing science experiments with stopwatches, pen and paper and thermometers, as most schools do currently.

Various electronic sensor-based measuring technologies can be used for many purposes from measuring heart rates in biology to gauging pH levels in chemistry.

Stephanie O’Neill, project manager, Discover Science and Engineering, said: “The Discover Sensors project aims to bring science to life by making it easier for students to understand experiments by using an investigative, explorative approach with their teachers and by using their own ideas to investigate science.

“The teachers involved in this project should be commended for taking on the challenge and signing up to a project that aims to bring exciting technology into their classrooms and supports teachers in introducing an investigative approach to their science students.

“Sensor technology provides teachers with a fast and exciting way of demonstrating science to students so that science concepts can be explained and investigated in more detail than may have traditionally been possible.”

Discover Sensors is being rolled out by Discover Science & Engineering and project partners: the National Centre for Technology in Education, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Junior Science Support Service as well as the Education Centre network.

By Marie Boran