12 Irish primary schools to embrace European-wide science, maths project

15 Jun 2010

The European-wide Fibonacci Project was launched in Ireland today by Discover Science and Engineering and St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

The project is an inquiry-based science and mathematics education programme that aims to help develop an integrated strategy for scientific literacy and awareness for primary schools across Europe.

Co-ordinated by Dr Clíona Murphy and Dr Janet Varley from the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Teaching and Learning (CASTeL) at St Patrick’s College, the project will initially involve 12 primary schools and 24 teachers as part of a pilot scheme. It will gradually expand to other schools across the country. The Fibonacci Project as a whole will involve 24 countries in Europe developing their own projects for promoting inquiry-based science and maths education in local schools, while also sharing expertise with groups in other countries.

“This is a wonderful initiative to be involved with as it will help to promote hands-on learning in primary science across the country. By developing primary teachers’ expertise in investigative approaches to science, we will be investing in school science for the long-term,” explained Murphy.

“It is vital to capture children’s enthusiasm for science early on as research has shown that many young people have made their decisions about careers in science before the age of 13. If we want to see more innovations in science and technology emerging from Ireland in the next generation, this is the kind of project that could pave the way.”

Greenwave programmed to be rolled out across Europe

As part of the project, Discover Science and Engineering’s Greenwave programme, a nationwide investigation which involves primary children tracking the progress of spring across the country, has been adopted as an example of best practice and will be rolled out across Europe in schools participating in the Fibonacci project.

”We are delighted to be involved with this project and it is particularly pleasing that our Greenwave programme has been highlighted as an example of best practice in science teaching and learning,” said Peter Brabazon, programme director, Discover Science and Engineering.

“It is inspiring to think that an Irish educational initiative will be helping to instill a sense of wonder and interest in science for young people in Ireland, and also across Europe. A key element of this project is community and industry involvement in supporting teachers in the classroom. This is a vital link in highlighting science-related career opportunities available to young people and the practical application of science in our knowledge economy.”

By Deirdre Nolan