Kids are endlessly curious creatures and pose questions that often can’t be answered – even in a search engine age. It is this type of inquisitiveness that led scientific thinkers to find answers, from Newton asking why the apple fell on his head to Darwin’s theory of evolution. It all started with the question ‘why’.
Anyone who’s spent any amount of time with children knows that the word ‘why’ is a key part of their vocabulary. Sadly though, this inquisitiveness can wear off over time – especially if children aren’t encouraged to keep asking questions and, perhaps more importantly, try to work out the answers for themselves.
Carrying out an ESB Science Blast investigation links to many subjects on the curriculum including maths, literacy, art and music
ESB Science Blast is a fun way to help children ask questions, undertake experiments, and present their results. It’s a non-competitive educational programme for primary schools that involves the whole class investigating the science behind a simple question such as ‘Does music effect plant growth?’
The class works on their project at school and then presents their findings at one of three showcase events in Dublin, Limerick or Belfast where they are paired with a STEM expert who will talk to them about their project and give them constructive feedback.
National school teacher, Seth Weir, of Our Lady of Lourdes National School, in Dublin 8 whose classes have partaken in ESB Science Blast several times, says it’s “excellent. It’s really well organised and gives the children a chance to develop skills they wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise.”
Weir believes it’s a good idea for the children to do a presentation of what they found out, talk about their experiment, and tell other people. He says the event is a great day out for the kids – and one where they can be left to roam around and be inquisitive without worrying they’ll get lost.
Why should kids get involved?
ESB Science Blast teaches children key life skills which are critical not just for those who will go on to STEM subjects at secondary and third level, but for everyone in society, says Bevin Cody, corporate reputation manager at ESB. “The pupils use a scientific literacy approach to investigate the science behind a simple question. As part of this process, they have to predict the results of their investigation, and then gather evidence to determine whether that is in fact the right answer.
“ESB Science Blast is a whole class programme, which means it is inclusive and engaging for everyone in the class. Rather than only focusing on children who have already shown an interest or aptitude in STEM subjects, ESB Science Blast creates a space for everyone to get involved. It also makes STEM relevant by connecting it to the issues and interests children are already curious about.
“This teaches them critical thinking skills. They also learn how to collaborate and communicate their results.”
Why should teachers sign up?
Carrying out an ESB Science Blast investigation is the perfect way to engage children in the exciting world of STEM, says Cody. “It also links to many subjects on the curriculum including maths, literacy, art and music. Teachers who have taken part in ESB Science Blast in the past also speak about the confidence they have developed in teaching STEM skills through participation in this programme.”
Weir says, “I would say ‘do it’! It’s a great day out. It’s well-organised, interesting for the kids, helps them develop their skills, and communications, it’s a bit of a blast really.”
ESB Science Blast is a catch all, adds Cody. “It’s a whole class programme so every child in the class has an opportunity to participate and get involved. There’s roughly a 50/50 gender split and a really strong focus on engaging with DEIS schools and Irish-speaking schools.”
Why ESB supports Science Blast
We see the value of encouraging children to engage with science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) as a way of building critical skills for the future, Cody says. “ESB Science Blast encourages children to question the world around them and develop important problem-solving and innovation skills.
“ESB Science Blast provides volunteering opportunities for ESB staff and creates opportunities for ESB to help build energy literacy in schools. Energy is so important to society – where it comes from and how it is generated determines how sustainable it is, how affordable it is, and how resilient it is – those are the things that need to be considered and balanced in the world we live in today.”
How to get involved?
ESB Science Blast gives primary school children from 3rd class to 6th class the chance to tickle their curiosity and try and find answers to the questions posed. Not all will elicit responses but that too is part of the learning curve.
ESB Science Blast takes place at the RDS from Tuesday, February 28th Feb to Thursday, March 2nd inclusive. If your school hasn’t participated before, why not get involved? The closing date for class question submissions is Friday, January 13th. To learn more about submitting questions and the supports available to help you get started visit esbscienceblast.com