Education news

Primary children invited to work out why fish don't get squashed at the bottom of the ocean

Pupils from Forge Integrated celebrating their investigations ESB Science Blast 2019

PRIMARY school children are to seek answers to scientific questions including `what music genre increases concentration the most?'.

Open to all Key Stage 2 classes, ESB Science Blast aims to encourage pupils to think critically about the world around them.

They work together as a class using scientific methods of discovery such as predicting, observing and measuring to investigate the puzzling, quirky or unknown.

Typical investigations include `why do fish not get squashed at the bottom of the ocean?' and `does colour of food affect our perception of its taste?'.

The non-competitive education programme will be held at ICC Belfast on June 3 and 4, 2020.

It is managed and delivered by the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) and endorsed by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.

Science Blast is a key project within the RDS Science and Technology Programme and more than 12,000 children participated last year in Belfast, Dublin and Limerick.

Independent evaluation of the RDS science education programme found that 97 per cent of participating pupils believed their involvement had improved their science skills.

Eight in 10 also reported improvements in maths.

The study also found it had significant impact on pupils' levels of confidence, communication and social skills and teamwork.

Evidence also showed that participation in the programme over several years had a lasting impact at pupil, teacher and school levels.

At Science Blast, all schools are asked to bring their research to life by showcasing their findings, away from the classroom, to their peers along with judges who work across science, education and `stem' industries.

RDS Chief Executive Michael Duffy said Science Blast offered an "amazing learning opportunity".

"Evidence shows that a positive experience with science and maths at an early age can have a really profound effect and we hope that some of the participants this year will go on to help shape Northern Ireland's future knowledge economy," he said.

"All those that get involved will gain new stem skills, but they will also benefit through improved oral and literacy skills. We have also found that hosting the event in June is really suitable for P7 classes, who have their exams behind them and can really enjoy the experience of investigating the world around them through science and maths."

Teachers can also use the ESB?Science Blast Investigation Framework?to help structure class investigations. This framework aligns with the objectives of the primary curriculum and supports delivery of `the world around us' requirements.

Pat O'Doherty, Chief Executive of ESB, said such events provided the perfect platform for today's generation of creators and innovators to showcase their ideas and solutions, while nurturing critical thinking and collaboration.

"We encourage all interested young people and groups to participate and look forward to seeing all their great projects at the Belfast event," he said.

:: This is a free event and every participating school will receive £75 towards travel costs. Register at

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