Kids from Malahide and Port­marnock learn LEGO sci­ence

Fingal Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

TWO Dublin schools, Malahide & Port­marnock Ed­u­cate To­gether and the Cen­tral Model In­fants’ School on Marl­bor­ough Street in the city cen­tre, have been se­lected to take part in a global pi­lot of a new FIRST® LEGO® League ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tive, called Ju­nior Dis­cov­ery, de­vel­oped for chil­dren aged four to six years.

FIRST® LEGO® League Ju­nior Dis­cov­ery is a non-com­pet­i­tive, hands-on STEM pro­gramme ideally suited for ju­nior and se­nior in­fant chil­dren, work­ing in teams of four.

Only four coun­tries glob­ally were cho­sen to take part in the FIRST® LEGO® League pi­lot, and the two Dublin schools will each have up to seven teams of four se­nior in­fants chil­dren in­volved. Through the pi­lot pro­gramme, the schools have di­rect in­put to the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of Ju­nior Dis­cov­ery be­fore its global launch next year.

The pro­gramme is run in Ire­land by Ir­ish ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ists, Lear­nit, in part­ner­ship with Pro­fes­sor Deirdre But­ler from DCU’S In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion.

The LEGO FIRST® acro­nym, ‘For In­spi­ra­tion and Recog­ni­tion of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy’, out­lines the aim of the ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tive, which en­cour­ages chil­dren to think like sci­en­tists and en­gi­neers, de­vel­op­ing hand­son prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions to real world is­sues.

The Ju­nior Dis­cov­ery pro­gramme presents an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge that will ig­nite the cre­ativ­ity of young chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to Ross Maguire of Lear­nit.

‘Teams of four de­sign a model and make it move, learn­ing ba­sic engineering and early STEAM skills.

‘They doc­u­ment their work and cel­e­brate their achieve­ments, all the time op­er­at­ing un­der the FIRST® core val­ues of cel­e­brat­ing dis­cov­ery and team­work and hav­ing fun.’ Pro­gramme work takes place dur­ing class time and the school hosts a Dis­cov­ery Event to show­case the work to fam­ily, stu­dents and the wider com­mu­nity.

The two Ir­ish pi­lot schools have ed­u­ca­tional sup­port re­sources from Lear­nit and DCU and re­ceive LEGO® equip­ment and ma­te­ri­als val­ued at over €2,500, en­abling them to em­bed the pro­gramme within the school so that all chil­dren can en­gage with the STEM ideas, skills and prin­ci­ples.

The fi­nal Ju­nior Dis­cov­ery pro­gramme ses­sions took place re­cently at DCU LEGO Ed­u­ca­tion In­no­va­tion Stu­dio to show­case and cel­e­brate the ex­cit­ing work the two schools are do­ing on their projects un­der the ini­tia­tive.

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