Kids from Malahide and Portmarnock learn LEGO science
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.