Date: 24th March 2022
Judge: Gráine Mc Gowan
Project Title: Which pair of shoes has the best grip – a tennis shoe, a basketball shoe or a hiking boot?
School Name: St. Mary’s Woodside N.S., Sandyford, Dublin 18.
ESB Science Blast is a non-competitive initiative which aims to support the development of core science and maths skills in primary school children as set out in the primary school curriculum. The purpose of the judging experience is to ensure that the students have the opportunity to discuss their work and receive feedback from someone who works in a STEM related field. We hope that you and your students find the experience positive and encouraging. All participating schools are presented with a school trophy to acknowledge the work that has gone into their investigation.
Judges were interested in finding out about the class project, in particular the following elements which are detailed in the Class Project Planning Framework:
1. Did the class have a clear question?
2. Did they predict/estimate what might happen or what they might find?
3. Did they demonstrate the use of scientific skills to gather their evidence?
4. Did they organise their evidence clearly?
5. Did they draw a conclusion and relate their findings to a real-life situation?
The 34 children involved in this project were scientists in the truest sense. They came up with an idea, predicted what they expected to find, used scientific skills to gather their evidence and then presented their findings in a clear concise manner to the judge. The experiments were all carried out using fair testing procedures and it was clear that consideration had been given to ensure fairness – for example getting five students to time the experiment and taking the average result, using the same student to carry out the physical part of the test so that the experimental controls were the same. They even thought to give the student a break between tests so that he would have equal energy levels for each test. They literally thought of everything!
I was particularly impressed by the layout of their findings using bar charts and pie charts and how the students were able to demonstrate their findings so clearly and eloquently. The confidence shown by the presenting students must be commended. The class teacher reported that many of the students had used their free time over the long weekend to write up their reports – showing true dedication and interest in their subject.
It was clear from the project that the students had used skills which would not be expected at 5th class level – for example measuring speed over distance is a mathematical skill taught in secondary school.
It also was obvious that all of the students were involved which was admirable in itself in that there are 34 students in the class. There was clear evidence of scientific investigation- using prediction, hypothesis, measuring and analysis of a considerable amount of data and an excellent presentation of the findings. This class, and their project, deserve huge congratulations for their efforts. Well done to all involved.