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Holy Trinity PS - Science and Technology Experts in Primary Schools (STEPS)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Holy Trinity Primary School was one of fifteen primary schools across Northern Ireland chosen to participate in an exciting new programme called STEPS (Science and Technology Experts in Primary Schools).

This programme was designed to raise the interest of primary pupils in the applications of science and technology in the outside world. STEPS helped to develop children's skills in relation to employment and economic awareness within the Northern Ireland Curriculum. This was done by introducing pupils to 'experts' working in science, technology or engineering in the world around them. The programme is managed by Martin Brown and Colin Press, and supported by the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust. Martin and Colin are two former, post primary school teachers who have worked for several years, organizing projects around science based themes; encouraging children form both the primary and secondary sectors to engage in the areas of science, technology and maths. Some of their projects include Science Expressions and Medics in Primary School.

Each of the schools was linked with an expert working in science or technology in an industrial or academic setting. In Holy Trinity Primary School the expert working with the children was Miss Clare Gilleece, an engineer employed by Scott Wilson, Engineering Consultancy and Design, in Belfast.

The Primary Seven children travelled to The Wastewater Heritage Centre at Duncrue Industrial estate, on the outskirts of Belfast. They explored the Heritage Centre Museum and the water treatment and cleaning works, where they learned how our water is made safe for us to use. Miss Gilleece explained how science and technology are used in her work and assisted the children to develop a very successful extended project associated with her area of expertise.

The children decided to look at Change and Separation in materials. Their Science project centred on the theme of water and involved researching and investigating the scientific terminology of the water cycle and how it affects the weather. They looked at dissolving solids in water and how the water cycle links in to the separation of soluble and insoluble substances. Under the guidance of their class teacher, Mr Hackett, they researched and learned about the history and future of how waste-water is cleaned and recycled in Belfast.

As part of the project they worked with some older students in the chemistry laboratories in St Mary's Grammar School in Belfast under the careful supervision of their Head of Science. The children worked closely with Miss Gilleece learning how to set up their own experiment for cleaning waste-water. The children have recognized the importance for our environment of reusing water and have used this knowledge as the basis for designing and making a rainwater harvester.

The children found the whole process to be exciting and became very knowledgeable on the subject of water treatment processes. This was evident when they designed and confidently delivered a riveting Powerpoint presentation and question and answer session on their subject to a wide audience in St Mary's University College.

They were invited to present their impressive project to other schools, local scientists, technologists and engineers at a Celebration Event hosted by Basil McCrea MLA at Stormont in March.

For information on the Holy Trinity project, please contact MrMichael Hackett, Telephone 90616465
For information on the STEPS programme, please contact
Martin Brown, Telephone: 9147 1249
Colin Press, Telephone: 9084 9389