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27 Jun

On Tuesday evening, our 6th class graduated from St. Peter’s after a very successful year (and particularly, a very successful afternoon where they became only the second class to beat the teachers in the annual soccer match!)

This class have been very special to all of us in the school and we wish them all the best for the future. Student of the Year was Nathan Douglas for his school spirit, hard-working nature and friendship to all. Sportsperson of the Year was Leon Reynolds, not just for his ability, but for his encouragement of others and leadership on and off the pitch/track. Jamie Ryan was also recognised for his stellar performance during the Teachers vs Students match and Maddy Farrell and Nathan Douglas were acknowledged for having perfect attendance all year.

Huge thanks to the staff of the school, who attended and helped out with the day and to the Parents’ Association, who organised the refreshments after the ceremony. Also, a huge thanks to Greg from Signal Arts, who created the outstanding mural representing the members of 6th class. It’s very special to us that Jodie is also included in the mural, and the setting of it this year was her garden, at the request of the class.

Congratulations and best of luck to the class of 2019!

Count On Me from St Peter’s, Bray on Vimeo.

 

 

 

22 May

This year, 5th and 6th classes have been taking part in the Junior Entrepreneur programme. Over the course of the last few months, both classes have set up mini-companies, invested in their companies, sold their products and shared out the profits at the end of the process. Check out our videos of the process below:

On Monday, 5th and 6th classes travelled to the RDS to the showcase. We had an amazing day out and really enjoyed seeing other schools and their products.

3 May

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Welcome to our submission for the Discover Primary Science and Maths award for 2019. This is our 14th year taking part in the Awards! Once again this year we are applying for the Plaque of STEM Excellence. This award is given to schools that carry out extensive work in science, technology, engineering and maths, all of which are very important in St. Peter’s.

This is the 5th year that we have had Junior and Senior Infants taking part in the award! It is great to see the young scientists have so much fun learning about Science and Maths. This year, we have had an even bigger focus on STEM across the school, with a whole school approach helping us achieve even more in this area. You can read all about it and see the evidence below. It has been great to see the improvements we can make towards helping our school incorporating STEM as a way of thinking, rather than as a stand alone subject.

All of the pupils are seeing and understanding that STEM is about the skills required to learn science, technology and mathematics, and how engineering and design processses and principles are used to achieve an outcome. As students of STEM, we need to identify a problem. We then create possible solutions to the problems, which we then go and test.

Yet again, a huge amount of work has gone into this application. Every single class in the whole school has taken part in this application, so a big well done to all the pupils and teachers! For the seventh year in a row, we are using our blog to submit our award and to link back to our activities that have taken part during the year. Our SFI Award application code this year is 2019/DSM/213.

Step 1: Science

For this step, we carried out six hands-on Science investigations under the four different strands in classes throughout the school. We also tried to include Maths in these investigations where possible, linking in with Step 4.

  • Energy and Forces: 1st Class had fun learning all about static hot air balloons.  Read all about their experiment here.
  • Living Things: 3rd Class investigated if their brain and their reaction times were affected by eating chocolate! You can read about the fun they had testing this out here.
  • Environmental Awareness and Care: 5th Class wanted to find out about how effective the sun is as a renewable source of energy. They continued the chocolate theme, and designed and made their own solar ovens to melt some chocolate. You can read all about this here.
  • Materials and Change: Junior Infants and Senior Infants investigated how they could protect Humpty Dumpty when he falls. You can find out how they got on here. 2nd Class were  experimenting with different materials to make earmuffs for them so that they could work in peace and quiet! You can read about this here. 4th Class also looked at materials and change, focusing on melting some chocolate, which all can be seen here.

Mr. Foley’s class went on a visit to Sealife here in Bray, which is a SFI Discover Centre. You can read all about the great time they had here.

6th Class took part in Science Blast 2019, and had great fun at the Science event held in the RDS in March.  You can read all about this and see some pictures from the day here.

Step 2: Technology

In the second step, we had to ensure that technology was used by our pupils. As a previous winner of the Junior Spider Awards, technology has become a part of every-day life in St. Peter’s. We were also awarded the Digital School of Distinction award, which showcased the effort and time we put in incorporating technology into our daily school lives.

Ms. Wemyss and her class have been using Bee-bots a lot this year. They have loved getting to play with them and programming them so that the bee-bot goes where they want on the mats. They even designed their own routes and tracks for the bee-bots to travel around. They have had loads of fun with them, and you can read about this all here.

Ms. Kane and her class used different materials for their designs and used tinfoil as a conductor of the solar energy to melt their chocolate. You can read about their STEM investigation here.

On top of all this, throughout all the other classes in the school pupils of every age have also used cameras, laptops, animoto, and this blog, as well as apps such as vine and twitter, to showcase the work that they have been doing during the course of the year. As you can see from our submission this year, we have continued to implement technology in our day-to-day teaching and learning, with Maths and Science at the forefront of this. You can check out all of our tweets from the year @stpetersbray!

Step 3: Engineering

For the third step of our application for the DPSM Plaque of STEM Excellence, we have had a big focus on the Design and Make element of Science. Our staff have worked previously in conjunction with St. Patrick’s College regarding professional development in STEM. A big part of this focused on the Design and Make process, and helped us make sure STEM was an integral part of our engineering activities. An example of how we look to incorporate STEM into our lessons can be seen here, where 2nd Class made their own noise cancelling headphones!

We also took part in Engineers Week 2019. Here you can read about 5th Class and 2nd Class working collaboratively, when they worked together in small groups to try to build a structure that was strong and tall.

Step 4: Maths

Throughout our Science investigations, all classes looked to incorporate Maths as much as possible. For example, 3rd Class had to calculate the reaction times of each person, and then find out the difference between the two times in their experiment and graph their results. You can read about this experiment here.

Another example of Maths being used in our experiments can be see here where 4th Class used mathematical skills in their experiment. They used a digital thermometer and a probe thermometer to measure and monitor the temperature as the chocolate began to melt. They also used stopwatches to accurately measure the time it took the different chocolates to melt.

Step 5: STEM Showcase

6th Class took part in Science Blast 2019 this year on March 6th. This was our first year taking part in this Science Fair, having previously taken part in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in the RDS each year.

This year they investigated the science of the playground. As always, they put a lot of effort into their submission, and presented it brilliantly on the day. You can read about their work here.

We hoped you enjoyed reading our submission for the SFI Discover  Primary Science and Maths Award!

3 May

This week in Science, we decided to find out whether or not our brains are affected when we eat chocolate.

Firstly, we watched a video about the brain and illusions and how sometimes we can trick our brain with illusions. We then tried to create our own illusions by tricking our brain into thinking we had a hole in our hand. This was done by rolling a lined sheet of paper and holding it up to our eye and looking through it, while moving our hand towards and away from our eye –  it did look like we had a hole in our hands!! 🙂

Next, we looked at a slide where there was different words saying different colours. We had to try say each word, being careful not to say the colour it was printed in. Then we tried the opposite – saying the colour the word was printed in, but not the actual word – sounds tricky huh? it was.

This was because the brain was making a lot of decisions. Rather than doing what you were used to doing, we had to think really hard to ignore the word and say the colour instead.

Finally, we tested our brain’s reaction time. This experiment lets you measure how fast your brain can see something happening and then react to it.

Step 1: Find a partner, a table and a ruler

Step 2: Next, have your partner hold the ruler in between your fingers (make sure your not touching the ruler though!!). Your partner should hold it at at the top and the 0 cm marking should be in between your two fingers and thumb.

Step 3: Drop the ruler without any warning and have your partner catch it. Check to see at which cm mark your partner caught it. If it is a low number like 8, this means your reaction time was really quick. But a higher number like 19 means you have a slower reaction time.

Step 4: Record your time on your sheet and switch places with your partner so they can test it.

Once we figured out what our normal brain reaction time was like, we now were going to test it against chocolate – the fun part!!

Step 5: Eat some delicious chocolate!! Wait 5 minutes for it to digest.

Step 6: Then repeat the whole process again.

When we compared our reaction time before the chocolate to our reaction time after the chocolate we found that over all, our reaction times had changed, except for 1 person whose reaction time had stayed the same.

Our findings were: 11 pupils said their reaction time was quicker after eating chocolate, 8 said theirs was slower after eating chocolate and 1 person’s time remained the same.

As a class, we discussed that many of us felt that we became hyper after eating chocolate therefore this could be why our brain’s reaction was quicker after eating chocolate. Some said they felt more relaxed after eating chocolate, as it was a comforting food so this could be why their brain slowed down after eating it. One person, whose reaction time remained the same, said it could be because they are used to eating chocolate so maybe it mightn’t have had an effect on their brain.

We really enjoyed carrying out this experiment especially as it involved us being scientists through researching, using technology, engineers through creating, testing and trialling and mathematicians with all our work calculating the reaction times, finding out the difference between the two times and graphing our results.

2 May

                                     Second Class and Materials 

 Image result for materials

Second class have been really busy learning all about materials. We have been examining how different materials are used in our environment 

There is building work happening outside our classroom at the moment and it is a bit noisy. We decided we would experiment with different materials to make earmuffs for ourselves so that we can work in peace!  

Choosing Materials 

Everybody in the class decided they would bring different things from their house to test for our earmuffs. We collected: 

Paper towels, cotton wool, paper cups, tinfoil and wool pompoms. 

We knew we wanted earmuffs that were comfortable, hands-free and would block out lots of sound… 

Fair Test 

How could we test the earmuffs fairly? J suggested it would be a good idea to choose one ‘test sound’. We decided on a video of a drummer because sometimes the building work sounds a bit like this!

N said that we should choose three people to test all of the earmuffs. We agreed this was a great idea- it was time to design and make!  

Method 

We split into groups of three and quickly started testing different materials for their ability to block sound, and for their comfort on our ears. 

After lots of testing, we discovered the following things:  

  • Paper cups are comfortable on our ears but they don’t block out the sound very well. 
  • Tinfoil looks cool, but it doesn’t block out sound well either! Tin foil is useful for making the headset. It holds its shape really well. 
  • Tissue is tricky to use, but it’s a good insulator of sound- especially when we tear it into little pieces. 
  • Pompoms look great, but they don’t block out the sound very well. 
  • Layering materials is a good insulator of sound. 

Conclusion 

All the groups worked really hard  and designed amazing earmuffs in lots of different ways.  

Our three testers tried out all of the earmuffs and picked which one they thought was the best at blocking the sound.

They voted unanimously for O’s pair. We were all impressed because O tore up lots of little pieces of tissue and used them to make ear muffs.  This blocked out almost all of the sound.

Tomorrow we are going to make a pair for all of us! 

Check out some pictures from our Design and Make session below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 May

Humpty Dumpty STEM Experiment

 

Here in Junior and Senior Infants, we had great fun reciting the Humpty Dumpty rhyme.

This got us thinking about how we could help protect Humpty Dumpty from cracking in the future. We decorated our individual Humpty Dumpty’s by using whiteboard markers to draw faces on our hard boiled eggs.

 

 

We then placed each Humpty Dumpty into a ziplock bag filled with different materials to cushion Humpty’s fall to see which material would best protect him. Before beginning the experiment, we discussed the different materials we would use to try to protect Humpty Dumpty from his fall. We decided to test marbles, cotton balls, feathers, shredded paper, bubble wrap and flour.

 

On our prediction sheet, we coloured either the whole egg or the cracked egg to show our predictions for each material. After each egg drop, we again coloured the cracked egg or the whole egg to show our results. Have a look at our recording sheet.

 

We had great fun predicting the outcome and recording the results for this experiment. We learnt so much!

 

 

These are the steps we followed for our experiment with Humpty Dumpty:

 

Material to be tested:

Marbles

Cotton balls

Feathers

Shredded Paper

Bubble wrap

Flour

 

Method

  1. We used a permanent marker to draw a Humpty Dumpty face on each of the hard boiled eggs.
  2. We then filled each plastic ziplock bag with a different material – marbles, cotton balls, feathers, shredded paper, bubble wrap and flour.
  3. Next, we coloured in the prediction column on our sheets to show whether we thought Humpty Dumpty was going to survive the fall or not.
  4. We dropped each of the bags from 2 feet. We made sure to drop each bag from the same height so the test would be fair. We sang the Humpty Dumpty rhyme as we dropped the bags each time.
  5. We repeated the same procedure with all bags.
  6. When all the Humpty Dumpty’s had fallen off the wall, we took a close look at what had happened to them.
  7. We then coloured in either the whole egg or the cracked egg to show our results.

 

 

 

 

1 May

First Class have been having great fun programming Bee-Bots over the past few days.

Bee-Bots are floor robots that we can code to move around.

We have been using them to practice our tables and number work in maths. These number lines have also been useful when practicing counting in Irish.

       

We have also been building mazes for Bee-Bot. We love challenging each other when building mazes. We think they are a-MAZE-ing 🙂

       

We have been practicing using a Bee-Bot mat. We use challenge cards which show us pictures of where we want Bee-Bot to start and where we want Bee-Bot to end.

        

We have been using our carpet in our room to pretend we are Bee-Bots. We practice coding by calling out instructions for each other to follow.

        

We have also been practicing our coding skills using the Bee-Bot app on the tablets.

We love Bee-Bots and can’t wait to work with them more throughout the year.

1 May

First Class have been learning all about hot air balloons in SESE.

Firstly we all shared what we know about hot air balloons already and looked at pictures of different hot air balloons. We then watched videos of hot air balloons in action and were all amazed at how they moved through the sky. We began asking lots of questions about hot air balloons such as ‘Why are they called hot air balloons?’ and ‘How do hot air balloons float in the sky?’. From watching the videos we were very interested in the use of fire to heat the air in the envelope of the hot air balloon. We decided to investigate ‘What happens to air once it is heated?’

We discussed the importance of fair testing before beginning our investigation and decided it was something we were going to work really hard to achieve throughout our experiment. We used the same sized bottles, the same sized balloons and the same sized plastic containers. We also measured the water before beginning to ensure we used the same amount of hot water as cold water.

To investigate this we decided to heat air in plastic bottles. We stuck a balloon at the top of each bottle. To heat the air inside the bottles we used water. We placed one bottle in hot water for one minute and one bottle in cold water for one minute. We observed any changes in the balloon at the top of the bottle.

Before beginning we made predictions about what would happen to the air inside the cold bottle and what would happen to the air inside the hot bottle.

         

 

We were surprised at how quickly the balloon changed in the hot water!

   

 

    

    

 

We observed that the balloon on top of the bottle placed in the hot water began to expand and stand up while the balloon on top of the bottle placed in the cold water didn’t move at all.

We concluded that when air is heated it expands and rises. We now understand why fire is used to heat the air in hot air balloons and how hot air balloons got their name!

 

1 May

Mr. Foley’s class went to visit Sealife as part of our Discover Primary Science project. Sealife is a SFI Discover Centre in Ireland. It was the first time some of the pupils had made the short trip to Sealife and everybody had great fun there while learning about what lives in the sea both in Ireland and abroad.

While we there we learned all about the different types of fish in Irish sea water, as well as tropical fish that can be only found in Ireland in the centre in Bray. These tropical fish need warm water to survive and our seas are too cold for them. Luckily, some of the tanks in Sealife are nice and warm so the fish can live there safely.

(more…)

1 May

5th class have been learning all about how energy can be transferred from one object or medium to another. We were particularly interested in radiation – energy that is transferred from the sun in waves. After taking part in a Department of the Environment course, we wanted to find out more about how effective the sun is as a renewable source of energy. As the world we live in continues to grow and change, we think it’s important to use natural resources as a source of energy. Caring for the environment is hugely important and very topical at the moment, given the worldwide school strikes for climate change that are happening. Creating and using renewable sources of energy will help to significantly reduce air pollution for us and future generations.

We carried out an information gathering session to determine what we already knew about radiation. The most common answers were that it has something to with heat and can be dangerous if we are exposed to too much of it. We learned that radiation is the transfer of energy through waves, including rays from the sun. Then we needed to consider how radiation could be used as a renewable source of energy.

We discussed how some buildings are now equipped with solar panels in order to use renewable energy from the sun as a heat source. Could we also use solar energy to heat and cook food perhaps? We decided to carry out an investigation to see if solar ovens are effective in melting chocolate. If they can melt chocolate,  they can cook food too! We needed to design and make our very own ovens to see if this was the case. We thought about what materials we might need, and suggestions included a box, foil to reflect the suns rays, scissors, and chocolate to see if the oven worked!

We considered why cellophane might be useful and agreed that black paper might help in attracting the suns rays too.

How would the oven work if we managed to make it? Well, quite simply, heat from the sun would get trapped inside the oven (box) and it would start to get very hot. Tin foil would reflect sun rays into the box (oven) and rays would then pass through the cellophane and heat up the air that is trapped inside. Placing a piece of black paper at the bottom of the oven would also help to absorb heat.

We recorded all of our predictions on a record sheet and considered which size oven would be most effective at melting the chocolate fastest. Some people predicted the large oven because it could trap more heat and others predicted the small oven because perhaps it wouldn’t take as long to heat up. We even had some predictions for the medium oven for those still undecided!

We knew that we needed to ensure that we were carrying out a ‘fair test’. We did this by creating the exact same solar ovens, using the same resources, milk chocolate and angles at which we placed the oven lids so that they could absorb the suns rays outside (90 degrees). The only thing we changed was the size of the ovens – we used different sized pizza boxes (small, medium and large) and worked in 3 different groups to carry out the investigation.

Check out some photos below of the resources we used and the design and make element of our investigation:

We placed the ovens outside and waited for the radiation from the sun to get to work! Unfortunately the first day we tried to melt the chocolate in the solar ovens the sun disappeared so we waited for a warmer day, with lots more sunshine.

Finally a sunny day! We placed our ovens outside and made sure to check on the chocolate regularly to see if it was melting. We timed how long the boxes sat outside in the sun light and also recorded the temperature outside. The temperature was 14 degrees Celsius and we left the ovens outside in the sun for 3 hours and 50 minutes before any melting occurred.

We then recorded our results and findings. We found that the chocolate contained in the large solar oven melted the most and the fastest. We concluded that this was the case because it contained more tin foil to reflect the sun’s rays into the oven and also contained more black paper – which absorbed the heat better too. We found that the medium sized oven failed to melt any chocolate and that the small oven melted the chocolate a little bit. Perhaps the fact that the small oven didn’t take as long to heat contributed to this. We’re unsure about the medium sized oven and would like to try again to see if we get the same result.

Monitoring temperature in the sun!

The chocolate in the large solar oven melted!

We think that solar ovens, powered by radiation, definitely have the potential to be used for cooking all over the world and the good news is, they are very simple in their design. We think that they could be especially useful in countries that have hot climates, for instance those near the equator, as the suns rays are very strong in these places and would cook food much faster than in climates such as ours.

Curriculum links: Energy and forces; Heat, Materials; Materials and change and Environmental awareness and care; Science and the environment.