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29 Apr

What a brilliant week! Just like last year, 6th Class did some really cool activities for Tech Week 2016. Have a look at a summary from our ‘tweet machine’!

We worked on Animoto again!

We welcomed Sustainable Energy Ireland to our classroom to teach us a thing or two!

We had a Twitter chat with some student teachers!

We drew and invented our own augmented reality pictures!

We loved the Tech Week 2016 books!

We invented apps!

We got better and better at coding as the week went on!

ps. Today was also DEAR day. Did you take part?

26 Apr

A huge well done and a thank you to all of our students and teachers who contributed to making our 2016 Confirmation such a beautiful and memorable day for all. Everyone did so well and all of the hard work paid off. As always, our choir were wonderful and did us all proud. 6th Class had practiced so hard and prepared wonderful artwork in the run-up to the day. We are so grateful to Sr. Patricia, Fr. Larry, Fr. Eddie and the entire parish team for their continued support of our students. We remember Fr. James too, and send him our very best.

We hope you like our slideshow that we created! Thanks to Paddy for taking the pictures!

25 Apr

Welcome to our submission for the Discover Primary Science and Maths award for 2016. This is our 11th 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 2nd 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.

Yet again, a huge amount of work has gone into this. Every class in the whole school has taken part in this application, well done to all the pupils and teachers! For the fourth 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 number this year is WW008.

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: 3rd Class learned all about magnets and how they work. They even used to make cars that could move! Read all about there experiment here.
  • Living Things: As part of Science Week 2015, 3rd Class also looked at the best conditions for plants to grow, which you can read about here.
  • Environmental Awareness and Care: 4th class investigated water pollution and how oil and water react when mix together. You can read about their experiment here.
  • Materials: 5th Class investigated which material would do the best job at soaking up a spillage, which even included brainstorming what exactly “best” could mean! Read all about it here.
  • Energy and Forces: Junior Infants investigated magnets here when they went fishing!
  • Materials: 2nd Class looked at what materials would be useful for making parachutes. You can read all about that here.

Mr. Foley’s class had a trip to the zoo, and learned about animals and their habitats. For a lot of the class, it was their first trip to the zoo and the tigers alone made it one they will never forget! You can read about their trip here.

6th Class also took part in the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which you can read all about here and 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.

For example, 6th Class’ entry for the BT Young Scientist Award was based on programming a robot, which really impressed the judges on the day. You can read all about their comments here and you can read more about their project here.

Mr. Kinsella and Ms. Byrne ran an after school club which culminated in our school taking part in the FIRST Lego League in Galway. It was a superb experience for the boys and girls which you can read about here.

The school also took part in Internet Safety Week, which you can read about here.

One pupil in particular has really seen the possibilities that technology offers, and has regularly contributed his very own animated lego videos to our school blog. Check out Tommy’s latest video here.

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.

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 been working in conjunction with St. Patrick’s College regarding professional development in STEM. A big part of this has focused on the Design and Make process.

We include two examples of our Design and Make lessons as part of our application. Senior Infants designed and made coats for the Gruffalo, which you can read about here.

1st Class also had great fun taking part in designing and making boats, which you can read all about here.

Step 4: Maths

Throughout our Science investigations, we incorporated Maths where possible, For example, Junior Infants learned about data and used charts to record their results here, and 3rd Class used mathematical skills to measure the length and distance they were able to move the cars with magnets, which you can read about here.

Step 5: STEM Showcase

6th Class took part yet again in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in the RDS in January this year. This year they worked on programming a robot for their entry. 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, and what the judges thought here.

We hoped you enjoyed reading our submission!

25 Apr

Junior infants learned that pushing and pulling were a force. We then learned that there  was another invisible force called “magnetic force.”

We learned that magnets attract some materials. We learned that these materials are made of metal. We also learned that magnets have two poles, the north pole is red and the south pole is blue.

We had some investigations to do:

We would  find out that poles that were the same repelled each other and poles that were different attracted each other.

We would also find out which materials were attracted to magnets!

Poles that are the same or "like" repel.

Poles that are the same or “like” repel.

These boys are having fun!

These boys are having fun!

Different poles attract!

Different poles attract!

The red pole is called the north pole and the blue pole is called the south pole.

The red pole is called the north pole and the blue pole is called the south pole.

work in book

The work in our books asked us to check which objects and materials are attracted to a magnet and which are not.

The scissors does stick to a magnet!

The scissors does stick to a magnet!

Heidi pointed out that part of the scissors is metal and sticks to a magnet, the handles  are plastic and do not stick to a magnet.

Everybody had lots to contribute!

Everybody had lots to contribute!

Paperclips are attracted to a magnet!

Paperclips are attracted to a magnet!

Thumb tacs are attracted to a magnet! They are made of metal!

Thumb tacs are attracted to a magnet! They are made of metal!

Copper coins are attracted to a magnet!

Copper coins are attracted to a magnet!

Paper is not attracted to a magnet. It is not made of metal.

Paper is not attracted to a magnet. It is not made of metal.

This wooden press is not attracted to a magnet. Therefore it is NOT made of metal!

This wooden press is not attracted to a magnet. Therefore it is NOT made of metal!

Plastic drinking bottles are not attracted to a magnet. They are not made of metal!

Plastic drinking bottles are not attracted to a magnet. They are not made of metal!

Next it was time to record in our books what we have found out.

We coloured in the objects that are attracted to a magnet.

We coloured in the objects that are attracted to a magnet.

magnet work Taylor

magnet group work

Well done guys!

Next, we got to go fishing with magnets! We made fish out of paper plates. We stuck various materials on the mouths of the fish, some of them were magnetic, some of them were not magnetic. Then, we tied pieces of string to magnets and used them as a fishing line!

If we caught a fish, it meant that the material in it’s mouth stuck to a magnet!


There was a piece of wood in the mouth of this fish. We couldn't catch the fish! Therefore wood is not a metal and does not stick to a magnet!

There was a piece of wood in the mouth of this fish. We couldn’t catch the fish! Therefore wood is not a metal and does not stick to a magnet!

There was a paper fastener in the mouth of this fish. We caught the fish! Therefore it is made of metal and sticks to a magnet!

There was a paper fastener in the mouth of this fish. We caught the fish! Therefore it is made of metal and sticks to a magnet!

we made predictions then checked our results

We made predictions about whether or not a certain material would stick to a magnet (could we catch the fish?!) We learned a little bit about data and recorded our predictions and then our results.

We caught this fish with copper coins in it's mouth! Copper coins stick to a magnet! They are a type of metal!

We caught this fish with copper coins in it’s mouth! Copper coins stick to a magnet! They are a type of metal!

Here are our results!

Here are our results!

We had lots of fun fishing with magnets!

We had lots of fun fishing with magnets!

25 Apr

On Thursday April 14th, Mr. Foley’s class made their much awaited trip to Dublin Zoo, a designated DPSM Discover centre, as part of the school’s application for this year’s award.



Adam, Luke, Patrick, Nathan K, Nathan O’B, Arturas, Jordan and Johnny all made the trip and for many, it was their first time to the zoo. It was a day they will never forget, and was the perfect mix of learning and fun.

We were very lucky that all the animals seemed to be very energetic and the crowds were not too big as we spent almost 3 hours walking around and learning about each of the animals.




Johnny’s favourite animal was the African Hunting Dog. We had to ask one of the zookeepers where we could find the dogs. They were in the African Plains section of the zoo. We saw a big bone that the dogs had been chewing on.



Nathan O’B loved the birds, and was able to show Mr. Foley how to call the birds. He also explained to Mr. Foley how they sometimes use their mouths to hang from branches. There were definitely one or two Nathan would have liked to have brought back to his aviary in his back garden!


The most memorable part of our trip was definitely when we went to learn about the tiger. After we read about what they eat and where they can be found, we decided to take a picture with the tiger in the background. The tiger ran at us and the boys ran away just as quick! Nathan O’B was the only one not to run. He said that you should never let an animal know that you are afraid of them. The tiger then “marked his territory” in front of us which everyone found very funny!



We enjoyed the farm at the zoo too, with some of the boys even getting in some practice at milking a cow. We also had good fun putting our hands into the unknown and having to guess what we were feeling in the visitor’s centre. We got to watch a short film in their Elephant cinema on their Samsung tv.



The Reptile House was brilliant. We saw bats, crocodiles, turtles and snakes. There was also an artist there sketching the animals. Her drawing was amazing and very life-like.


After talking about our trip, we have agreed that our next trip will continue our learning about animals and nature. We are going to go to Sea Life in May and learn about what they have in their aquarium. One of the fish we really want to see is the Red Bellied Piranha.


It was a very long day but it was definitely worth it. A big thank you to Dublin Zoo being so welcoming and to all the parents for being so understanding when we were late home!

22 Apr

Second class has been exploring lots of different materials and their properties over the last while. As a part of this we have been looking at lots of different questions about what different materials are like.

The other week, we watched an amazing video of Felix Baumgartner as he jumped from a helium balloon in the stratosphere. You can see the video here

Ms. Fry showed us a picture that Felix Baumgartner had drawn as a little boy of himself jumping with a parachute and it really got us thinking!


We started wondering about what would make the best parachute.

We explored the idea of best- deciding that it would be the most ‘fit to purpose’ parachute by falling the slowest and keeping the person safe.

Then we each designed our own parachutes before getting in to groups to explore various materials and shapes of parachutes. We each had a little Lego man to keep safe- so this was serious business!

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One boy even designed mini parachutes for his shoes in case they fell off!

Some people chose plastic, some chose cotton, some tinfoil and others paper to make their parachutes, so they were all completely different.

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They came in all shapes and sizes too. Some of us used rulers to measure the sides to make them all the same, and some just cut free hand.

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When we were all finished, we shared what we’d made and then stopped for a few minutes to discuss what a ‘fair’ test would look like. We tried to decide between dropping them one by one by the same person and timing them, or dropping them all at the same time. In the end, we decided to go for all at once but we tried our hardest to make it a fair test by all dropping from the same height at the same time. We also dropped them five times, just in case!

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In the end we found that the slowest falling parachute was plastic, round and really big. We talked about how it being bigger meant that it caught more air so fell slower.

You can watch them fall in slow motion here 

We were so excited that we were able to make real parachutes- watch out Felix, you may have some competition in a few years time!

22 Apr

This year in 4th Class we have been learning all about climbing and Mount Everest. In November, a special visitor called Rob came into our class and spoke to us about his climbing experiences.


We were all very eager to ask Rob lots of questions



Rob brought us prayer flags from Nepal in November



He even brought prizes for the people who asked the best questions.

A few weeks later, we were notified that Rob was planning to climb Mount Everest, one of the most daring mountains in the world. At first we were scared. Our teacher came up with a plan. We decided to design and sign a wonderful flag that Rob would bring with him on his adventure and take a photo of it at the summit.

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We all signed our flag, including the teachers!


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4th Class with our flag

We heard from Rob yesterday. He has safely reached base camp on the Tibetan side of Everest. Keep an eye on the blog if you would like to follow our flag as it travels to the top of the world.


A photo of Base Camp sent to us from Rob.

20 Apr

Senior Infants have been busy exploring and investigating different materials. We have looked at wood, plastic, fabric, cardboard and rubber and have learned that they all look and feel very different. Investigating and experimenting is something we like to try whenever we get the opportunity. After reading ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’ by Julia Donaldson we decided it might be a good idea to try to design and make a coat for the Gruffalo’s Child to wear. We knew that the Gruffalo’s Child liked to explore the woods near his home but it seemed silly that he wasn’t wearing a coat out in the snow!

Gruffalo's Child

The Gruffalo’s Child looks cold without a coat!

Since we are really improving at working together in groups we decided to complete this task in our Aistear groups but before we started it was important to discuss why exactly we were choosing to design and make a coat and what type of coat would be best for the Gruffalo Child. There were lots of excellent suggestions from the class. Michael said that the coat should be ‘warm’ and Elif suggested that it should be ‘waterproof’ because the Gruffalo’s Child might be playing in the snow. The Orange group said that the coat should look nice, which the whole class agreed was very important.

After talking about what criteria we thought was most important we looked at some examples of coats. We talked about different materials, colours, shapes and details such as buttons and zips. Cian made an excellent point when he said that ‘some zips get stuck easily’ so maybe we could make our coats using buttons instead.

Pictures of coats

Some different examples of coats.

We then decided to design our coats using pencils and crayons. Each person in the group designed an individual coat and then presented their ideas to the rest of the group. The group then decided on one aspect of each design that should be used in the making of the group’s coat. For example the Yellow Group thought that Chloe’s pattern was really nice and the Red Group liked the way Lauren had designed a coat with different coloured buttons and decided to use this design for the project.

When designing the coats we used our Maths knowledge about patterns to help us! Some pupils used two colours to make patterns and others used three and four colours.

Coat designs

Some Senior Infant designers!


Presenting design

Presenting our designs.



Some colourful designs!

Each group then chose a variety of materials to work with to make their coat. A big thanks to Ms. Keating and Ms. Fry for lending us lots of different types of materials! Some boys and girls made hoods, others made sleeves and some were in charge of decorating the coat. Team work and cooperation was really important to make sure that the coat was completed properly and all teams did really well. We also practised our cutting and sticking skills which are very important.

We used lots of materials such as different textiles, paper, rubber gloves, crepe paper and buttons. Lots of the designs tried to ensure that at least some part of the coat was waterproof, such as the sleeves or the hood. We knew that materials like rubber and plastic are waterproof because we tested them during Aistear.

Chloe designing

Making sure the design is finished properly. We used staples, glue and sellotape to make our coats.

The girls and boys then presented their designs to the rest of the class and talked about how they felt working as a team and how they decided on their designs.

Check out the finished products below!

Blue Table Design

The Blue Group explain their design to the class.

Orange Table Design

Well done to the Orange Group!


Yellow Table Design

The Yellow Group worked really well together.


Red Table Design

The Red Group added a warm hood and sleeves.

19 Apr

In 4th class, we are currently learning about Australia. We learned all about the Great Barrier Reef and the amazing plants and animals that live there. This led to a discussion on water pollution and environmental awareness. We discussed oil spillages in the sea and how this damages marine and bird life. With this in mind, we decided to create lava lamps to investigate and observe how oil and water react when put together.

The Great Barrier Reef

First we brainstormed our previous knowledge on water pollution and oil spillages. We discussed this as a class. We then predicted what we thought would happen when we mixed oil and water together. Using their previous knowledge, the children worked together and decided that the oil would float on top of the water because they had seen oil floating in puddles on the side of the road before. However, they did not know why this happened. 

After our discussion, the children were divided into groups of three. Each group was given an empty bottle, some oil and some water. They were given instructions to fill one quarter of the bottle with water and to add an additional two quarters of oil to the bottle. These measurement instructions allowed for the integration of maths through fractions and capacity.

 As soon as the groups added in the oil, they instantly realised that their prediction was correct. The oil floated on the water. With further discussion the children came to the correct conclusion that oil is lighter than water and that is why it floats on top. This knowledge led to a further discussion on water pollution and how the birds and fish are damaged and injured when oil is leaked into the water but just sits on top as a thick layer.

Now it was time to make our lava lamps! Each group was given a bottle of food colouring. Before adding the colouring, we predicted what we thought would happen when it was added. Some children thought it would just mix with the oil and some thought it would sink to the bottom and mix with the water. It was time to find out! They added 8/10 drops of the food colouring into the bottle. It did not take long for the children to realise that the food colouring sank straight through the oil and only reacted with the water at the bottom. The children instantly came to the conclusion that the food colouring was also heavier than the oil and this was why it sank straight to the water.

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We examined the bottle as the food colouring sank through the oil and mixed with the water.

 Each group was then given half an Alka-Seltzer tablet. We discussed what this was and the children compared it to Disprin tablets which they have seen dissolving and bubbling in water before. Each group dropped their tablets into the bottle. The tablet sank straight to the bottom of the bottle and started to dissolve. The children observed in anticipation as coloured bubbles formed and floated up and down in the oil from the Alka-Seltzer tablet as they tried to reach the surface.

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Our lava lamps were so mesmerising.



The children observed the lava lamps from different angles.

After two minutes of observation we discussed what we witnessed as a class. The children discussed that the thickness of the oil could have slowed down the speed of the Alka-Seltzer bubbles and created the look of a lava lamp.


We examined them very closely.

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To conclude, we recapped on what we did today and highlighted the importance of environmental awareness and care. We reviewed the danger of oil spillages and how they can endanger and destroy bird and marine life. The children finally discussed ways on how we could tackle the problem of water pollution and protect our environment.


18 Apr

Having learned about the Titanic last week, the children in first class decided to undertake the challenge of designing their own boats.  First we brainstormed the properties of boats and we decided that they need to float, carry people and have some way of moving.  Then we discussed what types of materials would be good to use when building boats.  We concluded that materials such as paper and cardboard would be no good as they would get soggy.  Instead we would need to use waterproof materials such as plastic and strong materials such as metal.

The first step we took was to see what objects and materials would float in the water.  We had a quick scavenge around our classroom before predicting and testing the items we found.

Floating and sinking

Floating and sinking


We found that the items which were heavy and had holes did not float.  Materials like wood and plastic floated.  Our favourite thing to test was the orange.  It floated when it had its skin but when we took the skin off it sank.  We came up with the idea that the orange peel was like a life jacket with tiny holes which was helping the orange to float.

Next, we took up the challenge of trying to make our boats using only blu tack.  This proved quite difficult as the blu tack sank to the bottom when we tested it in the water.

Kyra made sure it was a fair test. She measured the blu tack using a ruler to make sure everyone had an equal amount.

Kyra made sure it was a fair test. She measured the blu tack using a ruler to make sure everyone had an equal amount.

At the beginning of the design process, we found that we were concentrating more on making our boats look like boats instead of making sure they could float.


After a while we saw some improvement when we experimented using different shapes.

Liam found some orange peel left on his desk and had a really super idea of how to make his boat float.  He was going to give it a life jacket.

Then we observed how long our shapes took to sink all the way to the bottom.  Flatter pieces took longer to sink.

After some time we finally got a boat floating for each group.  We made some alterations to enable them to carry some passengers.  We then tested them to see how many passengers (pieces of sweetcorn) they could hold before sinking.


Take a look at our winning team!!!

We took a tally of our five boats showing how many passengers they carried.  We drew a graph to show our results.


We really enjoyed making our boats.