Access Keys:

St. Brendan's National School, Cartron Point, Sligo


What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, technology, engineering and maths. STEM education, however, involves more than just teaching these subjects. It is a way of thinking and collaborative learning that encourages pupils to work together in a group to solve a problem, design or build something that has a real-life application. Indeed, visual arts, music, literacy and several other curriculum subjects can all be developed through the STEM approach.

This year the Department of Education and Science has encouraged all schools to make contact with local industry and encourage development of joint projects that would introduce these subjects to Primary Schools.

In St. Brendan’s NS, we are ideally placed to get involved with this initiative. Over the past few years we have been building up a bank of ICT and Science equipment e.g. class set of tablets, lego robotics sets, BeeBots, electricity equipment, hydraulics/pneumatics kits etc which we could use as tools to provide STEM opportunities for children across all classes and ages. Several of our staff members have attended STEM courses and are full of enthusiasm for this initiative.

As a starting point, we aim to engage with STEM during Engineers Week, Maths and Coding Weeks each year with project activities suggested for all classes. If you have any link to a business or industry that might like to get involved with our school, we would be delighted if you would let us know.

Why is STEM so important:

  • Improvements in educational standards and achievement in STEM will give our future graduates the ultimate preparedness to live and work in a 21st century world
  • Stimulating curiosity and fostering a sense of wonder are essential elements of educating our students from the earliest years
  • Science and Mathematics provide answers to the fundamental questions of nature and enable us to understand the world around us
  • The STEM disciplines enable us to understand, measure, design and advance our physical world
  • Expertise in STEM subjects is necessary to drive our economic competitiveness and to provide the foundations for future prosperity
  • Knowledge based service economies, such as Ireland’s, are particularly dependent on the quality and number of STEM graduates  
  • The current levels of performance of our students in STEM subjects are classed as 'relatively weak' compared to higher achieving countries
  • Unless this is addressed it will lead to a skills deficit that will be potentially damaging for our graduates as individuals and for our economy as a whole

Our aims for STEM education in St. Brendan's NS:

  • Make more use of ICT in school as an integral way of teaching and learning
  • Encourage problem-solving that using more than one discipline (subject)
  • Develop a bank of Challenge based STEM activities for each class that engage the children in - testing and evaluating, changing, improving and finding final solutions
  • Focus on STEM activities that bond content and skills- what we know with how to do
  • STEM activities tailored for each class can provide a framework for teaching across disciplines
  • Authentic learning
  • STEM activities should bring to life the social, environmental and economic worlds for our children
  • STEM activities should be hands-on, open-ended with the focus on process not product
  • STEM activities value perseverance and encourage working together
  • STEM activities should be relevant in  the real-world, business world
  • Through STEM we will teach children to:
    • Question like a scientist
    • Design like a technologist
    • Build like an engineer
    • Create like an artist
    • Deduce like a mathematician
    • Play just like a kid!
    • ……………… having great fun in the process, deepening learning without even knowing it.