Spending a morning visiting three successful STEM based companies in Limerick proved really beneficial for Science teachers and Career Guidance teachers in the Mid-West. Eleanor Walsh, Clare/ Limerick coordinator reports on the day….
A very punctual and enthusiastic set of fifteen Science and Career Guidance teachers met in Limerick and boarded a bus for the first ever Seeing Is Believing STEM tour in Limerick that was to take them to Analog Devices Ireland, Vistakon Ireland and Cook Medical. The participants came from Limerick & Clare schools. Some teachers were from current SBP participating schools.
I had briefed each of the companies ahead of the visit and in particular asked each of them to highlight the STEM components of their work which are in common with the STEM techniques and information that second level students study. Also, I asked them to profile their current hires and outline the skills gaps occurring in the future. Each of the companies really delivered on the brief and the teachers gained huge knowledge on the practical side of producing commercial products with a high STEM basis and about the opportunities there are within each of these industries.
The areas of overlap with the Science and Maths curriculum mentioned were Ohm’s Law and Boyle’s Law, Mean and Standard Deviation, many different sterilisation techniques, monomers to polymers and many more. For the mathematician in me, I was delighted to see how the enlargements and construction module of the geometry section on the pass Leaving Cert maths syllabus could be applied to chip design as seen in Analog.
The key skills required in this sector endorsed the teaching styles of investigative learning and complemented the enquiry based learning of new syllabi like Project Maths. Most of the schools represented encourage and support students to prepare projects for Science competitions in which each of the three skills above are hugely developed, so there were smiles all round.
The feedback from the teachers was very, very positive. In particular, they would love for their students to experience this initiative. There is great room for developing this programme and extending it to other cities too. I wish to thank each of the companies and teachers for making it such an informative and inspiring event. In a thank you email to me afterwards one teacher wrote “The information we got is so important and powerful for our students. I hope the project continues to grow and develop for others teachers and students to experience also.” We will certainly do our best to do this!
Our new foray into supporting Ireland’s STEM agenda also saw a SIB take place in Dublin on May 2nd with IBM, Microsoft, Becton Dickinson and AOL.