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Annual workshops for science teachers Annual workshops for science teachers


Annual workshop for science teachers hosted by UL

James O Connor from Skibbereen, Co Cork at the annual workshop for science teachers at the University of Limerick. Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media

Annual workshop for science teachers hosted by UL

The annual workshop for science teachers, hosted by Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) and the Dept. of Chemical Sciences, in the University of Limerick (UL), is designed to encourage science teachers to become more confident with chemical demonstrations and brings effective learning strategies to the classroom. Sponsored by SSPC, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Dept. of Chemical Sciences, and Bernal Institute (UL), Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) and BioPharmachemical Ireland, the workshop offers opportunity for teachers to incorporate experiments that will capture students’ imagination.

Annual workshop for science teachers

Thomas McMahon, Dublin City University and Hannah Campball Trinity College Dublin at the workshop at the University of Limerick. Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media



The annual workshop for science teachers includes explosions and some of the coolest reactions in chemistry involving a chemical demonstration show, simple physics demonstrations, Spectroscopy in a Suitcase by Royal Society of Chemistry, and will cover safety aspects and the use of ICT in a demonstration. The course incorporates inquiry and problem-based learning methodologies, to enable teachers to utilise demonstrations to stimulate curiosity and problem-solving ability on the part of the students. Teachers work in pairs and are required to research, devise, test and present their own 10-20 minute chemical magic show at the end of the week. This approach offers many advantages, including the future active engagement of students in chemistry projects and teachers can see the benefits of the workshop as chemistry plays an important role both in our lives today and in our future.

Supporting teachers’ development is vital for the enhancement of the Irish education system, to help educators capitalise on the importance of science in everyday life, creating an active learning environment by integrating demonstrations in the classroom helps expand engagement in learning and develop a repertoire of demonstrations linked to the physical sciences.

SSPC’s Education and Public Engagement Officer, Dr Sarah Hayes said: “The annual workshop for science teachers showcases the relationship between the practicality of the work and the enthusiasm for teaching. The Centre has developed the course to give the hands-on experience with various experiments and enhance confidence in teaching methods. Every year the feedback we receive shows it is very useful, engaging and offers teachers a real opportunity to present in the classroom with self-assurance”.

Annual workshop for science teachers

Rebecca Kenneally, Oaklands Community College, Edenderry, Co. Offaly and Gemma Buicke, Pobalscoil Neasain, Baldoyle, Dublin at the workshop at the University of Limerick. Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media

SSPC’s General Manager, Jon O’Halloran, added: “Teachers need the opportunity to step back from teaching and to develop new skills and new ways of presenting science. These workshops give them the time to build their confidence and expertise, to share ideas with fellow teachers, and we find that they return to their schools invigorated and more enthused about teaching chemistry.”

The SSPC Education and Public Engagement (EPE) programme funded by Science Foundation Ireland plays a key role in communicating the importance and value of science to the wider society in Ireland. The SSPC’s EPE programmes incorporate customised, context-based activities for each stage of the Irish primary and post-primary educational systems. Additional programmes designed for third/fourth level students, industry, and the general public also play a role in the EPE strategy to promote engagement with SSPC’s research, as well as to create a dialogue among all participants about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), particularly in the area of chemistry and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

For more on this workshop click here

For more on science at UL click here 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.