Discover Primary Science & Maths 2018

Strand: Living Things

Autumn Walk

In September the girls in Senior Infants went on an Autumn walk around the local park. The children were divided up into teams and each team was given the name of an Autumn animal. Each team had a clipboard with a list of items to search for, and a bag to collect Autumn items such as chestnuts, leaves and berries. We looked at the different leaves to help us identify all of the trees, and kept an eye out for birds and other animals. The girls were very excited when they spotted a grey squirrel climbing the trees. As the girls walked around they checked off any items which they found in the park. When we got back to the classroom we made a nature table using the items we had collected. We had a great day exploring our local environment!

Life Cycle of the Frog

We learned about how the spawn changes to tadpoles. The tadpoles' tails shrink and legs start to grow. The tail disappears and the frog grows full legs.

How plants drink water - experiments by Junior Infants

Strand unit - plants and animals

We began our lesson with discussing what a plant is and how a plant lives. We made a list of things that plants need to grow / live. We played a game using visuals (see below) of what plants need to grow.

For example; light, water, air, nutrients

We all talked about what happens to the plant when is absorbs the water( we explained what absorbs means)

We discussed that plants have roots that allow water and nutrients to be absorbed from the soil.

We then did a whole class experiment using a piece of celery, water (died with red food colouring) and a glass. We discussed what we think is going to happen (prediction) and what will happen (result)

Then the children were spilt into groups and they tried the experiment on their own.

And we have since observed and discussed the results! The celery are still sitting by the window drinking the coloured water and it is affective as you can see the roots of the celery are now red.

The story of Penguins

All of the girls in 2nd class did a project on penguins. What a variety of projects! They all did a great job.

Planting Potatoes

Just after the St. Patrick's weekend, we all went to the garden with Mrs O Flynn (our gardener) to help plant the seed potatoes.

Mrs O Flynn explained to us that it is important that the soil is warm enough (above 9 degrees) before you can plant potatoes. If it's too cold the potatoes will rot in the soil.

Each potato had lots of shoots but we only kept the longest and strongest shoot.

We placed the potatoes with the shoots facing upwards about 10cm apart.

We will harvest our potatoes in June and hopefully we'll get lots of new potatoes then.

Testing our Senses

Sight Test

In Senior Infants we have been working on our 5 senses, identifying the part of the body used for each sense. First we focussed on our sense of sight. We played a whole class game of eye spy using items in the classroom. We started the game using the initial letter as the clue to find the item. We then used descriptions of the items to help us identify what the child had seen in the classroom.

Hearing Test

The focus of our next experiment was our sense of hearing. The girls worked in pairs with one child blindfolded. The other child then picked a musical instrument, or another source of sound, which they played beside their partner. The child who was blindfolded tried to guess the source of the sound based on what they heard.

Taste Test

Next we performed taste tests using potato crisps. In groups the girls were given four containers, each holding a different flavour of crisps. All of the crisps looked the same, so the girls had to rely on their sense of taste to help them identify the different flavours. The girls took turns to taste the crisps and guess the flavour. They found it very difficult to identify the crisps without the packet, but enjoyed the challenge. We wrote up our findings.

Smell Test

In order to test the girls’ sense of smell one child in each pair was again blindfolded. The other child chose a strong smelling object such as vinegar, orange and drinking chocolate. The item was held up to the nose of the blindfolded child for them to smell. Some items were easier to identify than others, but the children were usually able to make connections with the smells.

Touch Test

The final test we performed was a touch test. This test again required one child in a pair to be blindfolded. The other child chose a tactile item such as a pipe cleaner, a feather, pasta and a spiky ball. The girls enjoyed moving these items around in their hands to help them identify what they were holding, and were very good at using descriptive words to describe the item.

Environmental Awareness

How Biodegradable is the stuff we use every day?

We dug holes in one of our raised beds and put different things in each hole. For example - cardboard, tin cans, a nappy, crisp bags, fruit and vegetables, tissue paper etc. We wanted to investigate how long it will take for each thing to decompose - if it ever does!

We then filled in each hole with soil and labelled them.

If we look at this time line we realise how important it is to cut down on our use of plastic. If we don't the planet will be destroyed.

We use our Composters every day.

Every day the girls in 4th class collect the fruit peelings and cores from the classrooms and the staffroom. They bring the waste to the composters which are out in our Wildlife Garden.

We learnt all about how the worms help to decompose the fruit and vegetables.

Each class was visited by the girls in 4th class who explained how the compost bins work. They also told the other girls what can be put in the compost bins and what is not suitable.

Care for our native birds.

In 5th class we focussed on how we can care for our environment. We made bird feeders for native Irish birds that we find in our local habitat. We looked at various bird charts of Irish birds and went on a walk up to Deerpark observing the birds and finding them on our chart. We then compared birds and learnt about various native Irish birds behaviour and eating habits.

We went on our bird walk with Claire from OWLS and made the bird feeders with Rosemary our gardener.

We mixed seeds, nuts and fat to make a bird cake. We then filled used milk cartons with this bird cake mix to make bird feeders. We threaded string through them and brought them to our back garden so the birds could enjoy them in the very cold weather we are getting at the moment.

We also gathered some moss, feathers, wool, hay to help the birds build their nests. We called it our Birds' Supermarket.

Energy and Forces

Senior Infants Investigate Magnets

We learned that if something is magnetic, the magnet will stick to it.

We had great fun going around our classroom and in Croí na Scoile finding places to stick our magnets.

Our teacher hid things in our sandbox and we found them using the magnets.

We discovered that magnets have two poles - the North pole and the South pole. If you try to put two North poles together, they will repel each other.

You can put a North pole with a South pole. They attract each other.

We wrote up our findings.

Junior Infants investigate Sound

Investigating how Sound is made: We started with trigger questions: What is sound? What are vibrations? How are sounds made? Are all sounds pleasant?

Can you think of some words to describe sound? (Loud/soft, high/low, musical/unpleasant ……..)

We learnt that Sound is caused by vibrations which travel through the air or other medium (e.g. water, metal, wood, etc.).

Vibrations can be made by plucking a string, by blowing or by banging.

Unseen boxes of items were labelled 1-5, and the children had to shake them to make them Vibrate. They had to attempt to guess the contents from a choice of corresponding objects that could be seen. Their guesses, as well as the actual contents were recorded in a chart.

Magnets in art

Having learned about the power of magnets, the girls in 1st class painted pictures using magnets.


States of Matter

We learnt all about states of matter in both 3rd classes. We investigated the properties of liquids, solids and gases as seen with our investigation station, and even made a few of our own projects.

Susie and Lucy presented their very own project about states of matter to everyone

Abigail made a substance that when moving, is liquid, but when you touch it, turns into a solid!

We also took part in a class quiz on states of matter, we all got 10/10!


today we learned what makes a good conductor of electricity. We tested an number of objects e.g. cork, rubber, wood, metal.

We discovered that metal is a good conductor. We made a switch using a metal paper clip, wire, battery and bulb.

The bulb lit up when the circuit was connected.

Absorption of water

The girls in Senior Infants became scientists when they were exploring the theme of water.

We wanted to test different things found in school and at home to see which items absorbed and which repelled water.

The girls each had a syringe which they filled with water. They then squirted the water onto the different items and observed what happened.

We found out that materials such as glass and plastic are good for keeping water out, but paper and cloth absorbed the water.

We recorded our results in our SESE copies and discussed our findings.

Floating & Sinking


Hour of Code

One of our mums works in Microsoft and she, and one of her colleagues, kindly came in to our two 6th classes to do an Hour of Code with us. We used the programme Minecraft. For some of us it was the first time to do coding but for others it wasn't. We all enjoyed it.

Adobe Spark

Global Goals

The girls in 6th class were divided into pairs. Each pair worked on creating a video using Adobe Spark. They focussed on the Global Goals of: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water & Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land and Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions. We have included two sample videos but the rest of them are available on our website -

As seen in the video here, Aisling and Sadhbh focussed on Gender Equality.

Edie and Ellen made a video on Zero Hunger.


Having made the videos about the Global Goals we went to different classes to show the other girls what we had done. The girls were very impressed!

Presentation Waste

Having taken lots of photographs of all of the waste we made a Powerpoint presentation with our teacher.

We were then put into pairs and each pair went to each class and showed the powerpoint to the class. We encouraged all classes to stop using so much packaging on their lunches.

Maths Week

How the Maths Quiz is run. Every year for Maths Week, our principal, Ms. Mc Gowan, makes up a Maths Quiz which is great fun. The teams are randomly chosen and there is a girl from 3rd, a girl from 4th, one from 5th and one from 6th on each team. Ms Mc Gowan has all the questions on Powerpoint and she calls out the questions. The class teachers collect the sheets and correct them. My team was not the best but we didn’t come last either! I thought that the 6th class girl would know all the answers and that the other classes would end up doing nothing but that’s not how it worked out. For some of the questions, Ms Mc Gowan would only allow the 3rd class girl to write down the answer – that was very fair. We all got a chance. The winning team actually had no one from 6th on their team but they were still the best. I am really looking forward to next year’s quiz. Megan 5th class.

Maths Trail

Maths Week was great fun. The best bit was being able to play games in our classrooms and out in Croí na Scoile.

Visiting Experts

Mrs Tomar

One of our mums was a chemistry teacher in India and she was delighted to share our expertise with the girls in 2nd class.

OWLS - Outdoor Wildlife Learning Survival

Two women from OWLS came to our classes - the Turtle and The Duck. We learned about lots of Irish animals such as the red and grey squirrel and about different types of birds. In an attempt to copy how the squirrels hide their food for the winter, Claire (the Turtle) gave us each a stone. We wrote our initials on the stones and hid them in the yard. Two months later we had to look for our stone. Some of us were successful but it was quite difficult. We also went to Deerpark to see if we could spot any of the birds and animals we had learned about. OWLS stands for Outdoor Wildlife Learning Survival.

Design and Make

Investigating and experimenting

The girls in Senior Infants had lot of fun designing and making a boat that could float on water. Initially each child was given an equal amount of plasticine and a basin of water.

The class rolled their plasticine into a sphere and had to estimate whether the sphere would float or sink. Many believed it would float and were surprised to see that it sank!

The children were given the task of designing a boat that would float on the water using the plasticine.

The children investigated and experimented with many different designs. Many of the designs did not float and some floated for only a short time.

When the children were happy with their boat they investigated how many passengers (pegs) that the boat could take before it sank.

The children really enjoyed our design and make activity today.

Making something with moving parts

We made a firetruck. Firstly we painted a shoebox and a smaller box red. Next we made holes in the lower sides and inserted the wheels and wooden chassis. Then we made a hose by getting a syringe and a tube and attached them. We filled the tube with water. When we pushed the plunger the hose squirted water. Then we glued the two boxes together with the hose and syringe attached. Finally we added a ladder.

I made a mouse that popped out of a hole using pneumatics. First I found a cardboard box and turned it inside out and cut a large arch on the front side. Then I got two syringes and a small length of plastic tubing. I cut a small hole in the back of the box and inserted a syringe through the front so the tip of the syringe was sticking out the back. Next I put the plastic tubing over the tops of both syringes and stuck the second one to the side of the box. Finally I made the cardboard mouse out of a toilet paper tube, painted it and stuck it onto the back of the first syringe.
When I push the second syringe it pushes air through the plastic tubing and makes the second syringe pop out - pushing the mouse out of the hole.

We decided to make a windmill. First we covered three plastic containers with mod rock. When it was dry we painted it. We pierced two holes either side of the top of the windmill. Then we got a wooden circle and stuck two lollipop sticks on it to make the windmill. We then glued a long thin piece of wood to the back and we put it in two holes at the top of the windmill.

We made a bridge and trucks. First we planned our bridge. We constructed it from a cardboard box and wood dowlings. We discovered that triangles were very strong. We used a glue gun for strength. We made the bridge lift by attaching string.

We made a moving ladybird. It is a pneumatic which means it uses air. First we attached a balloon pump to a small plastic tube with sellotape. We then connected a tube to the top of a syringe. Next we stuck a green card leaf on to a shoebox lid and cut a small rectangular hole in the middle of them. Finally we stuck the tubular part of the syringe right in front of the hole and attached the ladybird on to the pit of the syringe that moves. When you pump the balloon pump the ladybird on the leaf easily moves.

Making Periscopes

We began by exploring with mirrors and did some mirror writing.

We investigated periscopes and how they work. We looked at the angles necessary to project the image so that the image is the same in both mirrors and found it to be 45 degrees.

We then gathered the materials we needed such as card, ruler, protractor, mirrors and glue / tape. We began construction.

Here is the finished product. We successfully made a periscope.

Second Class Experiments

The girls in Second Class had great fun trying out a wide range of different scientific experiments.

Below are some of the photos from the experiments they carried out over the last few weeks. The girls researched and presented their ideas and experiments with fantastic results! A real sense of enquiry was fostered. The girls thoroughly enjoyed all the science projects presented, many further developing the concepts at home. Many aspects of the curriculum were explored and investigated across the range of experiments. We saw exploding volcanoes, paper versus cardboard boat races, rainbow bubble snakes and hover craft discs to name but a few!

How to make a paper clip float!

1.In order to make a paper clip float, you will need:
A bowl of water, a piece of tissue paper, a pencil with a rubber and a paper clip. 2.First, put the tissue down in the bowl of water and put the paper clip on top but without touching the tissue. 3.Next, get your pencil and without touching the paper clip, press down the tissue with with rubber around the paper clip. If you have succeeded, the paper clip should still be floating.

Making a Hovercraft

I made a hovercraft. The idea came from my Dad. It was quite hard. I needed: A bottle cap, a compact disc, glue gun, balloons, a flat surface. How to make it: Get the compact disc. Blow up the balloon and put it on top of the bottle cap. Open up the bottle cap and allow it to hover around. How it works: The air from balloon pushes its way through the hole on top of the bottle cap to create a cushion of air under the compact disc.

Making a Milky Rainbow

My Science Project is called The Milky Rainbow. I needed: Washing Up liquid, milk, food colouring, a face cloth, a plate. What I did: I poured some milk onto a plate. I got drops of different coloured food dye. I dipped a rolled up facecloth into some washing up liquid. I put the facecloth into the bowl of milk and colours. What happened: All the colours pushed away and got mixed up. The colours moved to the edge of the plate and the milk stayed in the centre.

Making an egg float

I put an egg in a bowl of water. It didn't float. It sank to the bottom of the bowl. I put some salt in the water and the egg floated up to the middle. I put more salt into the bowl and the egg floated to the top of the cup.

Making a volcano.

  1. This experiment is a reaction between a fizzy carbonated drink and Mentos mints.
  2. I put some Mentos sweets into a bottle of Coke.
  3. When the Mentos drop to the bottom of the bottle, lots of bubbles form on its surface.
  4. The gas in the coke is released and the liquid is forced out of the bottle making a giant volcano / geyser.

Inflating a balloon without blowing into it.

  1. This happened because of a chemical reaction.
  2. I mixed bicarbonate of soda with vinegar.
  3. This reaction caused carbon dioxide to be released so my balloon was inflated.

Walking Water

  1. You need cups, paper towel, water and food colouring.
  2. Lay the cups out in a line.
  3. Put some water and food colouring in the first cup.
  4. Put some paper towel in one cup and have it also touch the water in the next cup.
  5. The water is absorbed into the paper and it travels up the paper in one cup and empties into the next cup.
  6. If you put a different colour in each cup you will see the water “walk” from one cup to the other.

Making Plastic Milk

  1. My project needed vinegar, a strainer and milk.
  2. I heated the vinegar and milk for three minutes.
  3. Then I stirred it and strained it.
  4. The casein in the milk (protein) doesn’t like the vinegar (acid) and they separate making blobs which look like plastic.

Making a Lava Lamp

  1. You half fill a bottle with oil and then put water in it.
  2. The water will sink to the bottom.
  3. Then put a few drops of food colouring in the bottle.
  4. Add an Alka-Seltzer tablet.
  5. Then watch the food colouring float up into the little bubbles.

Posted by Graine McGowan on Apr 24, 2018