Discover Primary Science & Maths 2019

Maths is Fun

In October we had a full week of Maths Activities all over the school to celebrate Maths Week.

Maths Quiz

Every one from 3rd - 6th had a Maths Quiz. Each team had a child from 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. It was great fun - and not too hard!

Junior Infants' Maths Trail

Ms. Langran's class took to the school garden on a maths trial. In pairs they had to complete different maths challenges that were based on their maths topics and nature. For example, one of the challenges was to find 8 stones and make a circle with them.

Weighing things.

In Maths we are learning about Weight. We used balances to measure different items.

First we guessed how many cubes each thing would weigh and then we measured!

We were very busy weighing, measuring, counting and checking our work.

We explored 1kg weights. We found things in our classroom that are around 1kg. It was interesting!

Did you know that 18 copies weigh 1kg?!

Learning about Length

We learnt about length in school!

To do this we used different measuring tools like lollypops and string to measure the length of different items in the classroom.

Before measuring something we had to guess how long we thought it would be!


Maths Games

We got to play games in class learning how to count, take turns, how to win and how to lose!

Living Things

Planting bulbs

We planted some tulip bulbs. We used a dibber and a trowel to help us plant our bulbs.

We are looking forward to seeing our lovely tulips bloom in the spring.

We had lots of fun!

Our Heart Rates

Experiment: To compare our heart rate before and after exercise Background We learnt that our hearts beat at a regular rate. This pumping can be felt by placing our fingers across the pulse point at the back of the wrist or alternatively at the side of the neck. From that the rate can be counted.

We found out that an adult heart rate is around 70 beats and a childs is a bit higher. We discovered that a mouse’s heart rate is about 500 per minute in comparison to an elephant’s which is about 25.

Before we carried out our experiment we placed our hands across our hearts and we identified that our hearts pump blood to all parts of the body. This is important because the blood brings oxygen to the muscles. We predicted our heart rate would increase after exercise.

We carried out 3 different activities to investigate this. We recorded our results by way of bar charts.

Activity 1 We recorded our pulse for 60 seconds while sitting. We rested for 5 minutes after.

Activity 2 We recorded our pulse for 60 seconds while exercising gently. In this case we walked around our basketball court. We rested for 5 minutes after.

Activity 3 Finally we recorded our pulse for 60 seconds running vigorously one side of our field. We rested for five minutes.

Conclusion Our pulse rate after vigorous exercise increased significantly. Having covered Averages while doing Data in Maths we decided to find our the class average pulse rate while sitting and compare it against the class average pulse rate while running vigorously. Average class pulse rate while sitting was 82 Average class pulse rate while running vigorously was 116 (almost double!)

An Autumn Walk

In October the girls in Senior Infants took part in a nature walk around Deer Park.

In groups the girls were challenged to find as many Autumn items as they could, checking off a list of suggested items.

While we were on our walk we spotted a grey squirrel eating an acorn on the side of a tree. We had to stay very quiet so as not to disturb him. As we walked we gathered fallen leaves, acorns and horse chestnuts to create a nature table in the classroom.

We then tried to identify which trees each came from.

The girls had a great time discovering the wonderful nature in our locality.

A sample Nature Table

Although we live near the city of Dublin, we are very lucky to have nature all around us - in our school grounds, in Deerpark and Sandymount all within easy reach.

More Planting by another Junior Infant class.

We explored the different parts of a plant including leaves, stem, flower, roots,pearls,pollen and seed.

We also learned all about their different functions.

We then made a drawing of a plant in our copies and labelled each part. We made predictions about what a plant needs to survive and grow and came up with lots of answers.

As part of a class we explored the most important needs of a plant such as sunlight, water and the right temperature.

We had lots of fun and learned so much about a plant.

How the roots and stems of a plant do their work.

After we had learned all about the functions of the roots and stem, we decided to do an experiment to show how the roots and stem carry water around the plant.

We used red for colouring and celery, red food colouring and a daffodil, blue food colouring and a daffodil and just a daffodil in water as our comparison.

We then recorded and labelled our experiment in our copies

On day 2 of our experiment we observed and discussed a big change to our celery and daffodils. We observed how the celery had red lines amd a red tio showing where the red food colouring had travelled up it. We also observed our daffodils with an outlines of red amd blue on the petals and no change with the daffodil in just water. We were amazed to prove that the stem carries water up the plant to the flowers and leaves.

Plants need light and water to survive.

After all our hard work learning about plants and how they grow, we decided to plant wild flowers and ensured that we watered them everyday.

Our teacher put her pot into a dark cupboard while the class put their pot in the window. The children's pots grew beautiful green leaves but teachers plant was yellow.

We brainstormed why that was and the girls predicted that it was because there was no sunlight getting to the plant. We brought our wild flower plants home to sow in the garden.

Our Sensory Garden

We visited the sensory garden and saw some beautiful plants and flowers.

Some had lovely smells and colours, others were really nice to touch and even taste!

Animals keeping warm in Winter

Our theme in December was the Arctic. To understand how animals stay warm in the freezing water we used Vaseline as an insulator.

We dipped our fingers in to cold water and compared the feeling between Vaseline covered fingers and Vaseline free fingers.

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

BACKGROUND : Growing tomatoes shows the production of a common edible fruit from seed germination to flowering and fruit formation. It will help to explain the plant life cycle and the factors affecting growth.

For this project we chose to make mini greenhouses for seed propagation, by reusing cardboard egg boxes and clear plastic fruit boxes that children recovered from their domestic recycling bins.

TIME SPAN. We sowed seed in early March; we will re-pot end of March, expect flowering in April, fruit in June onwards. The time span of this project will last from seed through to the summer holidays

SKILLS Observing, investigating and experimenting. ACTIVITY. 1. Sow seed individually in cells of egg boxes. Follow instructions on seed packet as to sowing procedure. 2. Keep in well-lit warm windowsill, water as necessary.

  1. Re-pot into a larger container (again reusing containers rather than purchasing new pots) using full strength potting compost once the plant is approx. 10 cm tall. 4. Start using liquid fertiliser with each watering, following instructions on plant food container. 5. Support plant with canes if necessary as the plant grows.

  2. This is a good activity to develop understanding, caring, responsibility... and like all gardening projects getting your hands dirty. Encourage pollination by stroking the flowers underneath with a paintbrush. Natural pollination by bees would be very limited in the classroom!

How do Clouds work?

We were exploring the water cycle and different types of weather. We looked at how rain is formed and we studied the different types of clouds.

To make the rain clouds; We filled a cup half way up with warm water. We added a large layer of shaving foam on top of the warm water. We filled another cup with cold water and a few drops of food colouring. We slowly added the cold water. We watched and waited as the rain clouds (shaving foam) became heavier and cold water slowly started to fall through the shaving foam.

Growing Plants

In junior infants we did some planting!

The children learned how to recognise and identify the external parts of living things flower - the leaf, stem, root tail,

They observed growth and change in some living things.

They explored conditions for growth of bulbs and seeds in soil, damp moss, wet paper

Healthy Eating

As part of healthy eating week we did some fun taste testing using and developing our senses!

We were blindfolded, we could only use our sense of touch, taste and smell! We tasted a number of different fruits and vegetables.

We learned all about what it means to have a balanced diet, the right amount of every food.

We even made a health dinner plate!


My Teeth

To learn more about the teeth, we made mini models of the mouth using mini marshmallows and card. We explored the types of teeth, their functions and the different parts of the tooth. In SPHE, we looked at how to care for our teeth and the things that might be harmful.


In Science we made our own toothpaste and tested its effectiveness.

To make our toothpaste we; 1) In a bowl, mixed together 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. 2) Added 3 teaspoons of glycerine, 1 teaspoon of peppermint essence. 3) Added a few drops of water.

To test the effectiveness we; 1) Stained an egg with coffee and water. (We used an egg because the surface of an egg is similar to the surface of our teeth.) 2) Using a toothbrush and our toothpaste we tried to clean the coffee stains off the egg. 3) We repeated steps 1 and 2 but used Colgate toothpaste instead.

Results: Our toothpaste was just as effective as Colgate!

Technology in Education

Using Technology as part of our school life.

We learned lots of new it skills this year and used them to record and present our work to our class and to other classes.

We used to draw up timelines for our research in our history.

We used PowerPoint and google slides to present projects on biomes and European countries.

We learned how to make videos using Adobe Spark and made short videos, with voice-overs to make presentations about pioneers of technology and famous women scientists and mathematicians.

We did an Hour of Code with some computer technicians from Microsoft. It was great fun. Some of the puzzles were a bit tricky but we managed to solve them.

Technology using Lego

lego-pic lego-pic

We learned about Technology and the design and engineering process.


lego-pic lego-pic

The girls in groups made robots using the lego we-do kits and then were given the task to redesign it and code it using the iPads to make it move and complete a task.

View movie - lego-movie-1

View movie - lego-movie-2

Using I-Pads in Senior Infants

We love to use the ipads to play learning games.

It is a fun way to learn and there are lots of activities to help us with our number, reading and writing skills.

We really enjoy counting games and finding correct sounds to make words

Coding with Microsoft

We learned how to code when volunteers from Microsoft visited our class.

The coding world we were in was in Minecraft style.

We followed instructions using steps like “two steps forward and three steps left” and so on.

It was really enjoyable because we were able to try and code our Avatars to reach a certain block.

We progressed from level to level and on the final level we could create our own design using the blocks.

We really enjoyed the coding experience.


Liquids to solids

Our theme in January was Food. In history we were looking at food in the past. We decided to make our own butter using cream. We saw how the cream went from a liquid to a solid (butter)

Investigation of Heat


We investigated convection. Convection is movement in a gas or liquid in which the warmer parts move up and the colder parts move down. In our experiment, the heat from the candle was enough to heat the liquid (oil and food colouring) in the bowl. We then observed the movement in the liquid when we watched the drops of food colouring rise from the centre of the bowl, move to the outside and then sink back to the bottom.

We investigated what happens when cold and hot water meet. We filled a jar with hot water and added red food colouring. We filled a jar with cold water and added blue food colouring. We placed a card on top of the blue jar and positioned it upside down on top of the red jar. We carefully slid the card out from between the jars. We observed that the hot water rises to the top, mixing with the cold water along the way and making purple water.

We set up five different types of cups made from different materials – plastic, metal, paper, china and Styrofoam. We placed the same amount of boiling water in each and put thermometers in them. We recorded the temperatures every 5 minutes to see which was the conductor of heat. The Styrofoam cup kept the water the hottest.


Working with Magnets

We learned about magnetic forces in First Class.

We really enjoyed exploring all the magnetic things we could find in our classroom. There were some surprise finds!

We used different types of magnets - wand/bar/horseshoe. Some magnets are stronger than others.

Magnets can push or pull. We did an experiment to find out what things attract magnets. We did our predictions/guesses first. Then we tested each object. We wrote our results. We compared them to our predictions to see what we learned. We really enjoyed learning about magnets!

Centre of gravity

A low centre of gravity makes objects stable and less likely to fall over.

We made acrobatic clowns on thin card. When we stuck coins on to his hands, the clown could balance without falling over. Adding the coins gave our clowns a low centre of gravity.

If the centre of gravity of an object is low, it is more stable and less likely to topple. This is why on a double decker bus, the bus is more stable when the downstairs level is full of people. If only the top deck was full, the bus would be more likely to topple over!!

Static Electricity

For the month of November we were looking at electricity. We looked at the types of electricity, sources of electricity and explored static electricity.

We used balloons to conduct static electricity and discovered how it can move our hair and even pieces of paper!

Working with Magnets

Magnets are fun. They can work like magic.

A magnet can push or pull other magnets.

They can use their power to pick up other metals.

We tested lots of things in our classroom to see if they were magnetic and we recorded our answers.


Building structures

The children were given task cards that illustrated a wide variety of structures, items or places. They were invited to pick a material of their choice (lollypop sticks with Velcro, straws, geomags, blocks, play dough etc) and to design and make their given items.

Some children were then challenged further by attempting to make their structure stable enough to carry a copy book, or to make their structure again using fewer pieces.

The girls compared their designs in terms of stability, materials used and design.

Making Helicopters

Ever wondered how helicopters stay up in the air and don’t fall down?


Fifth class girls looked at forces and why helicopters seem to defy gravity. We did this using paper to mimic the rotor blades of a helicopter.

We explored how varying the size, weight and shape of our rotor blades effected the way our helicopter spun.

We also discovered that it is the air pushing upwards on each rotor that keeps the helicopter spinning in the sky!

We had lots of fun testing our helicopters at different heights, shapes and sizes.

We even designed some of our rotors to see the colours spinning in the sky!

Building Igloos

As part of Aistear the girls in Senior Infants explored the theme of Polar Regions. We discovered that the Inuit people build igloos to shelter from the cold air, however we wanted to understand how these igloos are built.

We decided that we would build our own small scale igloos using sugar cubes.

After a lot of experimentation we discovered that we needed to stagger the cubes to ensure no air could travel through the gaps.

We designed some fantastic igloo masterpieces!


Engineering : Making Balloon Buggies

Balloon Buggies

We designed and made balloon buggies. Our teacher showed us a buggy with a balloon attached to it. We discussed how we might be able to make it move. The air from the balloon shot out through the tube and propelled the buggy forward like a rocket force. Using air to power something is called pneumatics. We examined the buggy and talked about what we thought might work well and what might slow it down. We discussed the forces that would work on the buggy. We knew that gravity would be pushing down on the buggy, slowing it down. We also knew that we would have to make sure friction did not slow it too much. We then set about designing and making our own buggies. It would be judged for three things

  1. Distance travelled
  2. Average speed
  3. Style

Designing our buggies First we set about drawing plans for our buggies. We drew out our plan.

We had heavy card, wheels, dowel, beads, straws, a piece of hose, sticky tape and a balloon.

Then we cut our card. We decided to give ours a pointy nose as we thought it would make it more aerodynamic and it would go faster.

The straws would be the axles. We cut two pieces 2cm wider than the body of the buggy. We cut the dowel 2cm longer than the straw. We attached the straw to the front and back of the buggy. We fed the dowel through the straw, making sure it could turn easily.

We decorated our buggy. Then we attached the wheels to the dowel and put beads on as bearings, to stop the wheels falling off. The wheels were a bit wobbly so we tried gluing them to the beads with the glue gun. That didn’t really work so we tried white-tak and that was better.

We attached the balloon to the hose and stuck it on the buggy with sticky tape. When we tried it at first, the balloon was dragging on the ground, so we moved the tube back so that the balloon was sitting on the buggy. We pointed the tube upwards, so that the balloon went up when it was blown up. We were ready to test it.

Balloon Buggy 2

Testing our buggies: Distance travelled First we tested our buggy to see how far it would travel. We laid a measuring tape down on the corridor, so we could measure easily. At first the buggy didn’t travel very far. We straightened the wheels, to reduce friction. It travelled 4.35m. We blew the balloon up harder. Next go it went 7.05m. We tried again it went 6.87m. Our best distance was 7.14m. We tested it 5 times and took an average of our results. We were in the lead. Unfortunately our balloon burst so we had to put a new one on. Our wheels were a bit wobbly too. We couldn’t get it to go any faster. Unfortunately, someone got a better distance than we did: 7.56m, so we didn’t win.

Testing our buggy's speed over 3m We decided to test our buggies over a distance of 3m because not all of the buggies were able to travel 5m. We did 5 tests and took the average of the 5 tests. We used a stopwatch to time the speed. Our test speeds were 5.44 sec 5.37 sec 5.26 sec 5.42 sec 5.28 sec. So we had an average of 5.354 secs. The fastest was 3.56sec.

View Movie - Balloon Buggy 3

It was difficult to be fair in this testing because sometimes the balloon was blown up harder than other times. It was difficult to be accurate with the stopwatch.

View Movie - Balloon Buggy 4

Science is Fun

In 4th class the girls were given the option to choose one science experiment per pair to carry out. They had great fun and tried lots of different experiments.

Match in a glass

What I needed: A plate, a glass, coloured water, a coin, a match and a lighter.

What I did: I bent the match in half and I put a coin on one half of it. i put that in the middle of the plate and poured the coloured water on the plate up to the surface of the coin. Finally I lit the match and quickly put the glass over the match and coin.

What happened? The coloured water flowed in the glass!

Why? I found out that the heat of the flame imparts energy to the gas trapped under the glass, raising the pressure and pushing against the water. When the flame is extinguished the air cools. Less pressure is exerted against the water, allowing it to flow into the glass.

CO2 Balloon

To do this experiment we needed: Baking soda, vinegar, empty bottle, balloon, a funnel and measuring spoons. The goal of our experiment was to demonstrate the power of gas produced when baking soda and vinegar are mixed together. The objective is for the balloon to be blown up by the gas that's created by the baking soda and the vinegar.

Using the funnel, we added baking soda to each balloon. We poured the vinegar into the bottle.

We carefully fitted the balloon over the bottle opening, being very careful not to drop the baking soda into the vinegar just yet.

Once the balloon was fitted snugly on the nozzle, we held up the balloon and allowed the baking soda to fall into the vinegar.

We observed the chemical reaction and effect on the balloon.

Making Crystals

We needed a small and a large measuring cup, a clean jam jar, crystal growing powders, a pencil, a rock and thread.


We put 33cl of water into the jam jar. Then we put the crystal powder in the same jar and heated it in the microwave for 30 seconds. We left this solution for 24 hours. We took one of the biggest crystals and tied a thread around it.

We then made another crystal in a different colour . The smaller crystals formed around the bigger crystal and it turned out beautifully.

Making our very own Lava Lamp

We needed: vegetable oil, water, food colouring, an Alka Seltzer tablet and a clean water bottle.

We filled the bottle 1/4 full with water and then filled the rest of the bottle with vegetable oil. I then poured in the food colouring and put in the Alka Seltzer tablet.


We found out that oil does not mix with water and the oil rises to the top. It really looked like a lava lamp. Also when we dropped the tablets in, the food colouring moved up and down and it looked amazing!!

Bouncing Eggs

To make a bouncing egg you need:

A jar A bottle of vinegar 1 egg

Fill the jar with vinegar and put the egg in the vinegar.

Wait for 24 hours and then the egg will become bouncy.

We found out that if you drop the egg under 18 centimetres it will bounce but if you drop the egg from a height of more than 18 centimetres it will crack!

Camera Obscura

We needed: A Pringles can, tracing paper, black tape, ruler, knife, pencil and a pin.

We found out how your eyes work and that when light bounces off objects it travels in straight lines. The retina of the eye receives the image of what is seen upside down. A message is sent to the brain and we see things correctly.

Colour Symphony

I needed: A flat baking tray, 3 different food colours, full fat milk, washing up liquid.

What I did: I carefully poured the milk into the tray so that it just covered the bottom. The I added 6-8 drops of different coloured food colouring onto the milk in different spots. Then I added about 5 drops of washing up liquid and watched the show!!

What I found out: I found out that the washing up liquid tries to break down the fat in the milk. With the colour added it is so cool to watch!! I also found that when you put the soap on top of the colouring it spreads to make a beautiful show.

Coke & Mentos = Foam Explosion!

Ingredients: 1 bottle of Coke. 1 packet of Mentoes Method:

  1. Put Coke into a clean bottle.
  2. Add Mentoes.
  3. Explosion!!

Rainbow Water

We needed a plate, a packet of Skittles and hot water.

We put the Skittles in a circle around the edge of the plate and we poured hot water into the centre of the plate.

The colour from the skittles melts off and flows into the water into the middle of the plate - creating a lovely rainbow.

We found that the hot water can melt the colour off the sweets but not the sweets themselves. The colour follows the water like a magnet into the centre of the plate.

Exploding Foam / Volcano

What we needed:
2 litre soda bottle 1/2 cup of 20 volume hydrogen peroxide liquid 1 tablespoon dry yeast 3 tablespoon of warm water Washing up liquid Food colouring A small cup Safety goggles


  1. Pour hydrogen peroxide into bottle.
  2. 8 drops of food colouring.
  3. Add washing up liquid and mix well.
  4. Add warm water and yeast into a different bowl.
  5. Add this mixture to the other bowl.
  6. Explosion!!

Walking Water

What we needed: 6 plastic cups, red, yellow and green food dye and kitchen roll.

What we did: We set out 7 cups. We filled every second cup starting from the beginning. We coloured the first and last cups red, the third cup is yellow and the fifth cup is blue.

We folded kitchen roll in half and cut off the bottom. Then we stood the paper with half in one cup and the other half in the other cup beside it. We left it to stand for 24 hours.

We found out that the water travels up the kitchen roll and into the other glass and then makes green. This is called capillary action. By the end of the day there is coloured water in each cup.

Snake Bubbles

What we needed: 1 sock, 1 plastic bottle of water, 1 container that the bottle fits into, elastic bands, scissors.

What we did: We cut the bottle to about 3/4 and kept the top part. We cut the sock to about 3/4 and kept the bottom part. We wrapped the sock around the bottle and made sure the bottom was nice and flat. We tied an elastic band around the bottle to make sure it was secure. We half filled the container with the bubble mixture. We dipped the bottle into the container. We then blew from where the cap was and long bubbles came out of the bottle.

We found out that there are millions of tiny holes in the sock so when you dip it into the bubble mixture lots of tiny bubbles come out and form one big long bubble.

Melting Ice

In Senior Infants we tested to see which materials would slow ice down from melting.

We used lots of different materials to investigate which material would be the best.

We used newspaper, cotton wool, plastic gloves and paper.

We worked in groups to predict, observe and record our results on a chart.

Our results were very interesting! It was so much fun!"

Making a Lava Lamp in Senior Infants

Children examined the properties of vegetable oil by mixing it with water and other substances.

They also observed and recorded the result of mixing an Alkaseltzer tablet with water.

They then mixed oil, water, food dye and an Alkaseltzer to make a lava lamp and observed and recorded the results.

Visit from an engineer

Caola's dad came in to talk to the girls in 2nd class. He is an engineer but he showed the girls lots of science experiments.

Firstly, we looked at floating and sinking. He explained to us about weight and density and how things float/ sink in water. To look at density further we made our very own lava lamp. We saw how oil and water never mix together and how the oil globules move through the water because it is lighter. Using food colouring, an alka seltzer and a light, it looks like a lava lamp.

Then we were able to chat to him about static electricity, as we knew lots about it! He showed us how the static electricity created on a balloon can move a can without touching it!

Lastly we looked at reactions. We saw what happens we vinegar and baking soda are mixed. Fionn put a balloon over a water bottle containing vinegar and the reaction between the baking powder and vinegar made the balloon inflate.

Science Blast

In March our class took part in ESB Science Blast in the RDS. It was fantastic. Our project was called "How Clean are Your Hands?"

Teaching Others about What We Learned

How Clean Are Our Hands?

When we were displaying our project in the RDS at the Science Blast we got lots of experience of talking about what we had done to research our topic. We were delighted then to get to go around different classes in the school and explain to the other children about the fun we had doing our research.

A trip to a Science / Technology environment

Our 4th class, Mrs Markey's, were lucky enough to get the chance to visit the Mastercard offices for a Girls4Tech exhibition. We were give langards and t-shirts and we were told all about Girls4Tech.

We went to several stations and learned about different types of technology and had to solve lots of different puzzles. We also learned how to code and how to use a credit card and so much more.

Big Data

Fraud Detection

Local Intelligence


All Things Digital


Overall it was a fantastic, fabulous, amazing day and I hope we can do it again someday. Thank you to Mastercard for inviting us.

Care of Our Environment

Making Bird Feeders

Lots of classes in the school made bird feeders for our school garden and for their gardens at home. These pictures show the girls in 5th class.

Firstly Mrs O Flynn told us a bit about different types of birds. We learnt about the Tree Creeper and some others. She also showed us a lovely box full of things that the girls in 3rd class had made - A Supermarket for Birds!

We were divided into groups of five with a bowl each. We each got about three pieces of bread to break up.

It was a bit tricky to make three pieces of bread become crumbs! We then added flour to the bread and it looked like snow. Nuts and seeds were also added to the powdery mixture as well as raisins and red dari.

The hardest part was mixing in the greasy lard (yuck!) but eventually we all managed to mix it in well.

Finally everyone took a big scoop of bird feed and put it into our pre-prepared milk/juice carton. We brought our cartons of bird feed home for our gardens. Mrs O Flynn used her sample bird feeders in our school garden.

Supermarket for Birds

In order to help our birds make their nests more comfortable, we created a "Supermarket for Birds" in our garden.

Litter Picking

In our school although the children drop little or no litter lots of litter blows in or is thrown in by passers-by. To keep our school lovely and tidy and to prevent any damage to the wildlife in the school garden, we set up a rota to do litter picking around the school every day.

Posted by Graine McGowan on Apr 30, 2019