STEM- SFI Curious Minds

Here in Newtowngore NS we are continuing to raise the awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects within our school community. Back in 2017/18 we were awarded with a plaque of excellence for participating in the Discover Primary Science Awards. 

In this school year 2022/23 we have been very busy promoting the STEM subjects and we are applying for the Gold Award. Please see below some of the activities we have completed. 


Living Things

Junior Infants-6th Class- Mammals

Observe, discuss and identify a variety of plants and animals found locally. Discuss native and non-native mammals to Ireland. Speakers from the Cuilcagh Geopark Group spoke to all classes about the mammals (native and non-native to Ireland)

Lungs- 3rd-6th Class

  1. Make a model of the lungs using a bottle and a balloon. Using balloons the pupils understood what happens to the diaphragm when the lungs expand and contract.

  1. Another hands on activity we completed was testing how much capacity our lungs had using a basin of water, straw, bottle and a measuring jug. Pupils were quite surprised how much air their lungs could hold.



Energy and Forces

Force- Friction

Junior Infants- 2nd Class

Observe and investigate the movement of objects such as toys on various materials and surfaces e.g. level and inclined surfaces rough and smooth surfaces

Erosion- 3rd-6th Class

Explore the effect of erosion on soft rocks through experimenting with sugar cubes. These sugar cubes acted as soft rocks (limestone) and we discussed the effect of these rocks in rivers and how they erode much faster than hard rocks (Granite). Each group started with 5 sugar cubes. They placed them in a tub with some pebbles and shook the tub for 30 seconds. They then observed the sugar cubes after each 30 seconds. They kept one sugar cube each time to see how it got smaller after each 30 seconds. We then ordered them largest to smallest.




Materials and Change

Junior Infants-2nd Class- Slime

Begin to investigate how materials may be changed by mixing. Pupils mixed cornflour, water, soap and food dye together and made slime. Pupils experimented with the correct ratio in order to make the correct texture of the slime.

3rd-6th – Dissolving Sugar cubes

investigate how materials may be changed by mixing and dissolving materials in water.

3rd-6th Class were discussing the formation of caves. In order to explain that soft rock is eroded much faster than hard wrock we used sugar cubes to show how quickly they dissolved. Pupils predicted how many drops of water it would take in order to dissolve the sugar cube.

3rd-6th Making Plaster of Paris

Investigate how materials may be changed by mixing and dissolving materials in water. Pupils experimented with the correct ratio in order to get the correct consistency using plaster of paris. Wen the correct consistency (creamy yoghurt) was achieved pupils poured the plaster of paris into fossil moulds.

Environmental Awareness and Care-

Junior Infants-6th Class

  • Observe and develop an awareness of living things in a range of habitats in local and wider environments.

A whole school activity was completed with the whole school where each child was given a living thing. We started with a animal at the bottom of the food chain and using a piece of string we matched the living things with other living things that have something in common with it (live on it, eat it, eaten by). This created a big web and pupils were aware of how living things live in a range of habitats.


  • identify and help to implement simple strategies for protecting, conserving and enhancing the environment planting trees, flowers developing a school garden engaging in anti-litter campaigns

Our school is set on the outskirts oof a rural village. We are very lucky to have a school garden and pupils are active in the maintenance of this garden. This year as part of national tree planting day, we planted a beech tree on our school grounds. We also sow wild flowers for the bees over the summer. Pupils and parents participate in an annual clean up- in May each year of the school garden.

Science Week Activities-all pupils

The whole school participated in various activities for Science Week including a Science Quiz, and a Virtual Zoom called That’s Nonsense. Pupils worked in mixed ability groups to complete the Science Quiz.

SFI Discover Centre-all pupils

We visited W5 in Belfast. Pupils participated in a Workshop called Fizz Bang Pop. Pupils carried out a host of experiments and investigated changes that were permanent or temporary. They also discovered the effects of liquid Nitrogen.

Green School Committee

A team of 3 members were elected as the green school committee. We are going for our 2nd Green School Flag- Energy. Pupils have been looking at ways to reduce energy around the school. We have decided to grow some plants and vegetables in our school garden to reduce the amount of energy used to transport goods to our locality. We have also planted trees to absorb the carbon dioxide in our community, reducing our carbon footprint. The importance of sustainability was also discussed. We discussed the ash disease that is killing our native ash tree. We must try to keep what we have and not let our resources be removed forever.



1. Newtowngore NS invested money in purchasing technology equipment for all the classes in the school. All pupils got a chance to learn and develop their coding skills with this new equipment. 

Junior and Senior Infants- Beebots

1st & 2nd Class- Bluebots

3rd- 6th Class Strawbees and Micro:bits



2.Micro:bit expert also visited our school and provided pupils and teachers training with the use of Micro:bits.

3. 3rd-6th Class were provided with Virtual Reality Headsets and got the chance to experience natural features (e.g. volcanoes, geysers, rivers) and a variety of famous cities.


1.Design and Make- Halloween theme

Junior Infants, Senior Infants, 1st & 2nd Class looked at bridges and talked about the shapes of bridges. Pupils had to plan and design a bridge that would support the pumpkins. Pupils then made and evaluated their bridges.





The Senior Room participated in the STEPS young Engineer Project. Pupils were divided into groups and were given the task of improving their community. Pupils had so many brilliant ideas but unfortunately each group could only choose 1 idea. Pupils then had to design idea, collect materials to make prototype, make prototype and present it to an Engineer. Each group presented it to the Engineer and feedback was very positive. Below you will see 3 prototypes.
1. Fantastic Feeder- a method of feeding your pet which will save you time.
2. Cleaner 2.0- a robot called Zara that is controlled by your voice or an app to do lots of jobs around the house.
3. Extendo 
legs- insert a hurt or injured leg into this machine and it will help exercise your leg and walk without pain or crutches.



3.Hosted an Engineer Speaker

3rd-6th Class spoke to Engineer Patrick O’Kelly-Lynch, a civil engineer. Patrick met with the classes virtually and presented a powerpoint explaining his job. Pupils were very interested when he told us about the Earthquak in New Zealand and the methods they used to ‘lift’ the houses.



1. Pupils celebrated Maths Week with lots of different activities. On Monday we had a school Kahoot! On Tuesday pupils completed problem solving activities in groups. The senior pupils explored the many numeracy apps on the iPads with the junior pupils on Wednesday. On Friday we had a Maths Quiz.



2.Pupils worked in groups of 3 completing a maths trail and cracking a code with differentiated tasks at each level which was colour-coded. Each group had a member from (Infants/Middle Group/Senior Group)On Friday the seniors had a maths table quiz with Greaghrahan NS.      

3.Pupils in Newtowngore NS are very lucky as they get a chance to bake and cook! Each term a group from all the classes in the school are chosen to choose a recipe, gather the ingredients, follow the recipe and bake/cook their food of choice. Pupils use their mathematical skills and knowledge to ensure the recipe is followed correctly.


Our focus on STEM this year was shared with Greaghrahan NS. 

Activities were shared with all the pupils and teachers from both schools.

Both schools visited Florence Court House and looked at the nature and gardens of Florencecourt House. Pupils explored the season of Autumn and looked for signs of Autumn. Pupils shared this trail with Greaghrahan NS.

The STEM showcase of Junior Infants – 2nd Class was STEAM and the themes were: Hibernation, Halloween, Autumnal Food in the Environment

Pupils shared their activities at each of the stations with Greagrahan NS.

1.Science: Floating and Sinking(pumpkins, leaves, apples, nuts),

2.Technology(Beebots/Bluebots- design a course for the squirrel to get the acorn),

3. Engineering( design a bridge for the pumpkins),

4.Art(Make Halloween Lanterns)

5.Maths(simple problems relating to an Autumn theme)

Senior Pupils’ shared their projects with Greaghrahan NS- Halloween Masks with a simple LED circuit, Design and make a Step Counter, Design and make a Robot with a moving limb, Virtual Reality Showcase.

Pupils from both schools enjoyed learning about all the different projects undertaken and having a go at creating their own projects supported by teachers and pupils.