ESB Science Blast, delivered by the RDS, hosted an event today bringing together leaders in industry, the education sector, local government and STEM to highlight the importance of STEM education within society. According to the organisers behind ESB Science Blast, promoting and fostering a passion for STEM in primary school children is key to developing the critical skills and mindsets required to meet Ireland’s future skills needs.
Dr Niamh Shaw, ESA Champion, engineer, scientist, writer, and performer delivered the keynote address at the event discussing the positive impact of ESB Science Blast and how it has affected the lives of the pupils and teachers who participate.
Niamh is Ireland’s first and only ESA Champion in Education, an award bestowed on her in 2022 by ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher in recognition for her work in promoting space in her education and communications work.
Speaking about her involvement in the programme, Dr Niamh Shaw said “I am very passionate about being involved in the ESB Science Blast programme. It’s hugely important that we make children aware of STEM as a career choice, especially young girls. The programme helps to eliminate the idea that STEM is just physics or maths and can open young minds up to the possibility that STEM is all around us. And I believe it’s because each project is rooted in the children’s natural curiosity for the topic that they have decided to understand better.
“Another impact of the programme is that we are helping children to develop life-long skills in science and problem solving, by nurturing their innate curiosity about the world around them. This is where science, art and all STEM subjects have emerged from. A class starts with a simple question which they are encouraged to be curious about and throughout the project they develop communication skills, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. No matter the future career choice, these skills will have an impact on our society as a whole, equipping future generations with the skills needed to face challenges such as climate change and pandemics.”
Dr Shaw’s keynote address was followed by a panel discussion with experts in education and STEM including:
- Sorcha Browne Byrne, Assistant Lecturer Mathematics Education, Marino Institute of Education (MC and panellist)
- Frank Ó Tormaigh, Education Officer (Digital), COGG
- Dr. Claire Murphy, Chief Technical Officer Specialist | Anatomy Discipline | School of Medicine, TCD
- Veronica Ward, teacher and STEM learning facilitator, Dublin 7 Educate Together National School, Arran Quay
Speaking at the breakfast event today (28.02.23), Geraldine Ruane, Chief Executive of the RDS, said ” Under the RDS Science and Technology foundation pillar we set out to achieve impact at a child’s formative stage. It is not just about academic choices or career opportunities, we aim to develop scientifically literate citizens.
“Today we are bringing together leaders in industry, education, local government and STEM to highlight the importance of STEM education in our society and to reflect on the impact that the RDS’s Foundation flagship programme, ESB Science Blast programme, has had over the last five years. It’s also important for our stakeholders to meet and speak with our real STEM experts – the school pupils – to see the impact the programme has had.
“To meet the needs of an everchanging, rapidly evolving society, the RDS developed and has delivered the largest STEM-based primary school education programme in Ireland and across Europe: ESB Science Blast. The programme equips our young people with fundamental life-long scientific and problem-solving skills. The programme is a core building block for Ireland’s future preparing our children for the challenges and opportunities they may face in years to come. Our goal is to ensure that our young people see that science can and should be for everyone.”
The breakfast event was hosted as part of ESB Science Blast which is taking place in the RDS Simmonscourt all this week. ESB Science Blast, delivered by the RDS, is a STEM-focused education programme involving whole classes investigating the science behind a simple question, such as “how will climate change affect baby sharks?”.