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‘Yes we can!’ Stranmillis Students Shine at Primary Science Conference

Stranmillis students shared their innovative practice at a primary science conference held recently in the College.

This annual event, organised by Dr John McCullagh and Dr Andrea Doherty, highlights and celebrates the high standard of classroom teaching and the curriculum development work carried out by students during the course of the academic year. The conference enables students to fulfil some of the criteria for accreditation to the ‘Stranmillis Student Teachers’ College’ (SSTC), which is included in the Degree Enhancement Programme. Based on the Primary Science Teaching Trust’s ( ) ‘Teachers’ College’ model the accreditation requires student teachers to evidence their competence in teaching, disseminating and engaging with the policy and theory which underpin their practice. The skills and experiences gained through the course of the accreditation are designed to develop student teachers’ sense of efficacy and agency and provide opportunities for them to network with schools in their community. As well as going some way to enhancing the quality of current science education, the scheme aims to nurture the potential science leaders of the future.

Year 4 BEd Primary student Isabella Roberts enthused the audience with an account of her Playful Science lessons based on the Disney film ‘Up’, which included using helium balloons and pupils’ school bags to estimate how many balloons would be required to transport the character Carl Fredricksen’s house to South America. Year 3 students Rebecca Carson and Ross Addidle reported on their findings from the ‘Numeracy through Digital Science Enquiry Project’ where they used data-loggers connected to iPads to develop Key Stage 2 pupils’ science enquiry and numeracy skills. Leah Shaw (Year 4) described how her she drew on her Art specialism to design creative and cross-curricular science lessons based on the topic of ‘Houses and Homes’. In her keynote address recent graduate Jennifer Swann provided a thoughtful account of her ‘science journey’ throughout her time at Stranmillis and reflected on the skills and competences she calls upon in leading primary science at Corran Integrated Primary school.

Following the presentations the delegates had the opportunity to engage with the many displays of work completed by students from both the Primary and Post-primary programmes.

The conference concluded on a positive note, with the announcement that funding (£10,000) has been secured from the Primary Science Teaching Trust to support further research and development of the SSTC model. We would like to thank the Trust for their continued support and encouragement and, of course, all our dedicated students!


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