The Next Generation of Scientists

The Next Generation of Scientists are being inspired at Scoil Aonghusa CNS

Scoil Aonghusa CNS pupils recently attended the seventh annual Munster Maths and Science Family Fair in Mallow. The aim of the event which is organised by the Mallow Development Partnership in association with Cork County Council and Mallow Chamber is to create awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths by showcasing exhibits from industry, research institutes, third level institutions, science clubs and local schools.

Pupils from the school saw all types of weirds and wonderful things at the fair. They met the army bomb disposal unit with their bomb disposal robot. They did lots of fun things such as putting together a digestive system model, did some 3D printing and tried out some virtual reality games. They also had the opportunity to speak to some students from local colleges, a CIT chemical engineering student told them she hoped to specialise in burn treatments.

Pupils from Mr Buckley’s senior classroom at Scoil Aonghusa took a project called “ Balloon Rocket Cars” which investigated Newton’s Laws of Motion:

1. Objects at rest will stay at rest and objects in motion will stay in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. In other words, the forces that push a rocket up must be stronger than the force of gravity pulling it down.

2. For every action there is always an opposite and equal reaction. When an action takes place, like gases escaping from the rocket, a reaction follows – the rocket rises in the air.

The children made rocket cars which were powered by pressurised gas..air in a balloon. The air in the balloon is effectively gas under pressure. The air pushes against the balloon, causing it to expand, but the balloon is also pushing back on the air. The pressure of the balloon pushes the air right out through a nozzle, which creates thrust that propels the car forward.

After the fun of the fair, the school has decided to learn a little more about some bigger rockets and will spend some time over the month learning about NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration), some space missions, the international space station and the solar system.  NASA are currently allowing children to send their names to travel on the next space shuttle going to Mars. The children are super excited to learn that their names might actually go to space on the ATLAS V 401 shuttle in May 2018. They will all getting their very own replica NASA boarding pass to take home.

The school will also be starting computer programming with the children in small project work groups over the next year. Learning how to code helps children learn to think outside the box and solve all sorts of problems. Coding requires a child to create and build something, its challenges them to look at the world differently and shows them that they can take a risk to build and design software that will get a computer to do what they want. The children will use Scratch programming to do this, have a look at their website, the software is free so you can even have a go yourself!

Dr Gerome Breen, Senior Research Scientist and Associate Professor at King’s College, London, a regular visitor to the Mallow area, was delighted to hear about the Scoil Aonghusa pupils scientific endeavors and said “I am impressed that the school is giving the children opportunities to learn about and take part in science and technology at an early age”.