Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science & Maths Awards

Each year we are amazed by the incredible science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) work happening in schools like yours all over the country. Last year we presented 641 schools with SFI Discover Science & Maths (DPSM) Awards and we hope even more schools will apply for the recognition they deserve in 2018/2019. Schools tell us that, as well as recognition, the Award brings a range of benefits; it provides a structure for STEM work, raises the profile of science in the school and among parents and increases whole school collaboration.

As a result of participating in the SFI Discover Science & Maths Awards:

  • 89% teachers reported an increase in school science activities
  • 81% teachers reported that parents are more aware of science activities in the school
  • 79% teachers reported an increase in science engagement at the whole-school level
  • 75% teachers reported a stronger sense of team-spirit amongst teachers in their schools
  • 67% teachers reported that they are now more comfortable teaching science

For a detailed guide to each step of the awards criteria, see the Awards Toolkit.

Tips from participating schools

  • Take a whole-school approach. The awards criteria are part of the science and maths curriculum anyway but it is a great incentive to receive an award for your efforts.
  • Start early and keep a record of the work being done throughout the year.
  • Make the SFI Discover Science & Maths Awards a retained item on the staff meeting agenda.
  • Share the workload and assign different tasks to different classes. Remember if each class meets one or two of the criteria the load is shared!

Each year it is so encouraging to see both schools that have really captured a whole school approach to engaging students in science, and schools that are starting this journey with a few of their classes.

This year to ensure we continue to recognise all this effort, two awards will be available as follows:

  • A Certificate of STEM work in School
  • A Plaque of STEM Excellence for deeper engagement, whole school involvement and external science engagement

DPSM certificate of STEM

Suitable for schools starting out on the STEM journey. A minimum of two classes must participate.

DPSM plaque of STEM excellence

Involve most classes i.e. more than half the number of classes in the school in some aspect of the steps outlined below e.g. investigations, using ICT and maths, trips, speaker visits, presenting at or attending the science open day in the school or other events.

We hope that you and your school will participate this year, there are five steps but we think you’ll find them helpful as a new way of bringing life to science and maths in the classroom and if they are divided out between classes then it's not too onerous for anyone!

Registration for Awards

From the 1st of October 2018 until the 15th of March 2019 you can register your school’s intention to apply for a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science & Maths Award. This is to give us an indication of how many schools will be participating in the 2018/2019 academic year. More details of registration will be available here on this webpage over the coming weeks.

Shortly after registration closes you will receive an application form which must accompany your Log of Evidence.

The closing date for receipt of Logs of Evidence accompanied by the application form is 1pm on Friday 3rd May 2019.

Logs of Evidence

  • Logs are simply evidence that the STEM work has been carried out. Your log should provide only the evidence that the adjudication panel needs to demonstrate that your school meets all the criteria required.
  • Logs should be divided, and marked clearly, into sections as per each Step of the Criteria (eg Step 1 – Science, Step 2 – Technology, Step 3 - Engineering, Step 4- Maths, Step 5 – STEM Showcase).
  • The evidence included can be students’ accounts of work carried out, photos, videos, etc.
  • Logs can be paper based or electronic. For the sake of the planet we recommend electronic!
  • Digital Logs of Evidence may be sent using USB, CD or DVD or send us a URL to your school website or blog where you (or your students!) can upload the evidence.

Advantages of using Digital Logs of Evidence

  • You are helping to save the planet
  • Blogs and websites can be easily seen by parents and the wider school community
  • It is more difficult to lose the Logs of Evidence as copies can be kept in the school
  • If students upload the work on the digital media then this can count as evidence in STEP 2 - Technology

For a detailed guide to each step of the awards criteria, see the Awards Toolkit

Please note: The submission of digital Logs of Evidence is increasing every year. Last year over 60% of participating schools presented digital evidence. We will be promoting the move towards submission of digital Logs of Evidence in the coming years with an eventual phasing out of hard copy Logs of Evidence by the end of 2019.