The SFI Discover Primary Science and Maths (DPSM) programme originated in 2003 with the goal of introducing primary school students to science in a practical, hands-on, enjoyable and interactive way. Since 2010 the programme has been run in conjunction with the European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) Ireland which uses space to inspire and engage young people in science and technology in the world around them.
The DPSM programme facilitates Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in primary science by providing teachers with a Framework and planning tool for teaching inquiry-based learning and providing resources and classroom activity packs which can also be used by parents and students.
Teaching through inquiry
DPSM/ESERO framework for inquiry
DPSM/ESERO, in collaboration with teachers and science educators, have developed the following resources to support teaching science through inquiry in the Primary Classroom.
The DPSM/ESERO Framework for Inquiry has been developed by DPSM facilitators & teachers working with science education specialists and is designed to be used in the planning and teaching of a topic, or theme, on the SESE Science curriculum. The DPSM/ESERO Framework for Inquiry is designed to bring you through the inquiry based teaching and learning process as you plan and teach a particular topic or theme
- Introduction to the DPSM/ESERO Framework
- Blank DPSM/ESERO Framework
- Filled in DPSM/ESERO Framework for Inquiry
Here are samples of completed frameworks:
- 'Mighty Materials' sample completed DPSM/ESERO Framework (for Junior classes)
- 'Mighty Materials' sample completed DPSM/ESERO Framework (for Senior classes)
DPSM classroom activity teacher planning guide
There are over 100 classroom activities designed to support the teaching of Science and Maths available to download (in Irish and English) in the classroom activities section. The Classroom Activity Teacher Planning Guide sets out the DPSM activities in a guide to facilitate both teacher and school planning for Science teaching. Use the guide to identify at a glance activities which are:
- Suitable for different class levels
- Specific strands and strand units of the SESE Science/Maths curriculum to which the activities relate
- Learning objectives
- Opportunities for applying the skills of ‘working scientifically’ and ‘designing and making’
STEM reflection posters
It is important that students reflect on their learning - looking back on what has happened and looking forward to the possible extensions, applications, etc. of their learning. This is part of the process of the students taking some responsibility for their learning. These STEM Reflection Posters provide useful sentence starters for pupils as they look back on what they have learned and look forward to how can build on what they have learned.
New words poster
Why not focus on literacy while teaching your science class. Many teachers who have attended our CPD workshops have asked for our New Words Poster to be put on our website. Feel free to use it to collect and reflect on new words during class.
Themed frameworks for inquiry
As part of the DPSM/ESERO CPD programme, we are developing a range of themed activities using the DPSM/ESERO Framework for Inquiry. These bring together a number of the activities which can be found in the Classroom Activities section of the website under a specific theme.
In the Investigating Light DPSM/ESERO themed framework Learn, pupils investigate aspects of light and discover that light is a form of energy. Using rainbow spinners, they can learn that not only can white light be broken up into the rainbow colours, but also that the rainbow colours can be brought together to produce white light. This leads to investigating the reflection of light on various surfaces and at different angles and apply what they have discovered to how satellites work. Finally, they investigate refraction using different types of lenses and make a model telescope.
Engineering our Environment
Engineering our Environment provides an opportunity for pupils to be engineers. Using the DPSM/ESERO Framework for Inquiry, they investigate how materials may be used in construction, how forces act on objects, and identify some ways in which science and technology contribute positively to society. It brings together DPSM classroom activities such as Design a Bridge, Design and Make traffic lights and investigating amazing triangles in an Engineering themed framework for inquiry. The resource kit also includes cross curricular ideas and examples of how is was used in Scoil Chaitríona Junior School in Galway.
Our Solar System
Our Solar System Framework includes background information on the Solar System for teachers, a variety of activities, and a DPSM/ESERO themed framework for senior classes (3rd to 6th). Pupils investigate the sizes and scales in the Solar System: how big is big and how do all those planets fit into the solar system? The cross-curricular links section includes ideas for linking the Solar System to other areas of the primary curriculum.
Mars: the Red Planet
Working through this framework, pupils investigate could we ever live on Mars. The Mars Framework for Juniors has pupils designing Martians and wondering what the Martian landscape looks like. The Mars Framework for senior classes has the pupils investigating why Mars is red and how Martian canals formed. Includes the Primary Science classroom activities and some great pictures for your Interactive Whiteboard. Check out the cross-curricular Links page for great ideas for linking Mars to other areas of the primary curriculum.
Falling Things - Gravity and Air Resistance
The Falling Things - Gravity and Air Resistance focusses on investigating how forces act on objects. In the Framework for junior classes, pupils investigate how various objects fall, record their findings, and look at what does gravity. In the Framework for senior classes, a video of Felix Baumgartner’s Skydive from Space stimulates pupil discussion and questioning about gravity and the effect air resistance has on falling objects. Pupils design and make parachutes and analyse which parachute design is most effective.
A Journey into Space
Using the Journey into Space Framework, you can provide pupils with the opportunity investigate some of the key aspects involved in Space travel. Using the framework, pupils will design and make a foam rocket, investigate how best to clear dirty water while in space, and design a space buggy to get around when they get to Mars. Also contains ideas for linking to other areas of the curriculum.
The Power of Water
Floods are a natural and inevitable part of life in Ireland. The Power of Water booklet contains inquiry based classroom activities and background information for teachers. Explore some effects of climate change on flooding and then design and make model flood defences.
Inclusive approaches to Science
The Special Education Support Service, which aims to enhance the quality of teaching and learning, with particular reference to special educational provision has a range of resources to support inclusive approaches to teaching science.
This section outlines how differing categories of special educational need impact on teaching and learning. It also offers tips for teaching, along with additional resources and references. Categorising the complex and diverse nature of disability in this form is not intended to equate individuals with disability labels. Rather, these categories act as signposts that enable teachers to negotiate the social, psychological and biological factors that affect each individual pupil's learning and unique needs.
2. Primary Guidelines for Students with GLD - SESE Science
These guidelines have been designed by NCCA to enable students with Mild, Moderate and Severe & Profound General Learning Disabilities (GLD) to access SESE as presented in the Primary School Curriculum.
- Mild General Learning Disabilities
- Moderate General Learning Disabilities
- Severe & Profound General Learning Disabilities
3. Curriculum Access Tool
The Curriculum Access Tool for Students with General Learning Disability (CAT-GLD) is a framework to assist teachers in implementing the curriculum for students with General Learning Disability as outlined in the Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). This tool is now available to all teachers, please note that there is no password required to access the tool.
Teachers who have already attended a training day are registered with the Programme - you do not need to register again.
Discover Primary Science and Maths (DPSM) is the national programme to foster interest in science, technology engineering and maths among children in primary schools. Participating schools carry out a range of science and maths activities in the classroom and are also encouraged to undertake additional explorative activities and projects.
Teachers can attend a whole school hands-on induction afternoon, where they learn about undertaking science and maths activities in the classroom. An Award of Science and Maths Excellence is available to schools that go beyond basic participation and carry out a minimum requirement of additional explorative activities.
Resources and support
- Hands-on induction afternoon for schools (limited places available each year).
- Online access to easy-to-follow prescribed science and maths activities, aimed primarily at 8-12 year olds, though some activities are also suitable for junior classes. All activities can be used to develop primary science lessons.
- Guidelines and clear instructions for each activity.
- Easy to source equipment lists.
- Helpful hints for teachers and explanations of the science and maths background for each activity.
- Explanations of how activities link to the SESE curriculum.
- A network of Discover Primary Science and Maths Centres will offer exciting programmes to visiting Discover Primary Science and Maths Schools.
- A dedicated website which profile schools, introduce new activities and provide a members only section for registered teachers.
- Regular electronic newsletters which will give information pertinent to science and maths in primary schools and promote relevant science events.