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 620 schools with SFI Discover Science & Maths (DPSM) Awards and we hope even more schools will apply for the recognition they deserve in 2019/2020. 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
- Start early and plan to ensure all steps of the programme will be covered. Assign different tasks to different classes - Remember if each class meets one or two of the criteria the load is shared!
- Make sure the activities are suitable and accessible to all the children in the class.
- Keep investigations and activities relevant to the children’s everyday lives and environments.
- Take photos of each experiment as evidence for your Log of Evidence. Photos and pictures can tell as much as, or more than, long written accounts.
- Create a folder on the shared drive for teachers to upload their work as it is completed.
- Set up a STEM section on the school website or blog. Teachers (or students!) can then upload evidence all through the year. Make sure to organise headings under the relevant Steps.
- Assign one member of staff responsibility for compiling and submitting the Log of Evidence.
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 for deeper engagement, whole school involvement and external science engagement
Certificate of STEM
Suitable for schools starting out on the STEM journey. A minimum of two classes must participate.
Plaque of STEM
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, Technology, Engineering and Maths in the classroom. Remember - if they are divided out between classes then it's not too onerous for anyone!
Registration for Awards
From the 25th of September 2019 until the 20th of March 2020 you can register your school’s intention to apply for an SFI Discover Science & Maths Award. This is to give us an indication of how many schools will be participating in the 2019/2020 academic year.
After completing registration, you will receive an automatic email from firstname.lastname@example.org which contains login details for SESAME, enabling you to begin working on your application straight away. If you do not receive this email (and have checked your junk mail/spam filter), please contact email@example.com for help.
Completing your Application
All application forms must be completed through Science Foundation Ireland’s online system (SESAME) this year. Click here to download the guidance notes that will help you to use SESAME.
The online system will help you to create a digital Log of Evidence by allowing you to upload evidence saved in PDF format directly to the system for each step.
Approval from your school principal will be required before your application can be submitted to Science Foundation Ireland, and your principal will be emailed a link to electronically approve your application when it is ready.
Please note that although we will accept paper copies of your Log of Evidence, your accompanying 2019/2020 application form MUST be completed online. Logs of Evidence will NOT be accepted by email or saved onto a USB, CD or DVD.
The closing date for receipt of Log of Evidence and Application Form is Friday 24th of April 2020 at 1pm. Only application forms submitted through SESAME will be accepted. Please note that there will be no opportunity to provide additional material after your submission has been received.
Logs of Evidence
- Logs are simply evidence that the STEM work described overleaf has been carried out. Your log should provide only the evidence that the judging 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 Awards Criteria (eg Step 1 – Science, Step 2 – Technology, Step 3 - Engineering, Step 4 - Maths, Step 5 – STEM Show and Tell).
- The evidence included can be students’ accounts of work carried out, photos, videos, etc.
- Logs of Evidence can be stored on the school website or blog (remember to upload and organise evidence under the relevant Steps). Then simply include the URL in the online Awards application system.
- Digital Logs of evidence created using programmes such as MS Word, MS PowerPoint or other similar programmes saved in PDF format can be uploaded directly to the Awards online application system.
Note: While we celebrate your effort, we don’t need to see everything the school has done – just evidence that each criterion has been met.
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 school
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 87% 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 2020.