For the past number of years the staff and pupils in Gaelscoil Bhríde have been working hard developing confidence and competence in all STEM subjects. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). We were part of the NCCA Coding Iniative which saw us embark on a remarkable journey. Assisted by our hard working Coiste na dTuismitheoirí we invested in the necessary devices and resources to support this work. All classes from infants to Rang 6 were involved. Starting out in the younger classes, the pupils learnt how to programme and code Beebots. They were engaged in a series of plugged and unplugged activities to help develop their understanding of how the language of Code works. Moving on, the older classes explored Scratch Jr, and Lego We Do, creating innovative projects, linking into the work being done in the Science, Maths and English curricula. The children rose to the challenge, creating amazing work which didn’t go un-noticed! As part of the Digital Schools of Excellence Fund the pupils designed and modified various vehicles and using a Pasco Scientific Motion Sensor, recorded their speed, returning to modify their designs to create faster cars. They learnt not only about design, but also about how to create an effective code, that achieves the targets being sought. This is just one example of the work we undertook. We also conducted experiments exploring Temperature, Voltage and Current, Weather, Conductivity, Pressure and pH.  The pupils were fully immersed and competently led by Mr. P. Flynn and Múinteoir Marie Uí Ógáin.

Our Rang 3 pupils travelled to the RDS last year to showcase a project they created in Bleaist Eolaíochta, a science exhibition for Gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht schools. Our project received much praise and the pupils returned home with a beautiful award, in recognition of their outstanding work.

All of this, culminated with our school being contacted to represent Ireland in helping to launch European Code Week. This was a huge honour for our school and recognition from the amazing work being done in Gaelscoil Bhríde to promote coding & STEM. A word of thanks to Múinteoir Marie also, who has invested a massive amount of work in this area, driving our STEM initiative in school, affording the pupils at all levels, opportunities to work hands on at these projects. A special mention also to the pupils from Rang 6, who spoke at a live event, being broadcast from Brussels. Cormac O Riain, Eve Ní Chléirigh and Sarah Nic Colla received fantastic feedback and recognition for their articulate presentation, from not just our own country but also from many other European countries, Táimid an – bhródúil astu!

We celebrated Code Week in school, continuing to develop the children’s skills in IT and Coding. We work hard to prepare our pupils for life in the Twenty First Century. As the PDST Technology in Education reported “The pupils of Gaelscoil Durlas represented their school and Ireland so well…The future of coding in Ireland is certainly very bright indeed!