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Science for Schools

Science for Schools


Welcome to our Science for School’s page. In 2013 we hosted a research experience for teacher’s program as part of a project called OXYEVOL which is funded by the European Research Council. This program offered two teachers an opportunity to spend four weeks of summer 2013 embedded within UCD’s Plant Palaeoecology and Palaeobiology research group. The teachers experienced life in research and expanded their understanding and interest in plant biology by spending time with the research team members. They learned about the various techniques used within our research group, including field work, laboratory skills and experimental design in the past atmosphere mini-worlds of the P√ČAC facility.

You can trace back over the teacher’s experiences last summer through their personal blogs (see below) to find out what really goes on in science labs at UCD, or download Transition Year resources that were developed as part of this program.

Watch Professor McElwain's TEDx talk on the consequences of climate change.

TY Resources

File Description
Plants of the Past PDF

TY Pack: Plants of the Past
Teachers Resources
Overview of Science for Schools
A brief presentation on the general aims of the Science for Schools program, what the teachers learned, and how they would improve it in the future.

Careers in Botany Overview presentation on the wealth of career options in botany/plant science/plant biology.

Plant Evolution
Presentation providing background information and student activities on aspects of plant evolution. For example: how have leaves evolved?; what is a seed?; how ancient are plants?

Introduction to Palaeoecology
Teacher presentation introducing background information and student activities in palaeoecology.

Student Activity 5.1 Teacher information sheet to set up Student Activity 5.1 'Leaf Margin and CLAMP analysis'

Student Activity 5.2 Teacher information sheet to set up Student Activity 5.2 'Comparing pollen tube growth' in Plants of the Past TY Pack.

Student Activity 6.1 (jpg files)
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 1
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 2
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 3
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 3 and box
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 4
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 4 and box
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 5
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 5 and box
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 6
Fossil Ginkgo Leaf 6 and box
Image files of fossil Ginkgo biloba stomata for teachers to complete Student Activity 6.1 'Calculating atmospheric CO2 from stomatal densities'.

Student Question Sheet Series of student questions related to Plants of the Past TY pack.

Science for Schools Web Links Collection of links to enhance Plants of the Past TY pack.



Science for Schools 2013

In 2013 the teachers who participated in this program and developed the TY resources were Louse Bailey and Eileen Nertney.

Louise Bailey

Read Louise Bailey's blog here....

Louise studied Zoology in UCD, graduating with a B.Sc. in 1999. Following her degree, she pursued a Ph.D studying the genetics of Mycobacterium bovis, which is a slow-growing aerobic bacterium that causes tuberculosis in cattle. After a number of years of research, she realised that her passion lay in teaching. She went on to complete a Higher Diploma in Education, graduating with first class honours. She has spent the past ten years teaching Biology and Junior Certificate Science in Wesley College. Currently she is subject co-ordinator of the Biology programme and of Transition Year Forensic Science. Her interest in OXYEVOL stemmed from a realisation of the lack of engagement of students with Botany. Her hope is that exposure to cutting edge Botany may inspire her to create a more relevant learning experience for her students.

Eileen Nurtney

Read Eileen Nertney's blog here....

Eileen completed a degree in Biological Sciences with Chemistry and Education in the University of Limerick, graduating with a 2.1 Honours degree, including a first class honours in Teaching in 2010. She then moved to London to take on the challenge of secondary teaching in a different setting for a year. Eileen has since returned to Ireland and having added two more years teaching to her CV, feels there are parts of the Biology curriculum that need to be freshened up and made more appealing to the students, in particular the plant biology section of the course. One of her ideologies as a teacher is that students should always have access to new, up-to-date information and research techniques in the sciences. It was for this reason she decided to become involved with this project. Of particular interest to Eileen is developing lesson ideas and experiments, both short-term classroom practicals and long-term project ideas; such as, measuring the effect of different conditions on the growth of plants and in more depth, the stomatal development of these plants based on their surroundings. Important to her in this, is finding a way for teachers to complete these experiments with the basic resources available to them. Eileen is aiming in particular to target this towards Transition Year students as an exciting way of presenting plant biology to them, with the hope that this will follow them through to the Leaving Cert course.




UCD Plant Palaeoecology and Palaeobiology Group Updated: February 2014
Professor J.C. McElwain