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Posted: 09 July 2008

UCD Science sparks the imagination of secondary school students

More than seventy fifth-year secondary school students from fifty-three schools throughout Ireland recently took part in the first ever UCD Science Summer School.

As part of the programme the students visited: the UCD School of Physics - where they were invited to build a telescope; the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - where they helped produce Paracetamol; the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science – where they examined climate change; the UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics – where they scripted computer programmes; the UCD Conway Institute – where they inoculated agar plates; the UCD School of Mathematical Sciences – where they tested the probability of winning in a draw; and the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science – where they analysed some DNA.

The students also visited the UCD School of Geological Sciences to experience the Ireland of 340 million years ago - when living in Ireland was like having the Bahamas on our doorstep – the Ireland of 240 million years ago - when Ireland was like the Sahara desert – and finished with more recent geological times in Ireland where they witnessed how the striped pattern in a deep-sea sediment core from offshore Ireland records the advance and retreat of ice sheets over the past few hundred thousand years.

“The aim of the UCD Science Summer School is to give secondary school students who are going into 6th year next September an opportunity to experience a day in the life of a UCD Science undergraduate student,” says Dr Orla Donoghue from the UCD Science Programme Office who co-ordinated many of the events. “With this year’s success, plans are already underway for next year’s Summer School.”


Discover Primary Science Awards

Also in June, students and teachers from 147 primary schools across Ireland visited the UCD Science stand at the Discover Primary Science awards. The theme for this year’s stand was the science behind memory and electricity.

“The interactive hands-on activities at the UCD Science stand made for an excellent experience for the children,” said Ruth Murphy, a primary school teacher from Griffith Barracks Multi-denominational School. “It is fabulous for the children to see the different ways of generating electricity and the illusions created with light and mirrors.”.

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Lisa Dwane and Natalie Delaney from Caritas College learning how to load a DNA gel at the UCD Conway Institute during the UCD Summer School