Each year we are amazed by the incredible science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) work happening in schools like yours all over the country. For the year 2018/2019 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 2020/2021. 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
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 12th October 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 2020/2021 academic year.
After completing registration, you will receive an automatic email from firstname.lastname@example.org which contains login details for SESAME. If you do not receive this email (and have checked your junk mail/spam filter), please contact email@example.com for help. The application form will subsequently be issued in November 2020.
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.
Your 2020/2021 application form MUST be completed online. No hardcopy applications will be accepted. Logs of Evidence will NOT be accepted by email or saved onto a USB, CD or DVD.
The closing date for receipt of Application Form is Friday 26th March 2021. 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. The closing date for receipt of Log of Evidence is Friday 30th April 2021.
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.