The science of success as DIT brings science and research to primary schools

10 December 2012: The Focas Research Institute at DIT is a hive of research activity. Not only does it teach and develop the research skills of third level graduates, it also has a Grasshopper Programme which brings science and research to primary schools.

The Grasshopper Programme, developed by Dr Theresa Hedderman of the Focas Research Institute, is an interactive demonstration suitable for 5 -12 year olds. The Programme helps students at primary level to develop science and research skills by supporting problem/project based learning. By acting as a facilitator to guide and stimulate the thought process, primary level students can develop critical thinking, reasoning and research skills as well as professional development. As well as being fun, the programme aims to entice curiosity in younger children and give the older children an appreciation as to how science impacts on their world.

The success of the programme was recently demonstrated after DIT’s Focas Institute brought its Grasshopper Programme to Belmayne Educate Together.

Based on the success of the demonstration, the school have now set up an afterschool science club for the juniors with the science programme co-ordinated by Dr Theresa Hedderman.  In addition, the seniors entered a number of national science competitions with Dr Hedderman on hand for technical assistance. Of the three competitions entered, the seniors secured first place in two of them. The judges’ feedback was that they exhibited “exceptional conceptual understanding” and “something they were trying to teach first years at third level”.

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