Teaching Space in Junior Classes with ESERO

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Teaching Space in Junior Classes

This ESERO Ireland and SFI’s Curious Minds Programme course uses space as a cross-curricular theme and aims to help teachers improve their understanding of and confidence in using a variety of space and STEM related activities and resources.

This course is an online version of the “Junior Rocket Scientists” course that was previously offered as a face-to-face course at Blackrock Castle Observatory and Lough Gur Heritage Centre between 2014 and 2019.

Technical Requirements

All our courses require broadband Internet access and participants need to be familiar with using the internet, downloading and installing software.

Course Objectives

The objective of the course is to assist participants in using teaching approaches that support science and numeracy skills in an integrated way across the curriculum for junior classes (Infants to 2nd class).

The course elements include:

  • A wide variety of classroom activities for junior students based on Earth in Space, the solar system, the Moon, the Sun, stars, rockets and aliens.
  • Pedagogical approaches to how young children learn about the Earth in Space, the Sun and the Moon.
  • Use of inquiry-based teaching and learning to support practical investigations in the classroom.
  • School Self Evaluation aims with an emphasis on evaluating and developing Science Skills.
  • Class plans to engage children with Space Week.
  • Aistear and Space planning
Expected Outcomes
  • Appreciate how space can be used as a theme in a wide range of curricular contexts.
  • Identify opportunities to apply mathematics and science skills in a cross-curricular way.
  • Understand how to conduct a class investigation, including the use of triggers, starter questions and how to “take the next step” 
  • Describe how the Moon as a theme promotes young children’s understanding of a wide range of astronomy and space concepts.
  • Identify, use and create activities with space, rockets and aliens as an imaginative theme in their teaching. 
  • Describe the benefits of schools’ participation in the and SFI’s Curious Minds Programme offers
  • Identify and use online resources and tools to support the use of Space as a theme. 
  • Plan future engagement with Space Week, appropriate to their own school organisation
  • Understand how to apply the school self-evaluation guidelines to their own teaching, as they consider how STEM can be improved throughout the school.
Course Duration

Delivered online, this course can be taken anytime between July 3rd and August 18th, 2023. Participants are required to engage meaningfully with online content for approximately 20 hours. Whilst participation and engagement with the course content will be primarily judged on the quality of their contributions, an attendance roll will be kept and a log of their time spent working online.

Course Author

Frances McCarthy is MTU’s Blackrock Castle Observatory Education and Outreach Officer. She is interested in all things space and passionate about STEM subjects in general. She develops curriculum material for SpaceWeek, delivers CPD and engages with learners of all ages. You’ll find her on the road with a portable planetarium and on the airwaves chatting about space and science topics.

Frances McCarthy photo
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