Holy Trinity pupils STEP up to the mark
Pupils from Holy Trinity Primary School have ‘stepped’ up to the mark in science and technology as one of 15 schools across Northern Ireland to team up with an industry expert to explore how science affects our daily lives.
The west Belfast school took part in STEPS (Science and Technology Experts in Primary Schools), a programme which aims to develop children’s science and technology skills by introducing them to an expert working in the field.
Holy Trinity’s ‘expert’ was Clare Gilleece, an engineer employed by Scott Wilson Engineering Consultancy and Design, and she guided the pupils though the process of water purification.
“The Primary Seven children travelled to the Wastewater Heritage Centre at Duncrue Industrial Estate where they explored the Heritage Centre Museum and the water treatment and cleaning works,” said Holy Trinity PS Principal Clare Armstrong.
“They learned how our water is made safe for us to use. Miss Gilleece explained how science and technology are used in her work and assisted the children to develop a very successful extended project associated with her area of expertise.”
As part of the project they worked with some older students in the chemistry laboratories in St Mary’s Grammar School. The children worked closely with Miss Gilleece, and set up their own experiment for cleaning waste-water, using this knowledge to design and make a rainwater harvester.
“This was a hugely beneficial project for the pupils. The STEPS programme is designed to raise the interest in upper primary pupils in the applications of science and technology in the outside world, and broaden their horizons in terms of the economic and employment opportunities that can result from the science subjects,” said Mrs Armstrong.
The Holy Trinity pupils then presented the findings of their project to other schools, local scientists, technologists and engineers at events in St Mary’s University College and Stormont where they were hosted by Basil McCrea MLA.
The STEPS programme is managed by two former post-primary school teachers, Martin Brown and Colin Press, and supported by the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust. They have organised projects around science-based themes for several years to encourage children from both the primary and secondary sectors to engage in the areas of science, technology and maths.