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Rebecca Dolan, Education Development Manager, Imaginosity

Rebecca Dolan, Education Development Manager, Imaginosity has not set their biography yet

It's hard not to love science, from watching seeds grow into plants, or seeing a plane fly in the sky or watching a bubbly explosion cause by vinegar and baking soda, the inner child in me loves the curiosity and the wonder that abound in science. Science is about questions, the what's? the whys? the how's? and also a lot of Wows and that is why we have decided to add more science to our calendar and have introduced a dedicated day to science. Science Saturday will be a multi-disciplinary exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths mixed in with a little Art.

The question you may ask is will my child like the new Science Saturdays and although biased I have to answer with a resounding YES! As a Discover Science Centre a lot of our school programming revolves around STEM. We design programmes for the national Science, Maths and Engineering weeks but we have found that adding elements of Music, Drama and Art helps children understand the complex ideas and concepts that we are teaching them. The Arts help widen the scope of science and makes it applies to all different learning styles and abilities, no longer should science be viewed as a subject in isolation, science is everywhere it connects everything and allows us to appreciate the world around us. This is the philosophy that our Science Saturdays will be founded on, an appreciation of how children learn and what keeps them interested. A "hands-on", multidisciplinary approach to learning that challenges the imagination and allows children to discover at their own pace, that's what our Science Saturday are about. But don't take my word for it come play, learn, discover and imagine at Imaginosity's Science Saturdays.

Tagged in: Science Saturdays
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Posted by on in Education

School Tours Rebeccas Blog

2013 was our busiest year yet for school tours as we welcomed over 10,000 school and preschool visitors. Our 'School Tour Season' as we affectionately term May and June at Imaginosity was super busy with over 7,000 visitors.

So what makes Imaginosity such a popular school tour venue? During 'School Tour Season' the answer would definitely be our exhibits! Imaginosity's exhibits are designed to be educational, inclusive, imaginative, empowering and plain old-fashioned fun. A school tour at Imaginosity encourages the children to role play, share, take risks in a safe environment, interact in new and exciting ways, learn about the world around them and allows children to learn at their own pace in their own way. In essence, our exhibits celebrate the power of play and champions a 'discovery-led' learning model which is at the heart of all children's museums.

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Imaginosity recently became involved with ReCreate; an exciting new project recently established just off The Long Mile Road in Dublin. We have been so impressed with Recreate and what they can offer our community that we just had to spread the word! Here, Kevin McLoughlin, ReCreate's Marketing/Membership Executive explains what goes on in ReCreate and how your organisation can benefit from the interesting work that they do.

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ReCreate is a national social enterprise that takes end of line and surplus stock from businesses and reuses them as arts materials. Our warehouse is full to the brim with all types of fantastic materials such as paper, wool, plastics, fabric, tubing, foam and many other unusual and unexpected surprises from signature businesses such as Avoca, Smurfit Kappa, Bewleys Coffee, Universal Records and many more.

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Posted by on in Education

Looking back at last week's very successful Engineers Week, we realise all that we achieved in such a short space of time! The aim of Engineers Week is to celebrate the engineering profession, to grow awareness of engineers in the community, and to showcase engineering as an exciting and diverse career option for students. We welcomed 628 very excited primary school pupils and their teachers to take part in our investigative, educational but most of all fun activities throughout the week.

For Imaginosity, Engineers Week allows us to show primary schools the important role that engineers play in the world around us and also the fun that can be had while utilising Science and Maths. With this in mind we developed two curriculum linked programmes "Box Monsters" and "Ping Pong Ball Catapults". If you are wondering what exactly "Box Monsters" and "Ping Pong Ball Catapults" can teach children about engineering, the short answer is lots!

The "Box Monsters" workshop uses basic principles of Pneumatics in order to make a box open its mouth wide like monster jaws. This workshop is designed for children in Junior Infants to 2nd class. The children firstly got the opportunity to decorate their "Box Monster" which excited and delighted everyone as they set about creating their very own cardboard creature. We at Imaginosity know that Pneumatics is an awfully big word and an even bigger concept to understand but the simplest explanation is that pneumatics is the energy of trapped air. We used lots of straws, Ziplock bags and boxes from the lovely people at Recreate (www.recreate.ie) to show this in a fun "hands-on" and most importantly age appropriate manner to children.

The "Ping Pong Ball Catapult" workshop was designed for children in 1st and 2nd class and is a great way of explaining the difference between stored/potential energy and Kinetic energy. You would be entitled at this point to ask how? This time we used lots of ice-lolly sticks, elastic bands and ping pong balls to understand the engineering behind catapults. The testing began as the children, tried and succeeded in reaching the targets that we had set up for these experiments.

Whether its in the classroom or at home, experimenting is all about having fun, creating and discovering the world around us; your children will learn even more if you join in with them. If you are stuck for ideas, don't worry there are loads of great resources out there for parents and teachers. As a Discover Centre member I would highly recommend the Discover Primary Science and Maths Website www.primaryscience.ie for loads of fun "hands-on" activities for children which can be tried out at home.

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We have just finished another busy Science Week at Imaginosity. We welcomed over 250 students to the museum to explore Bubbles, Colours, Fizzing, Foaming and Explosions. The interest and knowledge of the Junior Scientists participating in the workshops of the students, ranging from Junior Infants to 2nd class was amazing! The highlights of the week for me ranged from listening as a Senior Infant explained how air pressure worked to shape a bubble, to learning how to catch bubbles on a straw, taught to me by a group of children with special needs. Chemical experiments, stepping into bubbles, creating colourful glittery explosions: Science week 2013 certainly went off with a bang!

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It’s that time of year again when Imaginosity is deciding which charity partner we will support over the Christmas period. As a charity ourselves, we recognise how important support is from other organisations. In recent years we have supported Barnardos and Focus Ireland by hosting a “Giving Tree” in reception where staff and visitors can drop of age appropriate presents.  This year we have decided to help Crosscare in their urgent appeal for food. This is a stark reminder how even in the 21st century there are families in Ireland who struggle to put food on the table.

The discussion between the Imaginosity staff about which charity we would support this Christmas got me thinking about when is the right time to introduce the idea of charity and giving to young children. Christmas seems to be the perfect time to teach children about giving, but how easy is it to introduce the idea of charity to a child? And do you give them the choice of which charity to donate to?

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Posted by on in Education

October was all about ‘Amazing Maths’ at Imaginosity and, as the Education Development Manager, I for one couldn’t wait to get started. However, the programming for the month was not easy. When we decided to take part in Maths Week the first challenge to overcome was how to make maths fun and engaging for children under 9. As champions of the play to learn method favoured by many early educationalists and theorists such as Piaget and Vygotsky the challenge to incorporate maths was probably heightened by my own "Maths Phobia". I had all the classic symptoms in school, the palm sweating fear of getting called up to the front of class to recite my times tables, the head scratching awfulness of trying to solve quadratic equations, the blank expression when questioned on the sin, cos and tan of right angled triangles. How could I translate the maths I learnt in school to activities and workshops suitable for young children and avoid instilling in them “Maths phobia”? The answer I found that worked lay in getting to the heart of what maths really is and especially what maths skills enable us to do in the real world.

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