Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Irish Primary Schools urged to ‘Spring’ into Science

~Greenwave Programme Helps Irish Primary Schools Monitor the Signs of Spring ~

Discover Science and Engineering is calling for all national primary schools to get involved withGreenwave 2012, the mass science project which sees primary students tracking the arrival of spring as it moves across the country.  When viewed from outer space, it is said that a ‘green wave’ begins in the south of Europe in February and as the temperature rises, it moves up across Europe travelling at approximately four miles per hour; similar to the speed at which a human walks. Last year 153 Irish primary schools took part in the Greenwave project, submitting 815 official records of common species and 4,572 weather observations. 

Between the months of February and March, students are asked to log their sightings of six species; ash, horse chestnut and hawthorn trees, the primrose, the swallow and frogspawn on the website. They are also asked to measure and record wind speed, rainfall and temperature. The results are recorded on www.greenwave.ie in order to map the arrival of spring.  The project also caters for Gaelscoileanna, with materials available in Irish on the website. 

Speaking at the launch of Greenwave at Dublin Zoo, Minister Sean Sherlock said:

“Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are vital to the growth and progress of our economy. To ensure we maintain that priority, we have to teach our children to appreciate their significance from an early age. The Greenwave initiative does just that giving children an opportunity to engage with science in an interesting and fun way by monitoring the signs of spring.  By dipping into the STEM subjects in an innovative and hands-on way at an early age, children can discover the enjoyment that comes from exploring science.”

The project allows schools to investigate whether the timing of spring is changing by noting the swallow’s arrival and other identifiers of spring.  The results are submitted to the website,www.greenwave.ie, and mapped to determine where and when spring starts and the pattern in which it moves across the country.

Speaking about Greenwave, Programme Director at Discover Science and Engineering, Peter Brabazon said:

“The Greenwave project offers students a hands-on experience in observing, measuring, classifying and recording the patterns of spring.  It is a practical way to get involved with the social, environment and scientific education (SESE) curriculum in Ireland. It also helps to develop students’ ICT skills in terms of recording and submitting their results online.  I urge all primary schools to get involved with this exciting project and to play their part in recording the arrival of spring in Europe.”

By taking part in the Greenwave project, schools will have completed part of Step 1 of the Discover Primary Science and Maths, Awards of Science & Maths Excellencehttp://www.primaryscience.ie/awards_12.php

During 2011, Greenwave was extended to 17 European countries ranging from Portugal and Greece in southern Europe to Denmark and Sweden in the north. A total of 1,888 official records of a range of species and weather conditions were submitted from these countries onto www.greenwave-europe.eu. The Greenwave Europe project will continue again in 2012

For further information/image requests:
Laura Wall / Morwenna Rice
01 260 5000

Notes to Editors
About Greenwave
Last year Greenwave was extended to Europe as part of the Fibonacci Project, with schools in 17 countries taking part ranging from Portugal and Greece in southern Europe to Denmark and Sweden in the north.

Each country has a number of participating schools who record sightings of two mandatory species (swallow and frogspawn) and two other species local to their area. Schools can also measure temperature on a daily basis, as well as submitting data from rain gauges and anemometers.

As with the Greenwave.ie site, participating schools can view their sightings and observations on an interactive map which provides an exciting demonstration of how the Green Wave moves across the continent.

Check out the Greenwave Europe site and keep an eye on the sightings timeline as the season unfolds – www.greenwave-europe.eu

About Discover Science and EngineeringDiscover Science & Engineering (DSE) which is currently managed by Forfás aims to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among students, teachers and members of the public.

Our mission is to contribute to Ireland’s continued growth and development as a society that has an active and informed interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Overall DSE’s objectives are to increase the numbers of students studying the physical sciences, promote a positive attitude to careers in STEM and to foster a greater understanding of science and maths and its value to Irish society.