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The Venue

12 January 2017

RDS Primary Science Fair Expands to Belfast in 2017

RDS Primary Science Fair Expands to Belfast in 2017

  • Major 2017 expansion: inaugural Belfast Fair taking place this June & capacity doubled at Limerick Fair, 19-21 January - record number of participants; almost 7,500 across three cities.
  • Independent evaluation finds RDS Primary Science Fair internationally unique, and that 97% of students believe their science skills improve through participation.
  • Exhibits this year include: ‘Can we create a rainbow without rain?’ ‘Why do your hands go wrinkly in liquids?’ and ‘Where do the waves on the beach come from?’

The RDS Primary Science Fair will take place in Belfast for the first time on June 8-9 2017, having already doubled capacity at the 2017 Limerick Fair (January 19-21), just one year after expanding to the Mary Immaculate College venue. In total, the 2017 RDS Primary Science Fair will host a record number, almost 7,500 primary school students, who will exhibit their STEM projects across one of the three Fair venues: Dublin, Limerick and Belfast; 3,000 at the Dublin Fair.

Independent evaluation carried out in 2016 found the Fair to be unique on an international level through its methodology of whole-class, child-led approach to primary school STEM learning; this study also found that multi-annual participation has lasting impact at student, teacher and school levels.

Speaking at the RDS Primary Science Fair Dublin, which runs alongside the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, Michael Duffy, RDS Chief Executive, said: “The expansion of the RDS Primary Science Fair to Limerick last year was a great success, and we are delighted that capacity has doubled after just one year. We anticipate that the further expansion to Belfast this June will be similarly successful and we are really looking forward to that event. Between the three venues: Dublin, Limerick and Belfast, we will have almost 7,500  primary school students engaged in STEM-related projects at an early education age, which international studies show can be a crucially important stage for students’ long-term engagement with STEM.”

Independent evaluation of the Fair shows that 97% of students feel participation improves their science skills; that 80% of students feel their maths has improved through participation; that there is demand for the Fair to act as a continuous professional development opportunity for teachers; that almost all parents discussed the students’ STEM project or ideas related to the project at home; and that the Fair has a significant positive impact on students’ confidence, social skills, teamwork, and communication, in addition to equipping them with science skills.

Aideen Long, judge at the RDS Primary Science Fair and Professor of Molecular Medicine, TCD, said: “I look forward to judging at the Fair each January, it’s one of the highlights of the year for me. The enthusiasm and passion for science that the Fair brings out in these young students is brilliant to see first-hand. Through my professional work in the School of Medicine in Trinity College I can see the value of instilling the concepts of scientific thinking at an early age; it will be invaluable for these students in years to come.”

The aim of the Fair is to equip students with science and maths skills. It is been developed and fully managed by the RDS, is a non-competitive event and looks to engage the entire class in a science related project. The Fair taps into children’s natural curiosity, encouraging students to engage and question the everyday world around them.

Representing 24 counties from across Ireland, 120 primary school class projects will be exhibited by 3,000 pupils at the RDS Primary Science Fair Dublin from January 12-14 and an further 120 projects from 3,000 students will exhibit at the RDS Primary Science Fair Limerick from January 19-21. An additional 60 classes will exhibit at the RDS Primary Science Fair Belfast from June 8-9.

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