School Children Attend Maths and Science Boot Camp

Posted on: 13 June 2011

The first Maths and Science Boot Camp, organised by the Trinity Access Programmes and attended by over 65 primary and second level students, took place recently at Trinity College Dublin.  The week long programme gave students the unique opportunity to participate in challenging workshops and lab sessions in the areas of Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science.  They were also treated to campus tours, a visit to the Trinity Science Gallery, mentoring from current TCD students and much more. 

The Trinity Access Programmes form a central part of Trinity College’s plan to encourage young adults, adults, ethnic minority and Traveller students who come from socio-economic groups under-represented in higher education, to go to university.  The Maths and Science Boot Camp was delivered by TAP, with the assistance of Bridge 21, the Trinity Science Gallery and staff from the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science

Activities during the week included changing copper to gold in a Chemistry experiment, creating computer programmes with the use of Scratch technology, constructed nano-shaped ‘bucky balls’ for Physics and a microbiology experiment investigating the spread of bacteria.  The programme culminated in a presentation of project work and a graduation ceremony in the Edmund Burke Lecture Theatre where students’ projects from the week were assessed by a team of TCD scientists from the School of Biochemistry which included Ed Lavelle, Edel Mcneela and Karen Missteqr along with Irish Times science editor, Claire O’Connell.

The boot camp forms part of the Maths and Science Scholars Project which aims to engage with students beginning in 6th class and culminating in 6th year and includes annual workshops, demonstrations and seminars which compliment and support learning within the mathematics, science and technology curriculum. While the students are in primary school, the focus of the project is on building interest and enthusiasm for mathematics and science and raising aspirations in relation to third-level study.  Second level activities encourage and support students to take higher level mathematics and science and to make informed career choices. 

The programmes aim to foster the students’ love of mathematics and science and prepare them for high academic performance by helping them to build confidence in their academic abilities.  Alongside this enrichment project, a series of guidance seminars have been developed aimed at the Scholars’ parents and guardians, focusing on ways in which parents can nurture their children’s academic abilities and help them to succeed in an academic environment.