3-7-15 Lough Gur Stone Circle Rockets

3-7-15 Lough Gur Stone Circle Rockets

Primary school teachers from across Limerick city and county made their way to Lough Gur this week to attend an unlikely course titled “Space, it is Rocket Science!” This may seem like an unusual location to hold such a teacher training course, however with a newly recruited Lough Gur Development Patron, Astronaut Al Worden the worlds of Archaeology and Space Science have recently become not so far removed.

The 5 day professional development course took place from July 1st to 7th and covered topics such as astronomy, space station investigation, rocket building techniques and lunar mission activities. The purpose of this training was to encourage and equip teachers with the necessary training and information to bring back to their primary school students. The key objective of the training was to bring science, maths and engineering to primary level students in a fun and active way. The course was run by Science Foundation Ireland and was supported by the European Space Education Resource Office.

Lough Gur received Discover Primary Maths and Science Accreditation from Science Foundation Ireland in 2014 through their innovative interpretation and inclusion of Science through their historical tours. They have succeeded in lifting Maths off the page and have brought it to life in the prehistoric sites of Lough Gur. These are ideal sites that show the power of maths and science through engineering and the environment.

As part of this new approach to training the teachers were taken on a full three hour tour of the Lough Gur sites on Friday 3rd July by vice-chairperson of Lough Gur Development, Aine Barry. Throughout the morning Áine demonstrated how simple mathematical equations could be used to measure and build the earliest settlement sites. As the Great Grange Stone Circle is often referred to as an observatory the area makes for a perfect base to interpret the stars and constellations. Aine commented that “Science, maths and engineering, forms part of everything that surrounds us from the old churches, castles, tombs and even the lake, Lough Gur is an ideal location to discover the mysteries of science”

Principal of Kilmallock Primary School, John English commented “The Rocket Science course was a pleasure to attend. It was highly practical and provided teachers with useful experiments which they can redo in the classroom. The true value of the course will be its usefulness for children when teachers return to their schools with this new information and many concepts,” John highly recommended the course after completion. Other primary schools represented at the course include Lough Gur, Kilfinane, St. Paul’s in Dooradoyle, and Bruree.

The tutor for part of the programme was Dr. Vincent Casey, Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Limerick and a native of the Lough Gur area. Vincent commented that “the children are in good hands if the enthusiasm of the teachers is anything to go by”.

The strange and wonderful happenings that occur in the rural corners of Limerick on a weekly basis, is nothing short of astronomical. To book a Discover Primary Maths and Science tour with Lough Gur phone 061 385186 or email