Nov 30 2016 Posted: 13:06 GMT

Free online resource includes a series of science videos and support material for primary school teachers

As part of the Science and Technology Festival, which took place at the weekend, Galway’s future young scientists and science enthusiasts were drawn together in explosive, sticky and steamy investigations at the Kitchen Chemistry Workshops held during NUI Galway’s Science Festival Exhibition. This event marked the launch of a series of Kitchen Chemistry videos, which entice teachers and the public to engage in science, using materials from their own kitchen larders.

Kitchen Chemistry is one of the most popular events year on year during the Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, and this year saw the launch of a free online resource set. The set includes a series of free science videos and associated support materials for teachers to use with primary children of all ages in the science classroom. 

In 2010, Kitchen Chemistry began as an outreach venture in NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry when a team of postgraduate chemistry students designed a series of simple experiments and developed them into a science outreach roadshow for primary schools. Experiments were designed using simple household materials. Two years later, one of the founders, a then doctoral student, Dr Nicole Walshe worked with Dr Veronica McCauley in the School of Education to examine opportunities of translating these sporadic outreach visits into free online resources that could be shared nationally and beyond.

The development of the Kitchen Chemistry videos and resource materials is a result of this joint venture between the School of Education and the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway.

Dr Veronica McCauley, Science Education Lecturer at NUI Galway and staff leader in this resource design and development project, said: “In line with one of the core aims of the primary science curriculum, ‘to reinforce and stimulate curiosity and imagination through engagement in science’; these videos and support materials offer teachers and students opportunities to explore science beyond the classroom. They help to realise its everyday application with products found in our kitchens. As you can imagine, when you look at the videos, this was a fun and messy project to work on, and I hope that this ignites further exploration in science!”

The set of videos were designed by doctoral students from the College of Chemistry and student science teachers from the School of Education. 

Kitchen Chemistry resources offer primary teachers a collection of videos and classroom support material that capture novel and engaging aspects of chemistry-based science topics. The collection is available at www.sciencehooks.scoilnet.ie and is also available trí Ghaeilge.

Dr Rachel Quinlan, Vice Dean for the promotion of STEM, College of Science at NUI Galway, said: “Explore funding enables student-staff collaboration on research and resource development, often with benefits that go far beyond the University as in this case. Students brought their scientific expertise to the development, design and recording of these simple and creative science experiments, and now this inquiry can be ignited in schools and homes throughout the country, in addition to those classrooms already participating with NUI Galway Science students in the Kitchen Chemistry programme.”

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