Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Patrick O'Donovan TD, yesterday announced 17 primary schools in Mayo have been awarded the SFI Curious Minds Award 2024.

Led by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the programme aims to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) among primary school students, parents, and teachers, nationwide in a fun, engaging way. 

Announcing the 2024 Curious Minds Awards at a visit to Kilbehenny National School, Knockrour, Kilbehenny, Co. Limerick (Platinum award-winners), Minister O’Donovan said: “I am delighted to announce the winners of this year’s SFI Curious Minds Awards. Congratulations to all involved – your individual and collective dedication and effort has paid off! Curiosity about science provides the building blocks to explore new ideas, increase knowledge and even unearth discoveries. I want to thank the schools and teachers who have facilitated such enthusiastic and productive participation among their students.”

The SFI Curious Minds Awards celebrate and recognise the participation of schools in hands-on, inquiry-based learning in STEM. Since launching twenty years ago, the programme has seen students exploring a wide range of STEM activities, from investigating renewable energy, egg drop challenges, growing vegetables, launching rockets, mini-beast hunts, learning about materials and maths through baking, design and make challenges, marble runs, enhancing their technology skills through coding, and using STEM to solve everyday problems. 

The Awards offer three categories for applicants: The Silver Award is aimed at schools starting out on the STEM journey and involves a minimum of two classes. The Gold Award, which is for schools further along their STEM journey, involves at least half of the classes in the school. The Platinum Award is for schools that have already achieved the Gold Award and want to challenge themselves to further integrate STEM into the school culture. This year, in Mayo, two schools received the Silver Award, 14 schools received the Gold Award, and one achieved the Platinum Award.

The schools’ achievements were celebrated in classrooms across the country during a virtual SFI Curious Minds Awards Ceremony held this morning, Friday, 14 June 2024. TV presenters Gráinne Bleasdale and Phil Smyth hosted a live-streamed event, which featured a number of exciting experiments. 

Commenting on the awards, Dr Ruth Freeman, Director, Science for Society at SFI, said: “The SFI Curious Minds Awards are a true highlight of the year, and reward the active and ongoing involvement of thousands of pupils nationwide in STEM-related activities. The winners’ interest in STEM inspires other pupils – both younger and older – to get and stay curious, all of which helps to build a culture and community of exploration and learning.”

The recipient schools from Mayo and the award types are:

School

Application Type

SN CROI MUIRE

Gold Award

BURRISCARRA N S

Silver Award

St. Attracta's N.S. Charlestown

Gold Award

SCOIL PHADRAIG

Silver Award

Culleens National School

Gold Award

Scoil Náisíunta Naomh Feichín

Gold Award

GAELSCOIL NA CRUAICHE

Gold Award

Scoil Naomh Bhríde

Gold Award

KNOCK N S

Gold Award

Scoil Mhuire Róibín

Gold Award

ST. JOSEPHS N. S.

Gold Award

SCOIL NAOMH BRID

Gold Award

SN MUINE CHONALLÁIN

Gold Award

Scoil Chomáin Naofa

Gold Award

Scoil Néifinn

Gold Award

Tamhnaigh an Fheadha

Platinum Award

Scoil Náisiúnta Corrchloch

Gold Award

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