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Schools: Drama & Dreams Inspired by Space 14 - 15 Nov 2018

Dr Niamh Shaw will visit your school to deliver a science based workshop created to ignite a love of STEM. The workshop teaches children about astronomy in a fun and engaging way, through presentation, storytelling and drama. Part of Science Week 2018.

Beginning with a talk about Space, Niamh will share details of her mission to a Mars habitat, her trip to Russia to see a rocket launch and her zero gravity flight. She will talk about the scale of the Universe and our part it in and the importance of DREAMING BIG!

This creative drama workshop inspires the students to know that they can be anything they want to be.

Inspired by Niamh's life-long dream to go to Space, participating students will be asked to ‘Dream Big’ and imagine what it is they want to be when they grow up. We have an opportunity to embed in children at an early age, that they are the masters of their own destiny and have the capacity to achieve their dreams.

Learning outcomes will include an understanding of gravity, distance and time.

Background to these workshops...

Dr Niamh Shaw's pilot-study of learning science through drama was conducted and funded under the Discover Programme 2016 call in partnership with CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. The pilot workshop was targeted for girls in 3rd class. Using drama and presentation, Niamh worked with the students on teaching the scale of the planets in solar system, their orbits about the sun and the different gravitational forces on each planet. Three schools were visited in Cork, Limerick and Dublin and pre-workshop and post-workshop evaluations (created by Eric Jensen) based on these learning outcomes were distributed among the students. It was found that there was a 37% increase in knowledge of the students in these subject areas, a 22% increase positive attitudes towards science as a career, and a 43% positive increase visualising their future careers. 78% of the students involved enjoyed learning through drama. Given this preliminary data, there is evidence to pursue further the notion of using drama to teach science topics to children in this age category.

Curricular Links...

The drama workshops will explore many aspects of the drama curriculum as well as the English curriculum including: examining the relationship between story, theme and life experience; using insights arising out of dramatic action to draw conclusions about life and people; receptiveness to language; competence and confidence in using language; emotional and imaginative development through language; reflection on drama; and listening and responding.

In addition, all of these workshops support teachers and children in learning and exploring across the new national priority of STEM as the content draws on areas of the Science, Maths and Geography Curricula in particular. Children will be guided to use observation, investigation, measuring and learning about atoms, frequencies, our solar system and our place in space. Through this process they will also develop specific STEM related vocabulary alongside imaginative language development and ability to apply STEM learning in creative ways.

About Niamh Shaw...

Dr Niamh Shaw is an Irish engineer, scientist and performer. She is passionate about igniting people’s curiosity and particularly interested in doing this by combining creativity with science topics. She presents the human story of science, creating theatre shows, public events and contributions to media with this focus. She has set herself a life’s mission to get to space, as artist and explorer. She hopes that by sharing the human story behind such a venture, it will help us better understand our place in the story of space, and the beauty of our planet Earth.

Recently voted one of Ireland’s leading science communicators and STEAM specialists (merging science, technology, engineering, arts and maths), her contribution to science and its application to Irish life was acknowledged by Uachtaráin na hÉireann, President Michael D. Higgins at his annual St Patricks Day reception in 2017 in Áras an Uachtaráin. She is artist in residence at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, Humanities co-chair at 2018 Space Studies Programme, and the Dublin point of contact for Ireland’s national Space week.

Niamh provides specialised communication workshops for researchers and academics. She collaborates with research and science institutions, arts & media centres, private corporations and NGO’s to attract new audiences of all ages to science and space. She contributes to BBC’s monthly Sky at Night astronomy magazine and writes a multimedia column aimed at adults to encourage new ways to engage with STEM, for the online journal Headstuff .

Niamh believes that we can be many things at the same time. She is curious, always and embraces failure every day.

She wants you to experience science- with feeling.