Mobile lab bringing science to schools

The Curiosity Cube is the brainchild of Merck to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by teaching them about lesser-known aspects of the subjects.
Mobile lab bringing science to schools

Pupils, Tom Aherne and Maurice O'Conor of Scoil Mhuire Naofa, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork with their tubes of microbiome after the Merck Curiosity cube visited their school. Picture: Adrian O'Herlihy

A mobile science lab has visited primary schools across Cork to educate children in the areas of science and technology.

Run by science-and-technology company Merck, the Curiosity Cube visited five schools in the county, including Scoil Mhuire Naofa and Scoil Chlíodhna, in Carrigtwohill, as well as Bunscoil Rinn an Cabhlaigh, in Cobh. They also stopped off at St Mary’s National School, St Joseph’s National School, and Gaelscoil Mhainistir Na Corann Baile, in Midleton.

The initiative forms part of a 70-stop European tour that will also include Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.

The Curiosity Cube is the brainchild of Merck to engage students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by teaching them about lesser-known aspects of the subjects.

It also provides children with the opportunity to conduct hands-on experiments with Merck scientists.

Pupils at each school spent the day learning about the microbiome — which helps our body to function properly — before using ‘bacteria robots’ to learn what influences the microbiome. Children taking part were even given the opportunity to create their own unique microbiome.

Fifth-class teacher at Gaelscoil Mhainistir Na Corann Baile, in Midleton, Clár Ní Néill praised the initiative.

“It was such a hands-on approach to teach the science curriculum and a unique opportunity for the students to get to see all the equipment and explore concepts that we might cover in schools sometimes, but in just a much more interesting way,” she said.

STEM co-ordinator at Gaelscoil Mhainistir Na Corann Baile, in Midleton, Sadie de Róiste, described the importance of the initiative.

“Students have been able to go outside, get involved and engaged in an immersive, interactive, child-orientated, small-group approach learning initiative,” Ms De Róiste said.

“Each of those groups is learning something new, something different, and they’re moving on, and they’re doing it in a positive, interactive way.”

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