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Paired Science

Sanofi Paired Science Programme

The Multiple Sclerosis Paired Science programme was the brainchild of Colette Kearney, science teacher at Mt Sion CBS Secondary School in Waterford. Coordinated by Calmast it was extended to schools across Waterford City and Tramore. In 2017 & 2018 over 500 pupils directly participated in the programme. Sanofi, a Waterford based pharmaceutical company that manufactures therapies for MS was the industry partner in the programme.

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STEMreach Paired Science pairs one TY secondary pupil and one primary pupil in science investigation. Initially the TY students take part in a STEM training programme developed by Calmast dealing with child safety, Health and Safety and communicating science effectively. Over the course of six weeks, the pair work together with the older pupils taking the lead to teach their primary partners about a defined topic. This requires the older students to research the topic, to carefully think about how to structure the one-on-one class, how to communicate with their partner, how to present science activities to a primary school pupil in an engaging and relevant manner. Topics included in the 6 week programme are learning about the local pharma company Sanofi, a specific illness and a pharmaceutical product that Sanofi produce to treat the illness. The students also learnt about health and safety and did some science investigations. STEMreach Paired Science finishes with a giant class of almost 500 pupils with all participating pairs working together in one large paired science session followed by an award ceremony to recognise the students’ achievements. This creates a sense of community. Thus, STEMreach Paired Science at once strengthens communication skills, contributes to the participants’ personal development and significantly builds their STEM awareness.

STEMreach Paired Science involved far greater numbers than originally planned as there was strong demand from schools. This was possible through funding from Science Foundation Ireland / Smart Futures and by leveraging resources from Waterford Institute of Technology, Sanofi Waterford as the local industry partner and the local network, Promoting Literacy in Communities & Schools (PLICS), which includes local service providers, schools, school completion programmes, Waterford Library Services and DEIS Schools. PLICS is coordinated by the Waterford Area Partnership.