Ireland’s secret past: unlocking our fossil heritage

Palaeontology, the study of fossils, occupies a unique position as a highly accessible science that triggers curiosity and the imagination, but has a surprisingly low profile amongst the Irish public. This pioneering project has reached out to hundreds of Irish children and adults via innovative hands-on, digital and interpersonal formats that encourage hypothesis-testing and active kinaesthetic learning. We developed bespoke resources tailored to nationally important fossils and delivered via a ground-breaking interactive exhibit hosted at national and regional science fairs. The exhibit, called ‘Fossil Crime Scene: Ireland’, showcased Irish fossils with a forensics twist and incorporated cutting-edge technology – 3D printing and X-ray fluorescence analysis – previously inaccessible to the public. The exhibit content was expanded into a series of curriculum-aligned activities delivered to schools, primarily those in disadvantaged communities. By raising the profile of palaeontology, this project will inspire curiosity in our ancient past at a national scale, ultimately reforming national science curricula and stimulating pursuit of STEM careers.

Quick Facts

Start

Jan 2019

End

March 2020

Funded By

SFI

Researchers

Dr Maria McNamara

Platform

Healthy Environment

Challenge

Environment, Materials

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