Yard Toys STEM

We love our new STEM toys for yard. We’ve spent so many sunny and cloudy days building houses and cars, towers and trains. We love working together and problem solving what slides, what rolls and how we can put the gears to work. Here are some of our fabulous creations and inventions!

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) awards

Our S.T.E.M. award

We were delighted to receive our award from Discovery Primary Science and Maths (D.P.S.M.). A special thank you to Miss. Lavelle for organising the award and to Miss. Marica and Miss. Murphy that helped.  This is what D.P.S.M. had to say:

Congratulations to St. John Bosco J.B.S. on your award, we really enjoyed seeing the STEM work you’ve been involved in throughout the year. We were very impressed by how you’ve been keeping up the excellent work at home during school closures and really enjoyed seeing the amazing selection of boats the children designed, built and tested. Your application for a Certificate is of a very high standard. Keep up the fantastic STEM work!”

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Our S.T.E.M. Application Log of Evidence 2019-2020

Welcome to our Log of Evidence for 2019/2020. The boys had great fun taking part in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities. The examples below are only a small glimpse into the wonderful work that the children of St. John of Bosco J.B.S. do. We hope you enjoy it!

Step 1: Science


Miss. Lavelle’s 1st class took part in Space week. It was held between 4th and 10th October 2019.

First, the boys learnt about Neil Armstrong and the moon landing.


They made a list of 10 things that they would take to space in their rocket.


They got to make constellations using play dough and toothpicks.




The boys wrote about what they did in their copies. They also created and named their own constellations!



Miss. Marica’s 1st class were also learning about Space and it was a blast! They learnt about the Solar System, the stars and the galaxies. They created the Solar System, their own Galaxy  and constructed their own rocket! They were over the moon with their creations!

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Science week this year was held between 10th and 17th November 2019. Here are some of the experiments carried out in Miss. Lavelle’s class.

Dancing Raisins


We put fizzy water in a cup and then added some raisins. They looked like they were dancing!

The raisin is denser than the water. However, the bubbles get trapped by the grooves in the raisin, helping it to float back to the surface. When the bubbles pop, the raisin sinks back down.

Experiment with Flowers


We put white flowers into a glass. We added water and different food colouring into each glass. We left it for a while and noticed that the petals had changed colour because of the food colouring. This is because the water and food colouring travelled up the stem of the plant into the leaves and flowers.

Singing Glass Experiment 


When we hit a glass, it makes a sound because it vibrates. When you run a wet finger around the rim of a glass it repeatedly sticks and then slides. This makes the glass vibrate and produce a sound. When you do this with water in the glass, both the water and the glass vibrate. Changing the amount of water in the glass changes the way it vibrates and this changes the note you hear.

Floating and Sinking


The boys got to predict what they thought would float and what would sink. Then they got to test them.

Inflate a Balloon with Yeast

We put 2 tablespoons of dry yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of lukewarm water into a bottles. Next, we stretched the balloon over the mouth of a bottle. We waited a little while and the balloon started to inflate!











The yeast is a microscopic fungus that converts sugar into carbon dioxide. The bubbles they saw were tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that the yeast was producing as it ‘ate’ the sugar. We added lukewarm water because yeast thrives in this type of environment.

The balloon kept getting bigger and bigger because the yeast was continuing to react, it converted more and more sugar into carbon dioxide gas. This gas was trapped in the balloon, making it inflate as if by magic!

Secret Messages


We used lemon juice to write a secret message on a piece of paper.


Using microscopes

The boys enjoyed using microscopes and looking at microscope slides.

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Miss Lavelle’s STEM Challenge: Build a boat out of tin-foil that will float and hold marbles

First, the boys planned what their tin-foil boat was going to look like. All the boys worked so well together.



Next, they got to create their ideas.



Then they tested their idea. They counted how many marbles the boat would hold until it sank!


This boat was the best as it held 18 marbles before it sank!











Materials and Change

Miss. Marica’s class conducted the Skittles experiment. They noticed that Skittles creates a rainbow of colours that do not mix when hot water is poured over them. The really interesting part was when we found out that cold water makes them mix. We were so amazed!


Cold water and skittles…



Life Cycles

Miss. Marica’s class studied the life cycle of a butterfly.




Colour Wheel 

Miss. Murphy’s 1st class were experimenting with primary colours to create secondary colours. They learnt that primary colours are colours that cannot be made by mixing combinations of other colours. Red, yellow, and blue are the main primary colours. Secondary colours are made by mixing two primary colours. Green, purple and orange are all secondary colours. Tertiary colours are made by mixing secondary and primary colours.


Investigating Magnets and Materials 

Miss. Murphy’s class had lot’s of fun investigating magnets and materials. They learnt that a magnet is an object that is made of materials that create a magnetic field. Magnets have at least one north pole and one south pole.

Magnets attract, or pull, things that are made with iron. Paper clips, scissors, screws, teacher’s whiteboard are just a few classroom objects, that are magnetic. They learnt through experiment that a magnet will not attract paper, rubber, wood, or plastic.





Step 2: Technology

The first class teachers compiled a list of STEM activities that the children could carry out at home during the school closure due to the coronavirus.

STEM activities 1st Class 2020

These are some of the pictures the boys sent to Miss. Lavelle after they made their boat at home. Well done boys!

This is Louis’ boat.

Adam e- mailed us to say that he used a milk carton, skewer sticks, paper, masking tape and cardboard to make his boat and painted it!

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This is Luke’s boat.

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Rían made this beautiful boat with his brother. He used a plastic egg tray, tin-foil, straws and decorated some paper sails. He worked very hard making the boat and it even sails!

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James had so much fun making his boat and got to float it in his bath!


The Coyle family had loads of fun making boats. They happily spent over two hours drawing, making and playing with their boats!

This is Daniel Coyle’s boat!

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This is Ryan’s boat.

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Colton e-mailed us to say that he really enjoyed making his boat and might even make another!

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Ruairi’s boat is made out of Lego and tin-foil.

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Oisín made a dino-pirate ship. It floated for a little while but the pirate made it too heavy and it sank!

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This is Daniel Cush’s boat. He e-mailed us to say he really enjoyed making it.

This is Aaron’s boat.

Kaleb made a boat too.

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For Easter, we gathered together websites of zoos, museums and aqua-parks. Some of which allow you to go on a virtual tour!

Easter Break Activities



Step 3: Engineering

Engineers Week 2020

Miss. Lavelle’s class took part in Engineers week (29th February-6th March). First we talked about the different types of engineers there are. Then we talked about the skills and qualities you would need to have to be a good engineer.



The boys got to make lots of different structures. On Monday their challenge was to build a structure that would hold a tennis ball. They were only given 25 straws and 60 c.m. of tape.

First the boys got to plan what they would like their structure to look like. They worked so well as a team to discuss their ideas and chose the best one for the group.



Here are some of their sketches…



They got to work on making their design.






Two groups made a structure that would hold the tennis ball.





The boys looked at bridges from around the world. We looked at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Tower Bridge in London and Ponte Vecchio in Florence. From discussing how these bridges looked like they designed bridges of their own.




We studied some famous engineers such as Thomas Telford too.

Then the boys got to make bridges in their groups using straws and masking tape.




The boys looked at the tallest buildings around the world. The top five were:

  1. Burj Khalifa in Dubai
  2.  Shanghai Tower in China
  3.  Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower in Saudia Arabia
  4. Ping-An Finance Centre in China
  5.  Golden Finance 117 in China

The boys were then challenged to make the tallest structure they could using paper cups.


The boys got to make a marble run. They made it from cardboard. Miss. Lavelle turned the tables on their side so the boys had something to stick the cardboard against.

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The boys really enjoyed the activities during engineers week. Lots of the boys in Miss. Lavelle’s class said that they would like to be engineers by the end of the week!


Miss. Marica’s class also enjoyed celebrating Engineering Week. Their favourite activity was constructing a bridge out of paper, paper clips and tape; that would hold up an orange. They loved working in a team and using a budget of paper and tape, as well as predicting whether our bridge would hold or not.





Miss. Marica’s class celebrate STEM every Thursday!



Christmas STEM

Miss. Marica’s class really enjoyed Christmas STEM activities from creating snowflakes out of lollipops and buttons, Christmas trees out of plastic cups, chimneys out of building blocks and paper chains using the candy cane design. It’s been so fun working as a team too!




The boys in Miss. Murphy’s class were inspired by Elfie (their elf on the shelf). The boys constructed Christmas trees and made a fantastic job.






Step 4: Maths

As part of Maths Week (12th-18th October), Miss. Lavelle’s class were given lots of different Maths challenges and activities to do. Their first challenge was to estimate and count how many pom-poms were in the jar.


There were 137 pom-poms in the jar. Aaron’s guess was closest. He guessed that there were 107 pom-poms in the jar and got to take a prize from the prize box!

The boys did a timed mental Maths activity sheet every day during the week. Lots of boys were beating their time from the day before.


We thought about how we could be even more creative with Maths. The boys looked at work by a famous artist called Wassily Kandinsky. Then they drew and painted circles, just like his!



The boys did a Maths trail. They got to estimate, count, add, measure and draw lots of different shapes in our playground.



The boys looked at how school life was different in the past in comparison to what it is like now. They got to look at Venn diagrams and sort the pictures out.



On the last day of Maths week, Miss Lavelle’s class enjoyed making rice crispy buns after all of their hard work during the week!



Miss. Marica’s class also took part in Maths week. We love Maths in our school! They begin each morning with Maths morning activities with activities that include counting and sharing.



Miss. Marica’s class took part in a Maths trail.




Bingo was their favourite game of the week, and they got to practice their numbers 0-100. There’s always so many opportunities for learning!


Miss. Marica integrated their Nature Table into Maths Week, counting conkers, leaves, corn and pumpkins! How many conkers can you see?


And… the best part of all.. Miss. Marica’s class won ‘Guess the Jellies in the Jar’ Whole School Challenge! Miss. Marica’s boys went home with happy smiles and full tummies!

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Miss. Marica’s class enjoyed learning about Time and to be more creative; created their own personal clocks. It was definitely worth their time!