Course Descriptions

Please see below our on-campus Spring 2024 courses. Students attend one course for the six week programme. No prior knowledge of any of the subjects is necessary.

Courses will take place on-campus at the University of Galway, except for Ag Cruthú le Códáil course will take place in in Ionad an Acadaimh, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Dhún na nGall.

Courses are subject to change.

Adventures through the Human Body: A Crash Course on Human Biology and How Medicines Work

This course will explore the inner workings of the human body! Students will first learn about DNA, which gives instructions on how to create every living thing. We will then consider the specialized cells and tissues that carry out niche roles in the body. Finally, we will look at how organs co-operate with each other to fulfill complex functions, such as capturing the nutrients we need from our food, and pumping oxygen-rich blood around the body. After getting to grips with how the different systems of the body work, we will then learn about how medicines can be used to treat diseases of these systems. We will examine the journey a medicine takes through the body, from absorption, to action, breakdown, and finally excretion. We will also explore how scientists search for new drug targets, the biological obstacles they must think about when designing medicines and the drug approval process. Along with lots of interesting discussions on each of the topics, each week of the course will feature hands-on activities or demonstrations to aid understanding of key concepts.  

This course’s activities include:  

  • Extracting DNA from fruit  
  • Making a cell structure model  
  • Making a life-size 2D model of the human body and its major organs  
  • Digestive system demonstration  
  • Enzymatic breakdown in the liver demonstration   
  • Filtration in the kidney demonstration 
  • Breathing action of the lungs demonstration  
  • Circulatory system game

Come along to have fun and to learn how to think like a Biomedical Scientist! 

Adventures through the Tree of Life: A Crash Course on all things Zoology 

Dive into the Wild and Wonderful World of the Animal Kingdom! From the deep palaeontological past to our own present-day ecosystems, you will get the opportunity to learn about various aspects of our wonderful Tree of Life. We will be learning about Palaeontology, Evolution, Phylogenetics and Ecology and why these subjects are so important in understanding the creatures which inhabit it and how they interact with the natural world and each other.
This class would be especially interesting for aspiring zoologists or anyone with a general interest in the animal kingdom. I hope to teach them about the “hidden science” behind the complex ecosystems and family trees of our natural world, allowing any young naturalist to learn key concepts in order to fully appreciate our wonderful and complex biosphere.

Each week will be roughly structured to cover broad themes, with fun activities to help us learn along the way! Starting at the beginning with our deep past in the first session, we will start with Palaeontology where we will be learning a short history of how Life started on planet Earth. The second session would focus on Evolution and how this process can truly shape organisms to fit right into any environment or niche available to them. Following with Phylogenetics in the third session, we would learn about the Tree of Life in more detail and how scientists were able to create this giant family tree consisting of every animal on earth. Ecology would be the topic for the fourth session, which would look at how different species are connected locally and globally through hundreds and thousands of “invisible” connections, and how easily the global ecological “Jenga tower” could come toppling down if the wrong species block were removed or compromised. In the fifth session, I would talk about my own area of research (Dichromatism, the difference in colour between males and females of a species, in Birds) and what it is like to be a PhD student. And to wrap it all up, the sixth session would consist of a visit to the University Zoology Museum and a Nature walk around the campus (weather permitting).

Ag Cruthú le Códáil (Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Dhún na nGall)

Beidh cúrsa ríomhaireachta spraíúl á chur ar fáil ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe do pháistí bunscoile in Ionad an Acadaimh, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Dhún na nGall. Bainfear úsáid as micriríomhairí ar nós an Raspberry Pi agus an BBC Micro: Bit, atá deartha go speisialta do pháistí. Gheobhaidh na páistí blaiseadh ar chódú, ar ríomheolaíocht agus ar eolaíocht mar chuid de na seisiúin seo. Cuirfear béime ar rudaí fisiceach a chruthú agus a ríomhchlárú ar nós róbait agus gléasanna cliste.  

Mar thoradh ar urraíocht fhlaithiúil ó Mheitheal Pleanála Teanga an Iarthuaiscirt tá lascaine ar an táille don chúrsa seo.  Beidh táille €50 in aghaidh an pháiste i gceist  anois (íslithe ó €160). Clúdaíonn an táille sin 6 sheisiún oiliúna chomh maith le hábhar ranga (nótaí / trealamh).

An entertaining computing course will be provided by University of Galway for primary school children in Ionad an Acadaimh, Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal. There will be a focus on microcomputers such as the Raspberry Pi and the BBC Micro:Bit, that are designed especially for children. The children will get a flavour of coding, computer science and science as a part of these sessions. Special emphasis will be put on physical creation and programming of various items such as robots and smart devices. 

As a result of generous funding provided by Meitheal Pleanála Teanga an Iarthuaiscirt there is a discount for this course. There will be a fee of €50 per child (reduced from €160). This fee covers 6 sessions as well as classroom materials (notes / equipment).

AI: Adventures: Exploring the Amazing World of Artificial Intelligence

AI Adventures is a course that introduces students to the amazing world of artificial intelligence (AI). In this course, students will learn what AI is, how it affects our lives and the world around us, and how they can create their own AI systems using Scratch. The course covers various topics such as AI and games, AI and images, AI and language, AI and music, and AI and ethics. Through videos, quizzes, activities, and projects, students will explore the concepts, examples, and applications of AI in a fun and engaging way. By the end of the course, students will have a better understanding of AI and its benefits and challenges, as well as develop their curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills.

Discover the Exciting World of Engineering 

Join us for an exciting journey into the world of engineering! In this fun and interactive course, you’ll learn all about electronic, civil, mechanical, biomedical, software, and aeronautical engineering. Each week, you’ll explore a different type of engineering through hands-on activities like building electronic circuits, mini-catapults, bridges, and even paper airplanes! You’ll discover what it’s like to be an engineer and explore all the different areas of engineering you can study. By the end of the course, you’ll have a solid understanding of what engineers do and how they make our world a better place.

Engineering the Future: An introduction to Civil Structural Engineering

There is civil engineering all around us. From the house we live in, to the roads we drive on, everything is built by civil engineers. But how do you make such huge structures from skyscrapers to long bridges to massive airports?
This course will introduce the students to the basic principles which govern the basis of all structures. The course will include hands-on activities each week where the students can see these principles at work. By the end of this course, the students will have knowledge about the different types of building materials, forces acting on structures, and how structures behave under these forces. Finally, the course will also introduce the concept of circularity which is of utmost importance today with global warming and climate change being at the forefront.

Topics include:

  • Introduction to Civil Engineering
  • Building materials
  • Shapes and structures
  • Forces
  • How structures fail
  • Climate change and circularity

Fundamentals of Computer Programming

This course focuses on developing the base of students to start with computer programming in a fun and easy way. A fun-to-do block-based programming tool called Scratch would be learned in the first few classes to develop an understanding of programming. After that, Python would be practiced to learn the basics of programming, which will enable the students to make small projects. The course content is as follows:

  • What is computer programming and why is it important for kids?
  • How to create a new project in Scratch
  • How to use blocks to create simple programs
  • How to use loops and conditions
  • Creating interactive games and adding sound and graphics to programs
  • Understanding error messages
  • Introduction to text-based programming languages (Python)
  • Why is Python a good programming language for kids?
  • Variables and data types
  • Operators and expressions
  • Input and output
  • Conditional statements
  • Loops
  • Data visualization (optional)

Throughout the course, it will be important to incorporate hands-on activities and projects that are age-appropriate and engaging for kids. It may also be helpful to provide resources and support for students to continue learning and exploring Python on their own. This course will help students grow their interest in coding and help them in future. 

Introduction to Ancient Classics.  HiStories, Scripts & Scribes

This course will retrace the footsteps of ancient civilisations and will explore what cultural evidence they left behind. We will begin our journey in Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, through to Classical Greece and Rome, and right up to the ‘dark’ Middle Ages.

 This course offers students an overview of Ancient, Classical, and Medieval histories and will encompass art, archaeology, culture, language, literature, and palaeography! Students will discover how to write their name in hieroglyphics, they will learn the Greek alphabet, and how to introduce themselves in Latin. Students will also have the opportunity to examine the ancient tools of writing. We will be using papyrus, wax-tablets, parchment, and reed pens to write like the Romans did.

 We will investigate the evidence as it survives to us, such as:

  • Cryptic cuneiform from Mesopotamia 
  • Enigmatic Egyptian hieroglyphs
  • The great Greek gods and goddesses
  • The razed ruins of Rome
  • Gladiators’ graffiti in Pompeii  
  • Ligneous letters from Roman soldiers
  • Marvellous medieval manuscripts

Introduction to Mechanical Engineering

This course is designed to introduce children to the fundamental concepts of mechanical engineering. Students will learn about the different types of machines and mechanisms, the principles of force, motion, and energy, and the basics of materials science. They will also be introduced to the design and construction of simple mechanical systems. The entire curriculum has been tailored with interactive activities that showcase the significance of mechanical engineering in an attractive manner, aimed at helping children grasp the value of this field in creating a better world. By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic principles of mechanical engineering, including force, motion, and energy.
  • Identify and explain different types of machines and mechanisms.
  • Understand the properties and characteristics of different materials used in mechanical engineering.
  • Apply the principles of mechanical engineering to design and build simple machines and mechanisms.
  • Work collaboratively in groups to design and build mechanical systems.

It is Bond, Hydrogen Bond

“I feel sorry for people who don’t understand anything about chemistry. They are missing an important source of happiness!” - Linus Pauling

Chemistry is part of our daily life: starting from the food we eat to the clothes we wear but is not always easy to understand how it can be a “source of happiness”.

In this course, we are going to do experiments (some of them even reproducible in your kitchen!) and learn how we can scientifically explain the outcome. The idea is to have an insight in our molecular world and make this experience as fun as it can be!

Experiments that we will do includes:
1) Combining matter to make your own soap
2) Reproduce a Volcano using acid/base chemistry
3) Find luminescence in natural product (i.e. spinach leaf or turmeric)
4) Extraction of strawberry’s DNA
5) The “Oobleck” of Dr. Seuss
…And much more!
Come along, wear your lab coat and goggles, and have fun! 

Math Magic: Exploring the Wonders of Mathematics 

Welcome to our Math Magic School, a fun and interactive program designed to ignite a passion for mathematics in young minds! This engaging course is tailored for primary students and aims to make math enjoyable, exciting, and approachable. Through a series of captivating activities, games, and real-life applications, students will embark on an unforgettable mathematical journey.  

 Topics that will be covered include: 

  1. Number Magic 
  2. Shape Quest: Exploring 2D and 3D shapes 
  3. Measurement Voyage: Understanding different units of measurement 
  4. Fractions and Decimals 
  5. Binary Numbers 
  6. Data representation 
  7. Puzzle solving

Mission: Improv-able 

In this course, students will engage in improvisation and devising as key skills in theatre-making. Improv is itself a form of performance, but the skills used in improv help students to navigate social situations, to think on their feet, and to build confidence in their ability to react in real-time. As theatre-making and drama trends more toward a devised and collaborative approach, this course will provide students with key skills for working collaboratively as part of a team. 

The course will include: 

- Introductory improvisation activities. 

- Development of a devised scene through improvisation. 

- Team-work exercises. Improvisation and devising only works in an environment in which compromise is encouraged. 

- Long-form improv: this kind of improvisation is often used in the development of devised scripts. 

- A lot of fun for everyone! 

Reading Adventures: Exploring Childrens Literature

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”.

In this course, students will become familiar with the history of children’s literature and the diversity of contemporary fiction for young readers. Students will have the opportunity to practise and develop their critical reading and critical thinking skills through reading excellent books by Irish and international authors and illustrators. Each week, we will focus on a different form or genre within children’s literature. These include:

  • Fantasy and Dystopia
  • Picturebooks
  • Graphic novels
  • Non-fiction
  • Cli-Fi (Climate Fiction)
  • Historical fiction
  • Sci-Fi
  • Detective
  • Folklore, Fairytale, and Mythology

You will also have the chance to talk about the books and authors that interest and inspire you.

Sounds Class! Analysing media and making your own radio show/podcast

"Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. This includes; television, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, video games, music, and all other forms of media."

Over this course you will;

  • Identify programme formats, production features and target audiences of different shows
  • Start the lifelong habit of active interaction with media, as opposed to passive consumption
  • Learn basic technical terms for radio, podcast & television production
  • Use storyboards and running orders to describe how a programme is structured
  • Plan segments for a show using the broadcast clock
  • Develop a production plan, divide up team roles, prepare a running order and script for your own show
  • Look at interview structures, skills, and plan an online audio interview with a person you admire
  • Use online recording sites, and free to download software to make a short programme which will be broadcast on Flirt FM 101.3, and uploaded to the station's Mixcloud to listen back later
  • If time permits, design visual assets to promote your show/podcast
  • Kick off your amazing career in media ;)

Weird stuff our ancestors did

History is the study of the past. It tells stories of what people did and how they lived.

During this course, stories of invasions, wars, Christianity, famine and a divided island are mixed with tales of the Vikings, the Black Death, life in castles, the Titanic tragedy, music, mobiles and computers. A major emphasis will be placed on the key political and social controversies of Irish history.

Topics that will be covered include:
• Oliver Cromwell and the War of the three Kingdoms
• The 1798 Rebellion
• The Great Famine
• Revolutionary Ireland
• Modern Ireland
• The ‘troubles'

Students will both individually and as part of groups become familiar with original documents from the past and learn how to interpret these sources. They will discover major figures from Ireland's past and explore how key events transformed the island.