Budding young scientists from Portstewart are celebrating double success at the prestigious Science Prize 2017 ceremony in London.
Portstewart and St Colum’s primary schools entered their joint STEM project, Marvellous Movers, in the Rolls Royce-hosted awards.
With an eco-focused, engineering-based project that shared expertise and resources between the two schools involving over 420 pupils, the Portstewart schools were shortlisted from around 2,000 entries across the UK to the final six. At the evening in the Science Museum, London, there were four prizes up for grabs: top prize of £15k, second of £5k, Rolls Royce Employee Award and the Eden Award.
The latter - first to be announced - was presented by Sir Tim Smit CEO of Eden Project.
“As he introduced the award it sounded like our project but we dared not believe it,” recalled said Gayle Murray, P3 teacher Portstewart PS. “When he said they were unanimous in their decision we were extremely proud of the recognition for the fact our project was eco-focused from the outset.”
The team members barely had time to draw breath before a further honour came their way in the Rolls Royce Science Prize.
“When the runners up award was being announced we were still so excited by our first success that we couldn’t believe the name announced was Marvellous Movers again! This prize also comes with a great cash fund for both schools to continue the legacy of the project,” said Michele Shaw, P5 teacher St Colum’s.
Project leader, Louise Gilmore was delighted by the result: “We can’t believe we’re bringing back two such lauded awards from this event.”
The Science Prize has three main objectives: recognise and reward excellence in science teaching; promote sustainable teaching ideas that address specific needs in schools and colleges and contribute to teachers’ continuing professional development.
Marvellous Movers challenged the children to work collaboratively on design, making and powering moving vehicles using recycled materials and renewable energy sources. As eco-schools, they aim to make sustainability an integral part of school life
Pupils of both schools are enjoying their success – many got to stay up late to watch the live streaming from the Science Museum.
Principals, Alan Millar of Portstewart and Sinead McCullagh of St Colum’s, welcomed their winning team home in front of assemblies. In a joint statement, they said: “We’re proud of both staff and pupils as they collaborated well to ensure a meaningful exchange of skills, resources and a positive outcome for every individual child.
“We would now like to extend this thanks to Dominican College and our local community of business people, council, Flowerfield Arts Centre, governors and parents for their support of the project.”
Elected representatives also added their congratulations following the double triumph.