The Centre for the Advancement of science and mathematics teaching and learning (CASTeL)

Twin centre

The Centre for the Advancement of science and mathematics teaching and learning (CASTeL)
St. Patrick's College
Dublin 9


Contact person

Dr. Cliona Murphy
Education Department
St. Patrick's College
Dublin 9, Ireland

Phone: +353 1 8842153

E-mail: Please enable JavaScript to reveal the Email address

National website containing information about Fibonacci

CASTeL / FORFAS - short description


The partnership between SPD and FORFAS within this application brings together expertise in pedagogy and dissemination of IBSE from two significant organisations within an Irish context.

Activities within the Fibonacci project

  • The programme is aimed at providing the participants with opportunities to develop their conceptual and pedagogical knowledge regarding Nature of Science (NoS) including the history of ideas in science and the impact these ideas have had on, and continue to have on society today.
  • The in-service programme will be delivered utilising a range of methodologies, including ICT, providing participants with opportunities to learn about what science is, how it works, how scientists work as a social group and how society influences and is influenced by science.
  • It is envisaged that this intensive in-service programme will provide the teachers with knowledge and skills that will enable them to develop their own independent Nature of Science (NoS) / IBSE ideas and initiatives. This in turn would provide them with the confidence and expertise to support science teaching within a whole school context.
  • During the project the participating teachers will be supported in their own classes and in becoming subject leaders in their schools. They will be provided with time and support to disseminate and share their newfound ideas amongst the whole staff. On a small scale, this model would mirror the overall pattern of dissemination proposed in the Fibonacci project as a whole.

Other related projects

Building Expertise in Science Teaching (BEST ) Project( 2009 - 2010)

This research project is jointly funded by NAIRTL and SPD. The aim of the BEST project is to provide student and practising primary teachers with opportunities to develop their conceptual and pedagogical knowledge of the Nature of Science through an innovative and contemporary interactive science programme. During the programme student and practising teachers are also being provided with opportunities to teach collaboratively ('coteach'). While coteaching, it is envisaged that pedagogical ideas experienced throughout the course would be employed as well as new ideas that the student and practising teachers would have developed together during the programme.

The use of coteaching approaches will benefit both practising and student teachers who will be able to share their different experiences and knowledge. In this programme, student teachers can offer greater expertise in pedagogical approaches to teaching about NoS, whilst practising teachers will have more experience of classroom teaching.

NAIRTL website:

Review of the Irish Primary Science Curriculum (2008)

This research project was funded by the NCCA and carried out by Dr Varley, Dr Murphy and Ms Veale at SPD. Its aim was to evaluate the impact and level of implementation of the Primary Science Curriculum in Ireland, which had been formally introduced from 2003. This new curriculum provides for a balanced approach to learning scientific content whilst also placing particular emphasis on IBSE. The focus of this evaluation was the pupils themselves, and feedback was sought from pupils at all levels at primary school (age 5-12 years) and from first years at post-primary school. The latter group were chosen to represent their views on the impact of primary science experiences after transition to post-primary school science. Data were gathered using a national survey, classroom observations and group interviews of pupils.

Two detailed reports of the findings can be downloaded from: and

The Primary Science Curriculum in Ireland can be downloaded from:

Dr Murphy and Dr Varley are also members of the Irish Association for Social Scientific and Environmental Education (IASSEE). They were both involved in a recent large-scale all-Ireland longitudinal research project that explored Irish pre-service primary teachers' experiences as learners and teachers of history, geography and science. This report was funded by the Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South (ScoTeNS), St Patrick's College, Dublin, Queen's Unversity, Belfast, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

The full report, entitled Becoming A Teacher (Waldron et al., 2000) can be downloaded from: