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Marymount Spring Break Trip to Belfast 2018

 Belfast, Northern Ireland, Blog Posts by Officers/Members of

 International Association of STEM Leaders and Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society

 

Day 1: Saturday, March 10, 2018
            After landing, we settled into the Stranmillis dorms where we were pleasantly surprised by our accommodations. Later, we journeyed up the hill into town to window-shop and familiarize ourselves with the local markets. We ended our night by visiting a local restaurant, El Chapo, where we got tips and recommendations on things to do in the area from our server.

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Stranmillis University College

Day 2: Sunday, March 11, 2018
Sunday morning we ventured out to see the famous Titanic Exhibition. We learned about the history of Belfast and the economic influence of the White Star Line industry. Afterwards, we continued our learning by visiting the Ulster Museum. It was interesting to explore the history of the local culture of Belfast, and interact in a museum outside of Washington DC. After a long day of learning, our uber driver gave us a great recommendation for dinner at a local diner called Maggie Mays (which is famous for their delicious milkshakes).
Titanic Museum and Exhibits at the Ulster Museum

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Day 3: Monday, March 12, 2018
After filling up on a traditional, Irish breakfast at Stranmillis University College, we took a coach through the countryside to Dublin. When we arrived in Dublin, we toured Trinity College. Next, we explored Dublin Castle and learned about Ireland’s rich history. The Coach House (part of Dublin Castle) displayed art depicting the horrors of the Great Famine. Afterwards, we made our way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where we gained a new appreciation for the role that religion played in the history and culture of Ireland. Later, we enjoyed shopping for souvenirs on Grafton Street. To finish out our experience at Dublin, we had dinner at the famous Temple Bar Pub where we enjoyed live Irish music.

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Dublin Castle

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Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Day 4: Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Tuesday marked our first day at Fane Street Primary School. The principal and staff were very welcoming and supportive as we planned and prepared for our STEM Event on Thursday. Following our introduction to the school, we ventured on a “10-minute walk” to the nearby Poundland to collect supplies for our event. Upon our return, we enjoyed a complimentary lunch from staff and faculty at Fane Street Primary School. In the afternoon, we took the train to Victoria Square to explore Belfast city center.

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City Center, Belfast

Day 5: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
We started our day with observations at Fane Street Primary School. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the United States schools and Fane Street Primary. We were impressed by the atmosphere of the classrooms and the school as a whole. Students are given the opportunity to showcase their individuality through creativity which is represented by the art on their walls. The teachers demonstrated impressive classroom management tactics and had differentiated strategies for teaching reading and math.
After lunch, we had the opportunity to participate in STEM focused workshops at Stranmillis University College. We gained hands-on experience for computational thinking and engineering. Dr. Bell stressed the importance of encouraging students to pursue careers in engineering as there is a growing need and lack of interest in the field. She provided ways to implement multiple engineering fields within interactive STEM activities geared towards elementary/primary school students. The support from Stranmillis continued when they provided us with the necessary supplies for our STEM event that we were unable to locate ourselves.

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Fane Street Classrooms

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Stranmillis University visit. Dr. Bell sharing activities conducted by her pre-service teachers

Day 6: Thursday, March 15, 2018
Today we conducted our STEM Event and Makerspace Lab set-up at Fane Street Primary School. The STEM Event was a major success. Students from every class were able to attend and interact with all of the activities that we were able to provide. We were very pleased with the parents turnout and participation.The feedback we received from students, teachers, and parents was positive and the teachers expressed their excitement and interest to take on these STEAM challenges in their own classrooms. With help from the students, we were able to pack up the supplies from the STEM Event and create the first ever Makerspace Lab in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We loved these experiences and look forward to continuing our relationship with Fane Street Primary.

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How strong is spaghetti

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Wrecking ball

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Clothespin Tower

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Slime

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Marble run

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Makerspace area set up at Fane Street Elementary School

Day 7: Friday, March 16, 2018
Bright and early in the morning, we hopped on the Odyssey tour bus and headed for the coast line. Our tour started at the Dark Hedges which can only be found in Northern Ireland and are famous film locations for Game of Thrones. Our next stop was at Old Bushmills Distillery which is the oldest whisky distillery in the world. It opened in 1608 and can be found on Irish money. From there we headed to Dunluce castle for a quick photo op. We finally arrived at the main attraction, Giant’s Causeway! The hexagonal basalt rock formation was created naturally but the locals have their own myth for the creation. We ended the tour with the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge. Unfortunately, due to high winds, we were unable to cross the bridge as planned but managed to enjoy the scenery and see Scotland from afar.

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Day 8: Saturday, March 17, 2018

Today was Saint Patrick’s Day and we celebrated by embracing the Irish culture and watching the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the Belfast City Center. We were able to see Irish step dancers, traditional Irish music being played, and people dressed up in costumes. It was a lot of fun to be among the people of the city on our last day in Northern Ireland.

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City Hall, Belfast