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The Story Of Your Stuff

Investigating the long-term impacts of everyday decisions is at heart of EPA second-level schools’ competition.

  • The EPA today launched The Story of Your Stuff, a competition which challenges students to investigate the life cycle of their everyday ‘stuff’ through a creative medium, considering the entirety of the item’s life cycle.
  • Students are encouraged to use the EPA’s Ireland’s Environment website, www.epa.ie/irelandsenvironment/ as a main resource to assist their research.
  • The Story of Your Stuff asks students to address climate issues with creativity, and also awards a special prize for Irish language entries.
  • Students are encouraged to consider answers to questions of environmental sustainability raised during pandemic.
  • Closing date for entries is Monday, 8th March 2021.

The EPA today launched The Story of Your Stuff, a competition aimed at secondary school students, which seeks to empower young people to make environmentally conscious decisions about their everyday ‘stuff’ and activities. Entrants are tasked with researching the life cycle of an everyday item or environmental impact of an activity, and creatively telling its story through a visual medium.

Last year’s winners were Caoimhe Higgins and Katherine from St. Andrews College, Booterstown, Dublin who made a video on the story of soap, shown in video above.

Now in its fifth year, the competition brings together curiosity, creativity and science, and aims to get young people thinking about sustainability, climate action and environmental protection, spread the word among their friends and family and make lasting and impactful changes.

Entrants will be in with a chance to win €500 for themselves and €500 for their school. An additional ‘climate topic prize’ will be awarded to the entry that best addresses and incorporates specific climate considerations, including carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, to recognising a yearly increase in the number of Irish language entries received to the competition, a special prize for the best project delivered in Irish has been introduced.

Speaking at the launch of the competition, EPA Programme Manager, Dr Jonathan Derham said: “The EPA’s recently published State of the Environment Report highlights that the overall quality of Ireland’s environment is not what it should be, and the outlook is not optimistic unless we accelerate the implementation of solutions across all sectors and society. How and what we consume can directly negatively impact our environment. We need to understand these pressures and work to embrace more sustainable consumption behaviours.

The Story of Your Stuff offers young people almost limitless opportunities to explore how everyday decisions have far-reaching impacts on our environment. Moreover, against the backdrop of school closures due to COVID-19, The Story of Your Stuff is an ideal project to undertake from home, and for students to work on remotely with their classmates. I would encourage all second-level students and teachers to enter this year’s competition.”

Last year’s inaugural Climate Topic Prize winner was Lana Mitchel from Coolmine Community School, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 who created a video on the story of paper, shown above.

Astronaut ambassador

This year, the EPA has enlisted the support of aeronautical engineer, citizen scientist-astronaut candidate and award-winning STEM advocate, Dr Norah Patten as the competition ambassador for The Story of Your Stuff.

Dr Patten said: “As an advocate of participation in STEM, I’m encouraged by The Story of Your Stuff and am delighted to take up the role of ambassador for this year’s competition. Here, young people have the opportunity to bring their commitment to climate action and apply it to help influence environmentally-conscious decisions. I look forward to seeing how students immerse themselves in their chosen topic and go about presenting their findings in a creative and digestible way, with the aim of influencing behavioural change. I wish all entrants and their teachers the best of luck.”

For a third year, The Story of Your Stuff has partnered with UCD, which will host a finale event in April.

Director of the Earth Institute at UCD, Professor Tasman Crowe said: “UCD is delighted to once again support the EPA in delivering this initiative. The Story of Your Stuff has the potential to inspire the scientists of the future and is an important tool through which students develop the skills used by scientists and other researchers. Research has a huge role to play in protecting our planet and I hope students are inspired by the initiative to consider future studies in science and sustainability.”

Remember Competition guidelines and tips are available HERE and the deadline for entries is Monday, 8th March 2021.

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Helpful Resources For Return to Remote Learning.

RTÉ’s Home School Hub: A Resource that requires no Broadband.

One of the biggest challenges to remote schooling, faced by teachers and pupils alike, is poor access to broadband or lack of affordability.

Schools have received funding for IT equipment and digital platforms, but without adequate broadband, pupils and teachers can do nothing online and very little with their digital devices.

Minister for Education (Irish: An tAire Oideachais) Ms Norma Foley has repeatedly praised her department’s guidance and funding for IT and remote learning, but many teachers would argue that she is ignoring the blatantly obvious, namely, that remote teaching amounts to little, if you cannot access fast and reliable broadband.

Remote teaching has indeed highlighted how much remains to be done to improve broadband infrastructure in this country. It is, to say the least, regrettable that since lockdown and school closure became the new norm, that little has been done to improve the provision of broadband and internet access for our children, young people and their teachers.

If you are a family or teacher with limited access to the internet, then RTÉ’s Home School Hub is the resource you need. Home School Hub aims to help keep everyone busy and engaged with learning over this current lockdown.

It will air every weekday, for two hours from 10:00am on RTÉ2, starting tomorrow morning, Monday January 11th.

For those with adequate broadband; to help teachers, parents and pupils plan ahead, visit HERE to view resources and outline topics being covered this week.

Please note also that the Irish Sign Language Version airs at 1:00pm with a daily show on RTÉjr. Also, in the afternoon there will be more from After School Hub on RTÉ2 from 3.20pm.

Keep an eye on RTÉ.ie/learn, for more over the coming weeks.

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Helpful Resources For A Return To Remote Learning.

Free Access to Textbooks Online

As part of efforts to suppress this wave of Covid-19, the government has confirmed that all schools are returning to remote learning from Monday 11th January for a period of least three weeks.

Unfortunately, because this closure was not fully anticipated, many pupils are at home without their textbooks. Thankfully, many Irish education publishers are giving free online access to primary school and secondary school textbooks.

For more information, simply follow the links below:

For books by CJ Fallon click HERE.
For books by EDCO click HERE.
For books by Folens click HERE.
For Primary Books by Gill Education click HERE.
For Secondary Books by Gill Education click HERE.

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Easy and Relaxing Christmas Art

The Christmas season runs roughly from December 25th – January 13th, so we have some days yet to enjoy, despite house decorations coming down usually today.

“Art for Kids Hub” is a YouTube channel that aims to teach all family members how to draw.

It’s a family fun resource we’ve recommended to you before and a resource praised by our Thurles.info readers for its capacity to relax, entertain and occupy all ages for hours on end. Why not check out these fun Christmas Art drawing projects?
All you need is paper and something to draw with.

When you’re done with the above Christmas projects, check out hundreds more drawing projects covering all manner of themes and topics.

Relating to Christmas, see also links: https://youtu.be/X_C_7VOBpNk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oDdE7q39U4&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYKV5P5rs_s&feature=youtu.be

And talking about drawing a Christmas Trees, why not attempt to manufacture an Origami Christmas Tree [Art of paper folding, associated with Japanese culture] all of your own.
See link shown HERE.

Enjoy and above all “Stay Safe”, during these difficult times.

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Stay At Home Festive Fun For All Family Members

Wednesday January 6th traditionally marks the end of Christmas, with decorations gradually coming down in the days that follow.
With just a few days of festive fun left and with everyone asked to stay home and stay safe, here are some last minute ideas for “Stay at Home Christmas Fun”.

View also HERE for more fun or play the video hereunder

Emoji Christmas Guessing Games

Emojis are a language all of their own and one language all teenagers are fluent in, so why not put their Emoji knowledge to the test with an Emoji Christmas Guessing Game. Say what you see and guess the Christmas Song For great emoji Christmas guessing games visit the following links, to be found HEREHEREHERE.

Tune In For More Fun Tomorrow

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