Count your chickens -- school hatches a plan to crack maths
WHEN it comes to counting chickens, pupils in one primary school are learning first hand that you have to wait until the eggs are hatched.
A very special incubator is providing real-life lessons in maths and other subjects to the 800 pupils at St Ciaran's National School, Clonsilla, west Dublin.
The egg-citement started when local supermarket owner, John Furey, donated 18 eggs and the incubator to allow pupils witness the birth cycle of chicks
His gesture was prompted by a conversation with principal Sean Sheehan about how the school teaches students about the cycle of life through its richly planted garden and the changing seasons.
The incubator was set up in the school foyer in late September, and teachers and pupils came up with cross-curricular ideas for a display to welcome the new arrivals.
Pupils produced a wide range of stories, poems, factual knowledge and artistic interpretations on the chicken and egg theme.
And it has proved a hugely successful resource for maths lessons, according to assistant principal Tim McAuliffe.
As if on cue, the eggs started hatching on Tuesday, coinciding with Maths Week.
Maths Week promotes awareness, appreciation and understanding of maths through a huge variety of events and activities involving schools all over the country.
St Ciaran's pupils are getting plenty of help in the task from their feathered friends.
"Pupils learned about the calendar, counting down the 21 days to hatching and expressing days as weeks.
"They made up problems using fractions and decimals," said Mr McAuliffe.
Young children also explored ordinal numbers with questions such as "What number was the first to hatch? Which one was second?"
Older pupils discussed rising and falling temperature and converted percentages into fractions and decimals as the humidity level changed in the incubator.
Mr McAuliffe said the project had created more enthusiasm for maths among the pupils.
Teachers had previously organised activities for Maths Week, but "this theme certainly gave it a great boost".