Matters of Matter: Future materials in Science Education

St. Josephs Secondary school is proud to be part of an Erasmus + KA2 project called Matters of Matter – Future Materials in Science Education. Mr. McDonagh and Ms. Clinton are the co-ordinator’s of the project, which will run for 3 years (September 2014 to September 2017) and is open to students who are in Transition Year. Our school will work with schools from three other European countries – Italy (IIS – Cavazzi Sorbelli) Germany (Gymnasium Papenburg) and Portugal (Escola Secundaria/3 de Barcelinhos). The project involves researching and working with new and innovative materials called smart materials

In March 2015, 10 Transition Year students from our school (Adam Connolly, Euan Reid, Eoin Reid, Dylan Floyd, Aaron Foley, John Holdcroft, Alan McGrane, Evan McGrane, Shane McQuillan and Liam Ryan) travelled to Portugal along with 10 students from Germany and Italy. It was a busy week packed with scientific work and cultural trips. Further information and photographs of our student’s time in Portugal can be found on the project website: From the 3rd to the 10th of October 2015 students from our partner schools in Portugal, Germany and Italy will travel to Ireland. An educational and cultural week is planned for their stay (details will be posted on the website shortly).

Both Transition Year science classes are working with these smart materials. Mr. McDonagh’s class are working on photoluminescent and thermochromic materials, while Ms. Clinton’s class are working on solar cells and smart houses.

Students have been busy over the past number of weeks researching ideas and transforming these into working prototypes. Students have also created small and large posters of their ideas. The small posters form part of the display on the project notice board, while the large posters will be on display in rooms 29 and 30 for our schools open night (Tuesday 6th October 2015 from 6- 8pm).

These photographs show some of the students in Mr. McDonaghs science class working on their ideas and developing prototypes. Photoluminescent powder and photochromic inks change their colour in response to light. Thermochromic inks change their colour when exposed to heat.