Teachers' Resources

Teach your pupils how to build a giant nest, create a butterfly garden or make their own family tree!

The resources provided here have been submitted by Heritage Experts, teachers or prepared by other educational organisations. The resources are both fun and educational and are designed to inspire and develop an appreciation and curiosity about Ireland’s wonderful natural and cultural heritage.

Resources can be searched for under the following categories:

Geography

The 1947 Flood, Kilkenny

Natural environments (Geography), Human environments (Geography), Story (History), Local studies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Energy and forces (Science) / Science, History, Geography

Content of the study
Children should learn about:
1.    The cause and effect of the flood.
2.    The River Nore and how it has changed from the time of the flood.
3.    The story of the flood as told in the Kilkenny People.
4.    Memories of people about the 1947 flood.

Skills and concepts development
Children should be able to:
1.    Time and Chronology:

  • Describe events as before/after/ later/earlier
  • Use a simple timeline

2.    Change and continuity:

  • Identify features that have remained the same, for example the houses and the bridges near the river
  • Identify how the River Nore has changed

3.    Cause and effect:

  • Examine the reasons for the flood and the effect it had on Kilkenny City

4.    Using evidence:

  • Photographs of the river today
  • Photographs of the flood
  • Edited version of articles in the Kilkenny People

5.    Synthesis and Communication:

  • Communicate an awareness of the story of the flood and stories associated with it, in a variety of different ways such as drama and art.

5.    Empathy:

  • Imagine and discuss what it was like to be rescued in a boat on the evening of the flood.
  • Imagine and discuss what it was like to have your home destroyed by floodwater.

Methodologies

  • Among the methods which may be used are:
  • A story lesson based on the accounts from the Kilkenny People
  • Examining a photograph taken of the flood
  • Listening to personal memories of the flood (oral evidence)
  • Integration with other subjects: the river (Geography)

Assessment

  • Teacher observation
  • Outcomes of pupil-pupil and teacher-pupil discussion
  • Teacher-designed tasks
  • Work cards designed to help children examine the evidence

Make A St. Brigid’s Cross

Natural environments (Geography), Story (History), Early people and ancient stories (History), Materials (Science) / History

Saint Brigid is remembered for her spirituality, charity and compassion. Her feast day is on the 1st February, the first day of spring. It is customary on St Brigid’s Day to make a cross, known as a ‘St Brigid’s Cross’, out of rushes or reeds (other materials may be used if no rushes or reeds are available).

Once the cross is woven, it is blessed with holy water by a priest. It is then hung on the front doors of homes and left in place all year, to be burned and replaced with a newly-woven cross on the next St Brigid’s Day.

How to make a St. Brigid’s Cross
You will need:

  • bowl
  • 28 long reads or straws (if not available why not try pipe cleaners).

Instructions:

  • Position two straws to make a plus sign, putting the horizontal straw on the top. Fold the upper section of the vertical straw on top of its other half. Rotate the weave counter-clockwise 90 degrees. Repeat to fold the now-vertical straw.
  • Rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Add another straw by placing it to the right of the folded vertical straw and beneath the folded horizontal straw. Fold it and rotate it again.
  • Keep repeating the process without letting the straws bunch up on top of each other. Rest the straws side by side.
  • Tie each arm 4 inches from the centre of the St. Brigid’s cross after all the straws have been added. Trim the ends of the straw.

Skellig Michael

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science, Geography

Skellig Michael, comprising a well-preserved monastery and a remote hermitage perched on a rock in the Atlantic, is the most spectacularly situated of all the early medieval Irish monastic sites. The island’s isolation has helped to preserve and protect the monastic remains, allowing the visitor to marvel at the remarkable achievements of the monks.

Skellig Michael is also an internationally renowned site for breeding seabirds with its steep rock slopes and cliffs providing nesting places for a variety of seabirds. It is this combination of cultural and natural history which imbues the island with a strong sense of beauty and spirituality. When inscribing the site on the World Heritage List in 1996 UNESCO described Skellig Michael as a unique example of early religious settlement which illustrates, as no other site can, the extremes of Christian monasticism.

School Garden

Science, Geography

Lots of easy to understand information on planting, sowing and soil preparation for kids, and some great ideas for garden-related craft.

The Salty Sea

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science, Geography

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink! Explaining sea water.

Things To do
1.    Explain the difference between fresh water and sea water. And try some of these experiments.
How do we know that there is salt in the sea water?
You will need:

  • bowl
  • 480 ml ocean or sea water (You can make your own by mixing 10 ml of salt with 480ml of water)

Directions:

  • Pour the water into a pan.
  • Place the pan in a warm, dry place.
  • Allow water to evaporate—this usually takes a few days.
  • Make observations.

2.    Is it easier to float in the ocean or in fresh water?

You will need:

  • 1 uncooked egg
  • 1 jar filled with fresh water
  • 1 jar filled with sea water

Directions:

  • Put the egg in the jar of fresh water.
  • Observe what happens.
  • Put the egg in the jar of ocean

Planning A ‘Storywalk’

Natural environments (Geography), Human environments (Geography), Story (History), Local studies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science

This sheet contains some lovely ideas for creating an adventure with your class when out on a walk. Suggestions include questions you might ask the group, activities you can try out or simply some things to highlight to the children as you go along.

Our Wetlands Heritage

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science, Geography

This booklet explores Ireland's wetland wildlife - everything from dragonflies, butterflies, frogs and newts to wetland birds, right up to our largest carnivore - the otter.

It also the ecosystems that wetlands provide, the associated threats and measures to ensure wetland protection for the future.

Make A Pop-Up Landscape

Natural environments (Geography), Story (History), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Materials (Science) / General

Pop-up cards are a popular and often enchanting way of drawing ideas together or giving people a chance to integrate their new knowledge of an idea or a place into a quick creative form. There are lots and lots of folds and movements you can use.

Make A Concertina Book

Natural environments (Geography), Human environments (Geography), Story (History), Early people and ancient stories (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Materials (Science) / Science, History, Geography

This book is quick and easy to make, yet still offers flexibility and potential for children to create their own unique versions. They can be used for everything from storytelling to making guidebooks about a local wood or museum, what they put into your book is up to you!

Leaves and Trees

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science

Trees are more than just a place for birds to rest! They give air, food, shelter, warmth. It may look like trees just stand around and do nothing. Actually, they are very busy doing a variety of jobs that are essential to animals and the environment.

Things To do
1.    A nature ramble to the local park to collect different types of leaves and see if the children can match them to the Leaf Hunt worksheet below or if this not possible bring in some leaves and see if the children can match them.
2.    Repeat this exercise in all four seasons and explain the differences in the colours and shapes
3.    Take part in National Tree Week and plant a tree in the school grounds.

Kilkenny Water

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science, History, Geography

The city of Kilkenny is built on the River Nore. The name 'Nore' in Irish is An Fheoir, which probably means the boundary. The river rises far to the north in the Slieve Bloom Mountains between counties Laois and Offaly. The monastery, cathedral and small town which existed before the Norman invasion was built on the west bank of the river. Today the Nore is crossed by three bridges – Green’s Bridge, John’s Bridge and Ossory Bridge.

Download the resources below to explore the history, science and geography relating to Kilkenny’s water.

Coilte Trees

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science, Geography

Coillte, Ireland’s leading forestry company, welcomes you to the huge range of recreation opportunities they provide at many of their sites across the country. You can access miles of walking, hiking, multi access, and long distance trails, enjoy the thrill of cycling new world class bike trails, fish, picnic, watch wildlife, launch your canoe on the rivers, visit megalithic sites or just sit and enjoy the outdoors. The choice is yours.

Things to do
1.    Visit a local forest - you can find a list of forests and trails in your area here.
2.    Here you can download information and worksheets about trees. These worksheets are suitable for primary school children and are a fun way for children to learn about trees and the environment. Learn more about trees here.

Loughnaneane Park - Primary Schools Education Pack

Natural environments (Geography), Story (History), Local studies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science

Loughnaneane Park is a free amenity provided by Roscommon County Council which is available to all. This pack aims to promote Loughnaneane Park as an education resource site, to be used by primary schools for field studies relating to natural, built and cultural heritage.

Around Kilkenny Castle

Natural environments (Geography), Human environments (Geography), Story (History), Local studies (History), Early people and ancient stories (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Eras of change and conflict (History), Politics, conflict and society (History), Continuity and change over time (History) / History, Geography

Through using the resources below, and undertaking a trail around Kilkenny Castle, the children should learn about:
1.     The people associated with Kilkenny Castle – the Butler family and the servants.
2.     Certain design features of the castle, such as limestone, moat, sally port, arrow
3.     loop windows, servants’ entrance, coat of arms and lead hoppers.
4.     The strategic site that the castle is built on.
5.     How the building is changed and why. How the defensive character of the castle became less important as time went by.

Skills and concepts development:
Children should be able to:

1. Time and Chronology:

  • Describe events as before/after/, later/earlier
  • Use a simple timeline
  • Use dates such as 1681

2. Change and continuity:

  • Recognise how the castle has changed at different periods
  • Identify features that have remained the same

3. Cause and effect:

  • Recognise the link between the site of the castle and the need for the lord and soldiers to defend themselves in the early centuries of the castle.
  • The importance of displaying a coat of arms for a family.
  • Recognising how people’s needs change and the impact that has on a building, for example the moat being filled in and the change in the design of the windows.

4. Using evidence:

  • Visiting and examining the building

5. Empathy:

  • Imagine and discuss the feelings of the servants working in the castle.

Methodologies:
Among the methods which may be used are:

  • Story lesson about the Butler family
  • Comparing a modern photo of the entrance to Kilkenny Castle with an 18th century
  • painting
  • Exploring the environment, using the trail
  • Integration with other subjects: geography (limestone), art (designing coats of arms), maths (shape)

Sources Used:

  • John Bradley, Kilkenny, historic town atlas no. 10 (Dublin, 2000)
  • John Bradley, Discover Kilkenny (Dublin, 2000)
  • Katherine Lanigan and Gerald Taylor (eds) Kilkenny, its architecture and history (Kilkenny, 1977)
  • William Neely, Kilkenny, an urban history, 1391-1843 (Belfast, 1989)
  • William Carrigan The History and antiquities of the diocese of Ossory (Dublin, 1905)
  • David Edwards, The Ormond lordship in County Kilkenny 1515-1642 (Dublin, 2003)
  • Oral testimony of Castle Park constable, Liam Burke (3/08/2007)

A Guide for Schools on Climate Action UNESCO

Guideline, Natural environments (Geography), Human environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Energy and forces (Science) / Science, Geography, Research and Policy

Does your school want to help create a healthier, fairer, more environmentally sustainable society? Do you want to empower children and young people to do the same? Do you want to make your school more climate-friendly? If so, this guide is for you!

The guide is organised in four parts. Part 1 explains why you and your school should take on a whole-school approach to climate action. Part 2 outlines how your school can plan, put into practice, and evaluate your own strategies and visions for reducing climate change. Part 3 provides six guidelines that suggest how to concretely include climate action in your school governance, teaching and learning, campus and facility management, and partnerships with the community. The guidelines are accompanied by examples showing how schools around the world are taking action. At the end of the guide, in Part 4, you will find a table to help you monitor action in the thematic areas along the six guidelines.