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:

Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science)

Where We Live

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

Encourage the children to engage with the landscape of the surrounding areas, the land and layout of their area and how it can change with new building works.

Things To do
1.    Download the Where We Live worksheet below and ask the children to draw a map of their trip to school, showing the major landmarks on their way.
2.    Bring the children to the local park and point out the little hills and mounds that make up that landscape and ask them to draw a picture of the park.

What’s In A Fish?

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

Fish are animals that are cold-blooded, have fins and a backbone. Most fish have scales and breathe with gills. They’re one of the oldest animal families to live on Earth. They were here long before the dinosaurs – about 500 million years ago — and they still thrive. There are over 25,000 known species of fish. There are probably many more that we haven’t discovered yet.

Fish are vertebrates. That means they have a backbone. But unlike mammals, fish don’t have lungs. They breathe by taking oxygen from the water in through their mouths, where it passes over the gills. The gills then absorb oxygen from the water and send the oxygen throughout the body. Some fish are carnivores. They eat other fish and small animals and insects. Other fish are omnivores, eating both plants and animals.

The Secret Diary Of Biodiversity

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

With so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors during the summer months, we could easily be fooled into thinking that biodiversity only makes an appearance during summer, but of course we know different.

From the time when swallows start gathering on telephone lines to make the journey to Africa, right through to the first one arriving back on our shores and signalling the beginning of summer, there is still so much to see and enjoy. Can you remember, or imagine, getting your first diary as a child, and keeping it for a year

Shane Casey, Biodiversity Officer, Clare County Council gives us a little glimpse of what adventures might be encountered each month in the PDF below!

The River Nore

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

The Heritage Office of Kilkenny County Council has developed eight lesson plans, which will be useful for teachers of 4th, 5th and 6th class groups, on aspects of the River Nore's heritage. They are designed to be used in conjunction with the ‘Explore the Nore’ poster (downloadable below).

The river Nore (An Fheoir) rises in the Devil’s Bit Mountain in Co. Tipperary. It then flows through County Laois and enters County Kilkenny at the townland of Ballynaslee. It flows through Co. Kilkenny, before flowing into the River Barrow a few kilometres north of New Ross. 

It is known as one of the Three Sisters Rivers (Barrow, Nore, Suir). The River Nore is 140km in length and drains an area of approximately 861 hectares. It has a very steep gradient, but this is lessened by the many weirs built along its length.

This project is kindly supported by the Kilkenny Education Centre and the Heritage Council.

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

Story Time With Nature!

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

Shane Casey, the Biodiversity Officer for Clare County Council has provided us with some of his entertaining children's stories inspired by nature! 

Alfred's Big Adventure is all about the antics of an ant, which takes place in the great expanse of a back garden! It's a great way of engaging younger pupils with what's going on just outside their backdoor. 

The Secret Diary is aimed at slightly older children and contains some funny and engaging commentaries on the changing seasons, a really lovely way to engage children with the changes taking place in nature throughout the year. 

The Agony 'Ant' is great fun and highly entertaining. Children should get a real kick out of the disgruntled inhabitants of the natural world, including a very upset tree who wants advice on how to rid himself of the nesting 'squatters' on his branches!

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.

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

Raptors Booket

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

As top predators, birds of prey, or ‘raptors’ have long been recognised as important indicators of the health of our environment. They are an essential component of a natural and well-balanced countryside. Their position at the top of the food chain also means that raptors are can be used to demonstrate a diverse range of environmental issues

However, more importantly, these top predators command a special interest and respect, particularly with children. Clare, Galway and Tipperary County Councils have collaborated with BirdWatch Ireland and with support from the Heritage Council, have developed workbooks for primary schools focused on the amazing birds of prey in Ireland, from the smallest - which is a falcon called the Merlin, to the largest - which is the enormous White-tailed Eagle.

Through animations, ecological information, fun facts and games, the different raptor species are used to introduce and explore topics such as ecosystems, food chains, conservation threats, and the importance of a healthy environment.

Watch this video piece on Hen Harriers produced by Birdwatch Ireland which was filmed in the Slieve Aughty Mountains, Co. Galway.

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.

Old Stone Walls

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

In the twentieth century, concrete walls gradually replaced traditional stone walls. In the past, the building material for walls was stone, usually from local quarries. Download the Old Stone Walls information sheet below for more information.

My First Book Of Irish Animals

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

My First Book of Irish Animals is written by our very own Heritage Expert, Juanita Browne! The book is aimed at introducing young children to the wonderful world of Irish wildlife.  Filled with fascinating facts and beautiful illustrations by Irish artist, Aoife Quinn, this book will capture the imagination of young children.

The book includes a range of Irish species, such as the red squirrel, hedgehog, pygmy shrew, rabbit, Irish mountain hare, Irish stoat, pine marten, red fox, and the various species of deer, bats, seals, whales and dolphins. There is also a section on tips to support wildlife and to help your pupils connect with nature.

Also, your purchase supports Irish wildlife, for each copy sold, the Irish Wildlife Trust will receive a commission from Juanita.  The book costs €9.99, plus €2.50 doe postage and packaging.

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!