Michele Castiaux

Michelle Castiaux
Michele  Castiaux  Group Talk
Michele  Castiaux  Finger  Puppet  Trilobite
Mcastiaux 1
Mcastiaux 2
Michelle Castiaux2Jpg
Science, Geography
Curriculum Strands:
Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science)
Counties catered for:
Clare, Donegal, Kerry, Kilkenny
Classes catered for:
All Classes

Book a Virtual Visit

Michèle is a Belgian Geologist and Environmental Scientist (MSc.) based in Portlaoise. She has been working as a Heritage Specialist for the Heritage in Schools Scheme for over 10 years. She is an active Committee Member of the Irish Geological Association.

She provides a number of workshops which include hands-on activities but is also happy to tailor workshops to the teacher’s needs.

School visits (virtual)

Topic 1: Biodiversity & maps

Classes: All


* All: clipboards (or anything that can provide support such as white boards, hardback copies, preferably A4) to draw outside, pencil/eraser, any age appropriate Irish plant/animal/insect identification books you may have in the school library.

* Junior classes: card, paper, scissors, glue stick and colouring pencils for the follow-up activity.

* Senior classes: A4 paper and colouring pencils/markers for the follow-up activity.

Session 1 (pre-recorded, 10-30 mins)

Junior classes: step by step video on how to draw a small basic map, identify a few plants or trees and play an outdoor game to memorise their names.

Senior classes: Step by step video on how to draw a map of your garden/school grounds and which sites/books/apps can be used to identify biodiversity.

Session 2 (live, 30-60 mins)

Junior classes: Follow-up interactive session on the type of biodiversity encountered during previous activity: short discussion with the children followed by arts and crafts (pop-up biodiversity card).

Senior classes: Follow-up interactive session comparing the children's maps, drawing a final map and looking at ways to improve the biodiversity of the site.

Worksheets & teachers notes:

Teacher explanation notes will be provided for each video plus a worksheet following the virtual session.

Topic 2: Soils and Rocks - Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Classes: All classes


  • Video: toilet roll, small cups/pots/bags (please nothing disposable to avoid unnecessary waste!), magnifying glasses, vinegar, clean jam jar (any glass jar)
  • Live session: paper, pencils, colouring pencils, rock/soil samples, magnifying glasses, vinegar, clean jam jar (any glass jar).

Session 1 (pre-recorded, 15-20 mins)

The pre-recorded video clip that will introduce the topic to the children and guidelines on activities that can be done in school:

-Soils and how to identify what our soil samples are made of - the importance of soils;

-Rocks: how to identify rock samples - the importance of rocks.

Session 2 (live, 30-60 mins)

During the live interactive session with Michele the children will be invited to bring soil and rock samples for explanation and identification. She will also show the children how to draw simple Irish fossils and dinosaurs (local if possible).

Worksheets & teachers notes:

Teacher notes will be provided with tips for running the lesson and links to resources.

School visits (on-site)

Environmental Education linked to Heritage:

Biodiversity around the school and further afield.

Pollinators (bees, bumblebees, their roles, their habitats, school pollinator plan, ...).

Local watercourses survey (including historical maps survey where available): where do local watercourses lead to? What are they carrying?

Where does my water come from: link between local bedrock, local soils, groundwater, surface water and your tap water.

Climate change: what is it and how does it impact our heritage, how can we help by making simple changes that don’t cost the Earth!


Basic rock Identification: Irish rock samples to handle; local walls/outcrops survey if available.

Basic geology and fossils: learn about fossils while making your own; local walls/outcrops survey if available.

Maps and Compass:

Biodiversity and mapping skills, use of compass (outdoors).

Geology and mapping skills, use of compass (outdoors).

How to read local maps (scale, symbols, North), compare with historical maps (indoors or outdoors).

Geology and Nature Walk: locally or in Glenbarrow, Slieve Bloom Mountains.


  • "Wonderful experience for both the children and myself the teacher. Great information shared in a child friendly, understandable way. The children were very enthusiastic and learned a lot." - Portlaoise Educate Together NS, Laois
  • "My class and I had an excellent experience overall. Michele sent us an excellent video and resources two weeks prior to her virtual visit on zoom. Her video and resources were very child friendly and teacher friendly. She explained the concept of biodiversity very well and taught mapping in a simple way that was suitable for my age group. I learned a lot myself about how to teach mapping. Michele answered all the children's questions on the zoom call. Overall the experience has created an excitement in the children about exploring biodiversity and mapping." - Mercy Moyderwell NS, Kerry
Read more →
  • "This was absolutely flawless! I couldn't believe how well the live zoom with Michele worked. Her interaction and management were excellent. We have learned so much about biodiversity. A v well worth activity to take part in." - Portlaoise ETNS, Laois
  • "Specialist Michele was excellent. the content was relevant to our local area and the feedback from teachers and children very positive" - Glenbeigh NS, Kerry
  • "A fantastic, well organised workshop!" - Doonaha NS, Clare
  • "Children loved the plant and insect identification fans."
  • "A brilliant half day in the Botanic Gardens. Michelle was really well prepared, brought interesting rocks and fossils with her and was a great source of knowledge while walking around the gardens. Interacted very well with the children. Delighted with the day."
  • "A really enjoyable experience, well planned by Michele and at a level suitable for the group."
  • "Fantastic rapport established and most constructive and informative interaction with children. Child friendly mix of in classroom, outdoor, artwork etc Very engaging and lessons pitched at exactly the right level for each class."
  • "This was a thoroughly enjoyable and educational visit. Both the children and teachers got a lot from the sessions and are going to build on the interest sparked."
  • "Thank you so much for a very informative day. The boys loved it as did the teachers. I would highly recommend it to other schools."
  • "This was Michele's second visit to us. She is an excellent facilitator and we will have her back again in the future." - Scoil Bhríde Cailíní
  • "Very informative and very well presented. We were delighted with the sessions Michele provided, the feedback from children and teachers was very positive." - Gaelscoil Eoghain Uí Thuairisc
  • "Michele made every child comfortable with and interested in the topic. Every workshop was age specific and created wonder in the pupils." - Queen of Angels P.S., Dublin
  • "The day was great value for money!" - RPNS, Dublin
  • "A very enjoyable and informative day. Well planned and organised." - Scoil Chaitriona Cailini, Wicklow
  • "The pupils really enjoyed the visit!" - Holycross NS, Firoda, Kilkenny
  • "All classes really enjoyed Michelle's visit and they were engaged totally in the work. They had some of their own rocks investigated as well. Very informative morning . Many thanks." - Kinnitty N.S., Offaly
  • "Highly informative and highly educational. Extremely valuable for all involved." - Marymount NS, Kilkenny
  • "It was a fantastic day for the children and staff. We all enjoyed it."
  • "Very organised and efficient heritage visit. The children really enjoyed it and engaged well with the expert. Teachers thought it was extremely worthwhile and beneficial.. Michelle is easy to work with." - Scoil Chaitriona Cailiní, Dublin
  • "Michele was very good and children really enjoyed they day." - St Canice's Co Ed, Kilkenny
  • "Excellent-students both enjoyed and benefited from the visit." - St.Patrick's School, Kilkenny
  • "The children learnt loads with Michèle's engaging, varied and hands on workshop. Her workshop was well planned and organised. Delighted that she could come to us." - Home Educated, Meath
  • "Really enjoyable experience, great way of learning about biodiversity through song and art" - Buncrana NS
  • "The children thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, the speaker was fun and informative, and the children learned a lot. I would highly recommend taking part." - Scoil Naomi Fiachra

Additional Information

  • Caters for Special Needs
  • Provides practical/ hands-on activities
  • Provides field trips

Contact Details

Phone (Home):
057 8678950
087 6968600