As a cornerstone of our outreach programme, BEAST! (Baboró: Environment, Arts, Science & Technology) was part of our strategy to develop models to encourage primary school teachers to explore cross-curricular teaching and education through the use of creativity.
The three-year project began in 2012, in conjunction with the Ryan Institute and the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway. The project matched 3 primary schools with 3 scientists, as well as a number of artists, to explore the proposition of a Low Carbon Future, through (science and arts) workshops and engagement.
BEAST! was divided into three phases, outlined below. The project outcomes were presented at the Opening the Door to Creative Teaching and Learning conference in 2015 and at the inaugural Arts in Education Portal National Day in 2016.
Phase One (2012) – Exploring Science Through Art
- 8 Galway school--4 city and 4 county--participated.
- Students explored various themes with scientists from NUIG, including Ocean Acidification, ECO Housing and Energy Harvesting, through activities both inside and outside of the classroom.
- Students creatively interrogated the scientific themes through art forms--such as macramé, sculpture, animation and poetry--introduced to them by visiting artists.
- Installations created by the children were included in an interactive exhibition presented at the Baboró festival. The children also participated in a workshop that accompanied the exhibition.
Phase Two (2013) – Science, Stories and Scratch Programming
- Focused on 3 of the original 8 schools.
- Three of the original scientists remained involved to investigate additional issues relating to alternative energy, marine life off the coast of County Galway, and biofuels.
- Artist Oisín McGann worked with the schools to engage in story creation and animation. Each school produced a game or video.
- Baboró created a free, interactive, drop-in creativity centre, known as the Exploratorium, where both adults and children could create their own artwork. It was staffed by artists and scientists from Baboró and the Ryan Institute at NUIG.
Phase Three (2014) – Creating a Legacy
- Each school created and presented a BEAST! legacy that corresponded with a particular need of that school. The legacies were:
- Short films explaining the school’s green technologies
- A puppet theatre made from elements which were powered using sustainable sources of energy
- A saltwater school aquarium