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STEM Education

About

The disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, known collectively as STEM, play an important role in today's world. Developing STEM-related literacies, promoting creative and critical thinking and advancing problem solving skills are now important components of school curricula. The Department of STEM Education is committed to providing equitable access to STEM experiences and literacy for all learners.

We build and cultivate knowledge, attitudes and skills in STEM disciplines through socially responsive and innovative research, experiential and inquiry-based teaching and learning, the development of partnerships with schools and industry and through the preparation of teachers who are STEM literate.

We prepare teachers to draw on technology-enhanced learning to support the development of pedagogies in all curriculum subjects, to utilise a range of innovative teaching and learning modalities and to become future leaders in STEM education in their schools.

For recent news and events, follow the department on Twitter.

MA in STEM Education Mary Immaculate College
MA in STEM Education – More than a Masters at MIC
This flexible two-year, part-time programme is aimed at educators who want to become STEM leaders
Contact
Head of Department
Dr Aisling Leavy
+ 353 61 204978

Subject Overview

Undergraduate

The Department of STEM Education delivers modules on the Bachelor of Education and B Ed in Education and Psychology programmes. A variety of modules are available to take as part of a Specialism in STEM also.

The following is a list of modules offered on the B Ed and B Ed in Education and Psychology:

Core Modules
EDU103: STeM 1: Introduction to Mathematics and its Teaching
EDU110: Introduction to Technology and Educational Methodology
EDU153: STeM 2: Introduction to Mathematics and its Teaching 2
EDU154: STeM 3: Introduction to Teaching Science
EDU203: STeM 4:  Introduction to Mathematics and its Teaching 3
EDU253: STeM 5: Pedagogy of Maths and Teaching and Learning with ICT
EDU301: STeM 6: Teaching Mathematics and Science
Specialism Modules
EDE318: Science is all Around Us
EDE319: Current Issues in Mathematics Education
EDE363: Innovation in Mathematics Education
EDE368: Multimedia Authoring
EDE410:Teaching and Learning through LEGO Education
EDE454: Teacher as ICT Developer
EDE456: Spanning the Boundaries of Mathematics Education

 

Postgraduate

The Department of STEM Education offers a dedicated MA in STEM Education and its staff members also deliver modules on two other MIC postgraduate programmes.

MA in STEM Education

This two-year, part-time Master's programme in STEM Education offers a focus on integrative and innovative approaches to STEM education through exploring socially-responsive teaching and research informed by national and international developments in school and education settings. More detailed information here.

The four modules below constitute the core components on the programme: 

EDU625: Key Paradigms in STEM Education
EDU626: Critical Perspectives and Policy in STEM
EDU627: Expanding the Boundaries of STEM
EDU628: STEM Communications and Industry

STEM modules in other MIC postgraduate programmes:

Graduate Diploma in Adult and Further Education
AN5711: Learning and Technology

Learn more about this programme here.

M Ed In Educational Leadership & Management
EDU611: Digital Schools of Distinction

Learn more about this programme here.

Staff

Dr Aisling Leavy

B Sc (UCD), Grad Dip Ed (DCU), MA in Ed (California State University, Chico) & PhD (Arizona State University)
Head of Department
  • Phone: +353 61 204978
  • Email: Aisling.Leavy@mic.ul.ie
  • Location: G60

Brendan Barry

BA Mod (TCD), Grad Dip in Ed (MIC) & MSc in Computer Applications in Education (DCU)
Lecturer
  • Phone: +353 61 204941
  • Email: Brendan.Barry@mic.ul.ie
  • Location: L104

Claire Carroll

B Sc in Physical Education and Mathematics (UL) & MA in Ed (MIC)
Assistant Lecturer
  • Phone: +353 61 204599
  • Email: Claire.Carroll@mic.ul.ie
  • Location: G51

Dr Edward Corry

BA (NUIG), H Dip in Systems Analysis and Design (NUIG), H Dip in Education (NUIG), B Eng (NUIG) and PhD (NUIG).
Lecturer
  • Phone: +353 61 204986
  • Email: Edward.Corry@mic.ul.ie
  • Location: R220

Dr Miriam Hamilton

BA (QTS) Surrey, Postgraduate Diploma in Education, TCD, M Ed (MIC/UL) and PhD (MIC/UL)
Lecturer with Expertise in Science Education
  • Phone: +353 61 774754
  • Email: Miriam.Hamilton@mic.ul.ie
  • Location: JHN208

Dr Mairéad Hourigan

B Sc Physical Ed & Mathematics (UL), M Sc (UL) & PhD (UL)
Lecturer
  • Phone: +353 61 204504
  • Email: Mairead.Hourigan@mic.ul.ie
  • Location: R123

Research

Research in the Department of STEM Education explores conceptual, theoretical, methodological and issues of practice in Education. Examination of the faculty publications and projects, and the variety of journals and dissemination outlets,  reveals the diversity of our research interests. We explore educational phenomena in all sectors of education, from early childhood education, primary and post-primary education through to higher education. Our research methods challenge the traditional duality of qualitative and quantitative frameworks and encompass a variety of mixed and innovative methods to gain insights into and extend our understandings of educational phenomena and other issues of interest.

Our research falls broadly under three themes: 

  • Teacher Education
  • Teaching & Learning in Schools
  • STEM Education

Select the relevant drop-down item below to see a full list of publications and conference proceedings.

Peer-Reviewed Journals/Books/Book Chapters

**Just published**

  • Hourigan, M. & Leavy, A.M. (Online First, 2019). Pre-service teachers' understanding of probabilistic fairness: Analysis of decisions around task design.  International Journal of Science and Mathematical Education.
  • O’Meara, N., Johnson, P. & Leavy, A.M. (Online First, 2019). A Comparative Study Investigating the Use of Manipulatives at the Boundary Crossing from Primary to Post-Primary Education. International Journal for Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1080/0020739X.2019.1648891
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A.M. (2019). Learning from teachingPre-service elementary teachers’ perceived learning from engaging in formal Lesson Study. Irish Educational StudiesDOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s1085…. 
  • Leavy, A.M. & Hourigan, M. (2019). Posing Mathematically Worthwhile Problems: Developing the Problem Posing Skills of prospective Teachers. Journal of Mathematics Teacher EducationDOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10857-018-09425-w

Recent publications:

  • Hamilton, M & O’ Dwyer, A. (2018) Exploring student learning approaches on an initial teacher education programme: A comparison of mature learners and direct entry third-level students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 71(2) 251-261.
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A.M. (In press, 2018). The influence of entry route to teaching on Irish pre-service primary teachers’ attitudes towards mathematics. Journal of Further and Higher Education.
  • Leavy, A. and Hourigan, M. (In press, 2018). The beliefs of ‘tomorrow’s teachers’ about mathematics: Precipitating change in beliefs as a result of participation in an Initial Teacher Education programme. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1080/0020739X.2017.1418916.
  • Leavy, A. & Hourigan, M. (2018). Using Lesson Study to Support the Teaching of Early Number Concepts: Examining the Development of Prospective Teachers Specialised Content Knowledge. Early Childhood Education Journal 46(1), 47-60. DOI: 10.1007/s10643-016-0834-6. 
  • O’ Dwyer, A. (2018), An Insight Into How a Constructivist Professional Development Program Can Influence Practice in Six High School Chemistry Classrooms, Journal of Science Teacher Education, pp. 1573-1847, DOI: 10.1080/1046560X.2018.1457348, Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1046560X.2018.1457348
  • Flaherty, A., O’ Dwyer, A., Mannix-McNamara, P., Leahy, J.J., (2017), Evaluating the Impact of the 'Teaching as a Chemistry Laboratory Graduate Teaching Assistant' Program on Cognitive and Psychomotor Verbal Interactions in the Laboratory, Journal of Chemical Education, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00370. Read here.
  • Flaherty, A., O’ Dwyer, A., Mannix-McNamara, P., Leahy, J.J., (2017), Aligning Perceptions of Laboratory Demonstrators’ Responsibilities To Inform the Design of a Laboratory Teacher Development Program. Journal of Chemical Education, 94 (8), pp 1007–1018, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00210. Read here.
  • Flaherty, A., O’ Dwyer, A., Mannix-McNamara, P., Leahy, J.J., (2017), The Influence of Psychological Empowerment on the Enhancement of Chemistry Laboratory Demonstrators’ Perceived Teaching Self-Image and Behaviours as Graduate Teaching Assistants, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1039/c7rp00051k. Read here.
  • Hamilton, M (2017): Bridging the Gap from Teacher to Teacher Educator: The Role of a Teaching Portfolio, Studying Teacher Education, DOI: 10.1080/17425964.2017.1414041.
  • Hamilton, M. (2017) Pedagogical transitions among science teachers: how does context intersect with teacher beliefs? Teachers and Teaching, DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2017.1367658.
  • Hourigan, M. & Leavy, A. (2017). Pre-service Primary Teachers’ Geometric Reasoning Stages: Is Pre-tertiary Mathematics Education Building Sufficiently Strong Foundations? The Teacher Educator, 52(4), 346-364. 
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A.M. (2017). Rate your course! The student teachers’ voice: Perceptions of effective primary pre-service mathematics education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 49(6), 802-829. DOI: 10.1080/00220272.2017.1284266
  • Leavy, A.M., Hourigan, M. & Carroll, C. (2017). Exploring the impact of reform mathematics on entry-level pre-service primary teachers attitudes towards mathematics. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 15(3), 509-526. DOI 10.1007/s10763-015-9699-1.
  • Leavy, A.M., Pope, J. & Breathnach, D. (2017). From Cradle to Classroom, exploring opportunities to support the development of shape and space concepts in very young children. In Kinnear, V, Forging Connections in Early Childhood Mathematics and Learning (chapter 11), Springer. 
  • Fitzmaurice, O., Hannigan, A. &  Leavy, A. (2016). An investigation into the statistics education of pre-service mathematics teachers at an Irish university. In Dani Ben-Zvi & Katie Makar (Eds.), Teaching and Learning of Statistics : International Perspectives (pp. 327-338), Springer.
  • Hourigan, M., Leavy, A.M. & Carroll, C. (2016). ‘Come in with an open mind’: Changing attitudes towards mathematics in primary teacher education. Educational Research, 58(3), 319-346. DOI: 10.1080/00131881.2016.1200340.
  • Leavy, A. and Hourigan, M. (2016). Using Lesson Study to Support Knowledge Development in Initial Teacher Education: Insights from Early Number Classrooms. Teaching and Teacher Education, 57, 161-175. Read here.
  • Smyth, E., Conway, P., Leavy, A., Darmody, M., Banks, J. & Watson, D. (2016). Review of the Droichead Teacher Induction Pilot Programme. Education and Social Research Institute: Dublin 2.
  • Doran, M. (2015), An Ethnography of an Irish Girls School: Exploring how Hegemony and Power Mediate Agency and StructureCambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle.
  • Hourigan, M. and O’ Donoghue, J. (2015). Addressing prospective elementary teachers’ mathematics subject matter knowledge through action research, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 46 (1), pp. 56-75. DOI: 10.1080/0020739X.2014.936977.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2015). Looking at practice: Revealing the knowledge demands of teaching data handling in the primary classroom. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 27(3), 283-309. DOI: 10.1007/s13394-014-0138-3.
  • Fitzmaurice, O., Leavy, A. & Hannigan, A.  (2014). Why is statistics perceived as difficult and can practice during training change perceptions? Insights from a prospective mathematics teacher. Teaching Mathematics and its Applications, 2014; DOI: 10.1093/teamat/hru010.
  • McGann, R. & Leavy, A.M. (2014). Learning to teach or Teaching to Learn? Computer programming in the primary school – an initial teacher education initiative. Computer Programming in the Primary Classroom – An Introduction (pp. 198-209). In  Burden, K., M. Leask & S. Younie, eds., Teaching and Learning with ICT in the Primary School (2nd edition), London: Routledge.
  • Hannigan, A., Gill, O. & Leavy, A.M. (2013). An investigation of prospective secondary mathematics teachers’ conceptual knowledge of and attitudes towards statistics. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 16(6), 427-449. DOI 10.1007/s10857-013-9246-3.
  • Hourigan, M. and O’ Donoghue, J. (2013). The challenges facing initial teacher education: Irish prospective elementary teachers’ mathematics subject matter knowledge. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 44 (1), pp. 36-58. DOI: 10.1080/0020739X.2012.690897.
  • Leavy, A.M., Hannigan, A. and Fitzmaurice, O. (2013). If you’re doubting yourself then, what’s the fun in that? An exploration of why prospective teachers perceive statistics as difficult. Journal of Statistics Education, 21(3). Read here.
  • Middleton, J.A., Leavy, A.M., & Leader, L. (2013). A Path Analysis of the Relationship Among Critical Motivational Variables and Achievement in Reform-Oriented Mathematics Curriculum. Research in Middle Level Education, 36(8), 1-10. 
  • O’Shea, J. & Leavy, A.M. (2013). Teaching mathematical problem-solving from an emergent constructivist perspective: the experiences of Irish primary teachers. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 16(4), 293-318. DOI 10.1007/s10857-013-9235-6.  
  • Leavy, A.M. & Middleton, J.A. (2011). Middle grades students’ understanding of typicality. Journal of Mathematical Behaviour, 30(3), 235-254.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2010). The Challenge of Preparing Preservice Teachers to Teach Informal Inferential Reasoning. Statistics Education Research Journal, 9(1), 46-67.
  • Leavy, A.M. & Sloane, F. (2010). Developing Statistical Literacy in Primary Level Mathematics. Irish Department of Education and Science, Dublin.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2008). An examination of the role of statistical investigation in supporting the development of young children’s statistical reasoning. In O. Saracho & B. Spodek (Eds.) Contemporary Perspectives on Mathematics Education in Early Childhood (p. 215-232). Information Age Publishing.
  • Chazan, D., Leavy, A.M., Birky, G., Clark, K.,  Lueke, M.,  McCoy, W. &  Nyamekye, F. (2007). What NAEP Can (and Cannot) Tell Us About Performance in Algebra. Results from the Eighth Mathematics Assessment of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. In Kloosterman, P., & Lester, F. K., Jr. (Eds.),  Results and interpretations of the 2003 mathematics assessment of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  • Leavy, A.M., McSorley, F. & Boté, L.A. (2007). An Examination of What Metaphor Construction Reveals about The Evolution of Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching and Learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(7), 1217-1233.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2006). Using data comparison to support a focus on distribution: Examining preservice teacher’s understandings of distribution when engaged in statistical inquiry. Statistics Education Research Journal, 5(2), 89-114.
  • Leavy, A.M. & O’Loughlin, N. (2006) Moving Beyond the Arithmetic Average: Preservice Teachers Understanding of the Mean. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 9(1), 53-90.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2005). ‘When I meet them I talk to them’: the challenges of diversity for pre-service teacher education. Irish Educational Studies, 24(2/3), 159-177.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2004). Indexing Distributions of Data: Preservice Teachers’ Notions of Representativeness. School Science and Mathematics, 104(3), 119-134.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2003). Gifted Students’ Understanding of Statistics: Analysis of Data Arising from a Small Group Teaching Experiment. Gifted and Talented International, 18(1), 17-26.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2002). Mathematics Education in Global, Regional and Political Contexts. In R. Tormey (Ed.), Teaching Social Justice: Intercultural and Development Education Perspectives on Education’s Context, Content and Methods. National Council for Development Education, Ireland.
  • Leavy, A. M. & Ganesh, T. G. (2000, February 1). The Nascent Promise of Ejournals: Instances of Pioneering Use of Technology. Current Issues in Education [Online], 3(1). Read here.

Conference Proceedings

**Just published**

  • De Vetten, A., Leavy, A. & Keijzer, R.  (2019). Design principles for short informal statistical inferences activities for primary educationProceedings of the Eleventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME11), Feb 5-10, 2019. Utrecht, Netherlands.
  • Frischemeier, D & Leavy, A. (2019). The challenges for prospective primary teachers when constructing statistically worthwhile questionsProceedings of the Eleventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME11), Feb 5-10, 2019. Utrecht, Netherlands

Recent publications:

  • Hamilton, M. & O’ Dwyer, A. (2017), ‘A lot of time was wasted on inquiry and investigations”: The challenge of supporting a diverse cohort of pre-service primary science teachers’, in 12th Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), Dublin, 21-25 August.
  • Hamilton, M & O’ Dwyer, A. (2017), ‘Exploring and deciphering the diverse needs of pre-service primary science teachers’, Teacher Education Policy in Europe (TEPE) conference, Limerick, 19 May.
  • Hamilton, M., O’ Dwyer, A.  (2017), ‘Reshaping the landscape to address the diverse teaching and learning needs of pre-service primary science teachers’, Shaping and reshaping the landscape of Teaching and Learning: Perspectives from the Shannon Consortium, University of Limerick, 30 May.
  • Hamilton, M. Moore, G & Ryan, D. (2017) ‘Developing a Teaching Portfolio: Insights gained from a mentoring approach’, Shaping and reshaping the landscape of Teaching and Learning: Perspectives from the Shannon Consortium, University of Limerick, May 30th.
  • Hamilton, M (2017) ‘Research as a tool to understand student experience: exploring the case of a cohort of pre-service primary science teachers in Ireland’, International Technology & Education conference (INTED), Valencia March 2017. Conference proceedings paper published at IBSN 978-84-617-8491-2.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2017). Insights into the approaches of young children when making informal inferences about data. In Dooley, T. & Gueudet, G. (Eds.) Proceedings of the Tenth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME10), February 1-5, 2017). Dublin, Ireland: DCU Institute of Education and ERME.
  • Hamilton, M & O Dwyer, A (2016) ‘Being Care-ful in Deciphering the Needs and Wants of Student Teachers’, Education as A Public Good’: Education Studies Association of Ireland Annual conference (ESAI), 1 April, 2016.
  • Hamilton, M. (2016) ‘Exploring Curricular reform in Science Education and Practitioner Pedagogical Transitions’, published paper in conference proceedings IBSN 978-88-6292-705-5 at: New Perspectives in Science Education, Florence, 16 March 2016.
  • Hamilton, M (2015) ‘Active Methodologies for Large Lecture Groups’ presentation at Conversations in the Consortium, Theme: Innovations for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Autumn Series, Mary Immaculate College, October 2015.
  • Hamilton, M (2015) ‘Teacher Ethnography-Exploring Insiderness’ Education Research and Practice in Times of Transition, Education Studies Association of Ireland Annual conference (ESAI), 24 April, Kildare.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2015). Understanding the knowledge demands of teaching statistics: insights gained from examining classroom practice. In K. Krainer & N. Vondrová (Eds.) Proceedings of the Ninth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (pg. 769), Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Hamilton, M. (2014) ‘Inquiry and the Jigsaw Methodology, presentation at: ‘Teaching Science through Inquiry’, European Amgen Teach Conference, NUI Maynooth, 18 October 2014.
  • Hamilton, M. (2014) ‘Insider Teacher-Researchers: Why not ethnography? paper presented at: Research Matters: Exploring Meaning, Identities and Place in International Research Methods Summer School (IRMSS), Mary Immaculate College, 6 June 2014.
  • Hamilton, M. (2014) ‘Exploring Junior Cycle Science Reform’, Chemistry in Context Annual Conference, Dublin Institute of Technology, 11 October 2014.
  • Hamilton, M. ‘Doing ethnography in schools: A teacher-researcher perspective ‘: Imagining and Innovating for Sustainable Futures; Education in Challenging Times, Education Studies Association of Ireland Annual conference (ESAI) conference, Athlone, 11 April 2014.
  • Leavy, A.M., Hourigan, M. & Carroll, C. (2014). 'Lesson Study in Mathematics: Authentic Assessment of Inquiry Learning'. In Proceedings of the Fourth Science and Mathematics Education Conference: Thinking Assessment in Science & Mathematics. Dublin City University, 24 & 25 June, 2014.
  • Carroll, C. and Leavy, A.M. (2013). 'Using Lesson Study to help pre-service teachers bridge the theory-practice gap'. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Research in Mathematics Education (MEI5). Theme: Mathematics Education Crossing Boundaries. Dublin, 5-6 September, T. Dooley, S. NicMhuirí, M. O’Reilly and R. Ward, eds. Dublin: St. Patrick’s College, 89-100.
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A.M. (2013). 'Crossing Boundaries into Secondary Mathematics Concepts: The case of functions'. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Conference on Research in Mathematics Education (MEI5). Theme: Mathematics Education Crossing Boundaries. Dublin, 5-6 September, T. Dooley, S. NicMhuirí, M. O’Reilly and R. Ward, eds. Dublin: St. Patrick’s College, 137-147.
  • Hamilton, M. (2012). ‘Ethnography and qualitative methodologies’ poster presented at International Winter School, University of Limerick, 28 January 2012.
  • Hamilton, M. (2012). ‘Troubling insider research’, Pedagogical Encounters: Feminist Philosophy and Education, University of Dundee, 23 June 2012.
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A. (2012). 'Primary Mathematics Teacher Education: Teaching at the Heart of Learning' in Paul van Kampen, Brien Nolan, Odilla Finlayson, ed.(s), Eilish McLoughlin, chair ESTABLISH | SMEC 2012 Teaching at the heart of Learning, Dublin City University, Ireland, 7-9 June 2012, 21-26.
  • Hamilton, M.  (2011). ‘An Ethnographic study of patterns of leadership among girls’, paper presented at the International Research Methods Summer School (IRMSS), Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, 25 June 2011.
  • Leavy, A.M. & Sloane, F. (2011). 'Applying Results of Statistics Education Research to Teaching Statistics in Irish Primary Schools'. Proceedings of the 58th session of the International Statistical Institute, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Leavy, A.M., McMahon, A. & M. Hourigan (2011). 'Mathematics teaching matters: Making complex mathematical ideas accessible to primary level children', Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Research in Mathematics Education (MEI4) Theme: Mathematics Teaching Matters, Dublin 22-23 September, T. Dooley, D. Corcoran and M. Ryan, eds. Dublin: St. Patrick’s College, 238-249.
  • Leavy, A.M. & O’Shea, J. (2011). 'Problem Posing and Pre-service Primary teachers: An Initial Study'. In: Proceedings of the Fourth Conference on Research in Mathematics Education (MEI4) Theme: Mathematics Teaching Matters, Dublin 22-23 September, T. Dooley, D. Corcoran and M. Ryan, eds. Dublin: St. Patrick’s College
  • Thanheiser, E., Noll, J., & Leavy, A.M (2011). 'Pre-service Elementary Teachers (PSTs) Conceptions of Distributions – Thinking About Measures of Center and Variability'. Psychology of Mathematics Education- North America Chapter. Reno, Nevada.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2010). 'Teaching statistics at the primary level: Identifying obstacles and challenges in teacher preparation from looking at teaching'. Conference Proceedings of the 8th International Congress on Teaching Statistics. Ljubliana, Slovenia.
  • Leavy, A.M., Hourigan, M., & McMahon, A. (2010). 'Facilitating inquiry based learning in mathematics teacher education'. In Proceedings of the Third Science and Mathematics Education Conference. Dublin City University, 16 & 17 September, 2010.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2009). 'A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Insights into Graphicacy Skills of Primary Preservice Teachers'. In S. Close, T. Dooley and D. Corcoran (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second National Conference on Research on Mathematics Education in Ireland (MEI2). St Patrick’s College Dublin.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2009). 'Insights into Informal Inferential Reasoning in the Primary Classroom'. Proceedings of the 57th session of the International Statistical Institute. Durban, South Africa.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2009). 'Next steps in statistics education: identifying teacher professional development needs for teaching the data analysis component of primary level mathematics'. Proceedings of International Association of Statistics Education satellite conference to the 57th session of the International Statistical Institute. Durban, South Africa. 
  • Leavy, A.M. (2007). 'Coordinating student learning and teacher activity – the case of Savannah: Motivating an understanding of representativeness through examination of distributions of data'. In S. Close, T. Dooley and D. Corcoran (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second National Conference on Research on Mathematics Education in Ireland (MEI2). St Patrick’s College Dublin.
  • Hourigan, M. and O’ Donoghue, J. (2007). 'The Challenges Facing Pre-service Education: Addressing the Issue of Mathematics Subject Matter Knowledge among Prospective Primary Teachers'. Proceedings of Second National Conference on Research in Mathematics Education (MEI2) Theme: ‘Walking the Talk’-Using Mathematics Education Research, Dublin, 14-15 September, S. Close, D. Corcoran and T. Dooley, eds. Dublin: St Patrick’s College, 323-338.
  • Leavy, A.M. (2006). 'Communicating aspects of data: An examination of elementary preservice teachers’ conceptualisation of distribution. In Alatorre, S., Cortina, J.L., Sáiz, M., and Méndez, A.(Eds) (2006). Proceedings of the 28th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Mérida, México, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.
  • Leavy, A.M., Jones, S., & Graybeal, C.D.  (2006). 'Compensating for imperfect content knowledge: using contexts as a means to support urban students in engaging with and making sense of data'. In Alatorre, S., Cortina, J.L., Sáiz, M., and Méndez, A.(Eds) (2006). Proceedings of the 28th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Mérida, México, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional.
  • Ganesh, T.G., Glass, G.V., Andrews, S., Middleton, J.A., & Leavy, A.M. (2001). 'Scholarly Electronic Journals: Economic and Technical Issues'. 22nd Annual Proceedings: Selected Research and Development papers presented at the 2000 national Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

Peer-Reviewed Journals/Books/Book Chapters

**Just published**

  • Cullinane, A. & O’ Dwyer, A. (2019). Lesson Resources and Teaching Strategies on Argumentation for Secondary Chemistry Education. In Erduran. S. (Ed.), Advances in Chemistry Education Series No. 2 Argumentation in Chemistry Education: Research, Policy and Practice. (pp. 62-78) UK: Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A.M. (2019). Learning from teachingPre-service elementary teachers’ perceived learning from engaging in formal Lesson Study. Irish Educational StudiesDOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s1085…. 
  • Leavy, A.M. & Hourigan, M. (2019). Posing Mathematically Worthwhile Problems: Developing the Problem Posing Skills of prospective Teachers. Journal of Mathematics Teacher EducationDOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10857-018-09425-w
  • O’Meara, N., Johnson, P. & Leavy, A.M. (Online First, June18). A Comparative Study Investigating the Use of Manipulatives at the Boundary Crossing from Primary to Post-Primary Education. International Journal for Mathematical Education in Science and Technology.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0020739X.2019.1648891

 

Recent publications:

  • Leavy, A. and Hourigan, M. (2018). The role of perceptual similarity, data context and task context when selecting attributes: Examination of considerations made by 5-6 year olds in data modelling environments. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 97(2), 163-183. DOI: 10.1007/s10649-017-9791-2.
  • Hamilton, M (2017): Bridging the Gap from Teacher to Teacher Educator: The Role of a Teaching Portfolio, Studying Teacher Education. DOI: 10.1080/17425964.2017.1414041.
  • Hamilton, M. (2017) Pedagogical transitions among science teachers: how does context intersect with teacher beliefs? Teachers and Teaching; DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2017.1367658.
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A. (2017). The case of symmetry. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom 22(2), 8-13.
  • Leavy, A. and Hourigan, M. (2016). Tatort und geheimnisvolle spieler! Mit Leifragen die entwicklung von Staristical Literacy understutzen, Stochastik in der Schule, 3(36), 2-9.
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A.M. (2016). Practical Problems: Introducing Statistics to
  • Kindergarteners. Teaching Children Mathematics, 22(5), 283-291.
  • Leavy, A. and Hourigan, M. (2016). Crime Scenes and Mystery Players! Using interesting contexts and driving questions to support the development of statistical literacy. Teaching Statistics, 38(1), 29-35. DOI: 10.1111/test.12088.
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A. (2016). What do the Stats Tell Us? Engaging Elementary Children in Probabilistic Reasoning Based on Analysis of Data. Teaching Statistics, 38(1), 8-15. DOI: 10.1111/test.12084.  
  • Ring, E., Mhic Mhathúna, M., Moloney, M., Hayes, N., Breathnach, D., Stafford, P., Carswell, D., Keegan, S., Kelleher, C., McCafferty, D., O’Keeffe, A., Leavy, A., Madden, R. and Ozonyia, M. (2016).  An examination of concepts of school readiness among parents and educators in Ireland. Dublin: Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Available at: www.dcya.ie
  • Doran, M. (2015), An Ethnography of an Irish Girls School: Exploring how Hegemony and Power Mediate Agency and Structure, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle.
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A. (2015). Geometric Patterns: What’s the rule? Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 20(4), 31-39
  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A. (2015).  What’s A Real Shape? Designing Appropriate Geometric Instruction. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 20(1), 24-29
  • Leavy, A. and Hourigan , M. (2015). Budding Architects: Exploring the designs of pyramids and prisms. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 20(3), 17-23.
  • Leavy, A.  and Hourigan, M. (2015). Motivating Inquiry in Statistics and Probability in the Primary Classroom. Teaching Statistics, 37(2), 41-47. DOI: 10.1111/test.12062.  
  • O’ Dwyer, A. & Childs, P. (2015) Organic Chemistry in Action! What is the reaction? Journal of Chemical Education, 92 (7), pp.1159-1170.  (DOI: 10.1021/ed5006163). Read here
  • O’ Dwyer, A. & Childs, P. (2014) Organic Chemistry in Action! Developing an Intervention Program for Introductory Organic Chemistry to Improve Learners’ Understanding, Interest and Attitudes. Journal of Chemical Education. 91 (7), pp 987–993. Read here.       
  • Leavy, A., McMahon, A & Hourigan, M. (2013). Early Algebra: Developing Understanding of the Equals Sign. Teaching Children Mathematics, 20(4), 246-252.
  • Leavy, A.M., Friel, S., & Mamer, J. (2009). It’s a Fird! Can You Compute a Median of Categorical Data? Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 14(6), 344-352.

Conference Proceedings

  • Frischemeier, D & Leavy, A. (2019). The challenges for prospective primary teachers when constructing statistically worthwhile questions.Paper presented at the Congress of European Research in Mathematics Education (CERME11), Feb 5-10, 2019. Utrecht, Netherlands.
  • De Vetten, A., Leavy, A.. & Keijzer, R.  (2019). Design principles for short informal statistical inferences activities for primary education.Paper presented at theCongress of European Research in Mathematics Education (CERME11), Feb 5-10, 2019. Utrecht, Netherlands.
  • Hamilton, M & O Dwyer, A (2016) ‘Exploring the Human Graphing as a Cross Curricular numeracy tool’ RDS STEM Conference, Dublin, 25 November 2016.
  • Hamilton, M (2016) ‘How does Curricular Reform Re-form Praxis, International Research Methods Summer School (IRMSS), Mary Immaculate College, 27 May 2016.
  • Hamilton, M. (2016) ‘Exploring Curricular reform in Science Education and Practitioner Pedagogical Transitions’, published paper in conference proceedings IBSN 978-88-6292-705-5 at: New Perspectives in Science Education, Florence, 16 March 2016,
  • Hamilton, M & Canny, A (2016) ‘The Contested Nature of Social Class: Challenging the Assumptions of Middle Class Homogeneity’, Bourdieu Study Group Annual Conference, 4 July 2016 Bristol.
  • Hamilton, M. (2016) ‘Limericks Salmon Fishing Past’, Memory and Vision 1916 Commemorations Conference, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, 20th February 2016.
  • Hamilton, M. (2014) ‘Exploring Junior Cycle Science Reform’, Chemistry in Context Annual Conference, Dublin Institute of Technology, 11 October 2014.
  • Hamilton, M. (2014) ‘Inquiry and the Jigsaw Methodology, presentation at: ‘Teaching Science through Inquiry’, European Amgen Teach Conference, NUI Maynooth, 18 October 2014.
  • Hamilton, M. (2014) ‘Doing ethnography in schools: A teacher-researcher perspective’ :Imagining and Innovating for Sustainable Futures; Education in Challenging Times, Education Studies Association of Ireland Annual conference (ESAI) conference, Athlone, 11 April 2014.
  • Hamilton, M.  (2011). ‘An Ethnographic study of patterns of leadership among girls’, paper presented at the International Research Methods Summer School (IRMSS), Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, 25 June 2011.

Peer-Reviewed Journals/Books/Book Chapters

  • Hourigan, M. and Leavy, A.M. (2019). Learning from teachingPre-service elementary teachers’ perceived learning from engaging in formal Lesson Study. Irish Educational StudiesDOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s1085…. 
  • Leavy, A.M. & Hourigan, M. (2019). Posing Mathematically Worthwhile Problems: Developing the Problem Posing Skills of prospective Teachers. Journal of Mathematics Teacher EducationDOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10857-018-09425-w
  • Hamilton, M & O’ Dwyer, A (2018) Exploring student learning approaches on an initial teacher education programme: A comparison of mature learners and direct entry third-level students, Teaching and Teacher Education, 71(2) 251-261.
  • Hamilton, M. (2017) Pedagogical transitions among science teachers: how does context intersect with teacher beliefs? Teachers and Teaching. DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2017.1367658.
  • Hamilton, M (2017): Bridging the Gap from Teacher to Teacher Educator: The Role of a Teaching Portfolio, Studying Teacher Education. DOI:10.1080/17425964.2017.1414041.
  • Childs, P.E.; O’Dwyer, A.; Hayes, S. (2015) Chemistry and everyday life: Relating secondary school chemistry to the current and future lives of students in Eilks, I.; Hofstien, A. Eds., Relevant Chemistry Education- From theory to Practice, Sense Publishers, pp.35.54.
  • Childs, P.E., O’Dwyer, A.; Hayes, S.  (2013) Transition Year Science: An Action Research Curriculum Development Project’ in Plomp, T. and Nieveen, N. Eds., Educational Design Research: Introduction and Illustrative Cases, Enschede: SLO, pp. 733-754.
  • Hourigan, M. and O’ Donoghue, J. (2007). Mathematical Under-Preparedness: The Influence of the Pre-tertiary mathematics experiences on students’ ability to make a successful transition to tertiary level mathematics courses in Ireland. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 38(4), pp. 461-477. DOI: 10.1080/00207390601129279.
  • Hourigan, M. and O’ Donoghue, J. (2006). Moving Closer to Solving the ‘Mathematics Problem’ Where it Arises: the Influence of the ‘Typical’ Irish Pre-tertiary Mathematics Experiences on Under-Preparedness Among Numerate Entrants. Proceedings of Second International Science and Mathematics Education Conference (SMEC 2006), 18-19 September, D. Corcoran and S. Breen, eds. Dublin: Castel, 124-134.

Projects

A School-College Partnership: STEM Outreach with Scoil Mháthair Dé

For the past number of years, the Department of STEM Education have worked closely with Scoil Mháthair Dé through coding initiatives, teaching innovation as part of Lesson Study and engagement of primary school students in Science and Maths Week. We formalized our relationship with Scoil Mhathair Dé in September 2018 piloting a range of STEM activities. In Autumn 2018, members of the STEM Education Department have worked alongside the teachers in the school to develop a range of STEM experiences for a variety of class groupings. As part of these activities, children received opportunities to work with pre-service primary teachers on a variety of experiences including Science week workshops (Hands on Minds on), mathematics week activities (Bigger and Better Brainteaser Bandits) in addition to one-on-one coding sessions utilising Scratch. In other instances, STEM Education faculty engaged with school staff in working on planning and implementing a STEM design activity (Shoe Design and Construction: Which shoe fits you?). In this case, while the class teachers took the lead, pre-service teachers from Mary Immaculate College worked with small groups to facilitate all children to engage fully in the STEM activity. In Spring 2019, activities included a problem-solving pen-pal initiative as well as LEGO sessions. While in its infancy, it is envisaged that this approach will foster positive dispositions towards the benefits of engaging in STEM as well as facilitate sustainable implementation of the STEM approaches by developing relevant skills and resources within the school. 

Staff at Scoil Mháthair Dé: Gerardine Uí'Chathasaigh (Principal), Aileen Mannion, Úna O'Driscoll

STEM department at Mary Immaculate College: Dr. Aisling Leavy, Dr. Mairead Hourigan, Dr. Anne O’Dwyer, Dr. Miriam Hamilton, Dr. Ed Corry, Dr. Maeve Liston and Claire Carroll.

Attitudes to Mathematics

Positive teacher attitudes towards mathematics are important as attitudes affect what teachers teach and how they teach it. Teachers with negative attitudes towards mathematics used more rule-based, teacher- directed strategies than their peers with positive attitudes whose focus is on understanding, exploration and the discovery of mathematical relationships. 

The goals of this research are multi-fold:

  • Entry level attitudes: We explore the attitudes of pre-service primary teachers towards mathematics on entry to teacher education programs.
  • Influence of route of entry: We examine the difference in attitudes of route of entry (undergraduate versus postgraduate entry routes) on attitudes towards mathematics.
  • Longitudinal examination of entry-level attitudes: The collection of data on entry level teacher attitudes towards mathematics has been ongoing in out institution for over a decade. This supports a longitudinal examination of entry-level attitudes over time.
  • Influence of programme participation on attitudes: We evaluate the effect of participation in a reform-based elementary pre-service teacher education programme on beliefs about and attitude towards mathematics. 

Project coordinators: Aisling Leavy and Mairead Hourigan

Outputs: Click here.

Japanese Lesson Study

For the past 11 years, the Lesson Study group at Mary Immaculate College have been engaging pre-service primary teachers in Lesson Study in conjunction with local schools in Limerick City. Each year this initiative involves liaising with local primary schools, working in particular with a designated class group and their teachers. This outreach has involved in excess of 250 pre-service teachers who have worked in over 50 primary classrooms across 5 Limerick city schools. The mathematics teacher educators (Aisling Leavy and Mairéad Hourigan) work with pre-service teachers to engage in two cycles of Lesson Study. After initially planning a research lesson, each Lesson Study group engages in a cycle of implementation, observation, discussion and reflection prior to refining the research lesson. Annually a particular mathematics strand (e.g. Statistics) or mathematics skill (e.g. problem solving) is the focus of the Lesson Study process. Participation has a range of benefits for all involved including the teacher educators, pre-service teachers, qualified teachers and participating pupils alike. In terms of outputs, the resulting research lessons are shared with pre-service and qualified primary teachers beyond those who engaged in the project through fora including national and international practitioner journals and the use of video of the classroom practice in college lectures and at national and international conferences. From a research perspective, the study has a number of foci including the examination of mathematical knowledge for teaching, pedagogical knowledge and developed insights into children’s mathematical thinking and reasoning. 

Project coordinators: Aisling Leavy and Mairead Hourigan

Outputs: Click here.
 

Limerick Festival of Science

Over the past number of years, Mary Immaculate College has partnered with University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology to develop, plan and host a range of free events as part of national Science Week in November each year. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Science Week provides opportunities to spark curiosity, inspire imagination and unleash the creative potential that can help shape the future. As part of the Limerick Festival of Science, a range of different events for pupils, teachers, parents and public run each year across the city and county. 

Each year over 2,250 pupils attend events hosted on the MIC campus, and by MIC in County Limerick. Pupils from over 50 primary schools continue to enjoy and participate in a range of events. 

Invited Science presenters provide engaging shows for schools in the Lime Tree theatre in MIC. Undergraduate B.Ed. students in MIC develop and deliver Hands On Minds On Science workshops over two weeks for individual class groups. These workshops are interactive and allow primary pupils with an opportunity explore and engage with Science. The B.Ed. students also facilitate Brainteaser Bandits, a series of problem solving, creative and engaging maths workshops for primary school pupils. The department of STEM Education links with colleagues in the Department of Arts Education and Physical Education (AEPE). Creative Arts and STEAM workshops have been very popular with visiting schools. The Physical Education team have invited experts and guest speakers to deliver engaging evening seminars for both in-service teachers and student teachers. 

In addition to hosting events for primary school pupils on campus, the Department of STEM Education and the TED Project (Transforming Education through Dialogue) at MIC facilitate off-campus Science Week events in county Limerick. This offers opportunities for pupils and schools in rural areas to be part of Limerick Festival of Science. New collaborations develop each year with other colleagues and groups in MIC, extending Science Week ventures and diversity. The Health Promotion Office have run events, open to the public over the past two years relating STEM to a healthy lifestyle. 

Festival coordinator (Mary Immaculate College events): Dr. Anne O’ Dwyer

Mathematics Education Programme Efficacy

These studies examine the characteristics (knowledge and attitudes) of student teachers entering a mathematics education programme as well as the impact of participation in a mathematics education programme on these characteristics. Studies explore the mathematics knowledge and attitudes of pre-service primary teachers and the statistics knowledge and attitudes of pre-service mathematics teachers.

Project coordinators: Mairead Hourigan and Aisling Leavy.

Outputs: Click here.

Statistics Education in Schools and Initial Teacher Education

The goal of this project is to explore the experience of statistics for all learners. We explore the impact of designing and teaching statistical inquiry lessons on the knowledge development and experiences of both pre-service teachers and children in classrooms. We also explore the attitudes of pre-service teachers towards statistics and explore the factors that influence those attitudes.
 

Project coordinators: Aisling Leavy and Mairead Hourigan

Outputs: Click here.

 

Transitions: Influence of Pre-tertiary Mathematics Education

The goal of this project is to explore the impact of secondary school mathematics experiences (pre-tertiary) on the mathematical knowledge and attitudes the students bring to tertiary education. We are particularly interested in the characteristics of pre-service teachers. We examine the mathematical understandings (both procedural and conceptual) of pre-service teachers and explore what this means for the design of courses in initial teacher education that best prepare then to teach primary level mathematics.

Project coordinators: Mairead Hourigan and Aisling Leavy.

Outputs: Click here.

Resources

Mathematics Resources for Teachers

These maths resources for teachers have been developed from Lesson Study research carried out in classrooms in local schools. The publications below are designed for teachers to use and adapt in their own classrooms with a view to developing the mathematical understandings of primary level children.  

Shape and space

Data and Probability

  • Practical Problems: Introducing Statistics to Kindergarteners.  Download here. 
  • Counting creatures: Exploring Data with Infants. Download here.
  • Crime Scene Investigation in the Classroom. Download here.
  • Comparing Means. Download here.
  • Children as Data Detectives. Download here.
  • Crime Scenes and Mystery Players! Using interesting contexts and driving questions to support the development of statistical literacy. Download here.
  • What do the Stats Tell Us? Engaging Elementary Children in Probabilistic Reasoning Based on Analysis of Data. Download here.
  • Motivating Inquiry in Statistics and Probability in the Primary Classroom. Download here.
  • Identifying the Mystery Player: Comparing Body Measurement Data of the Irish Soccer and Rugby Teams. Download here.
  • Exploring probability concepts using a mini games environment: Ideas for primary and secondary classrooms. Download here.
  • Using a simulation to explore the Law of Large Numbers: Insights into a classroom investigation. Download here.

Algebra

Science Resources for Teachers

  • Engaging in Primary Science- Using Mysteries to begin inquiry Science lessons. Download here

 

STEM Resources for teachers

  • Examining the sugar in breakfast cereals - how much is too much? Download here.
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