A magazine that explains science news for primary school children in Ireland has won international acclaim.

Katharine Sanderson/Dublin, Ireland

A magazine that explains science news for primary school children in Ireland has won international acclaim with the World Association of Newspapers 2005 world young reader prize. 

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The magazine, Eureka, was conceived and written by Sheila Donegan and Eoin Gill from Calmast (Waterford Institute of Technology’s Centre for the Advancement of Learning of Maths, Science and Technology). 

Eureka started out as a supplement on primary school science in December last year in the national newspaper Irish Independent. It was published to provide primary teachers with confidence in their science teaching following the addition of science to Ireland’s primary curriculum in 2003. ’A lot of teachers didn’t have a background in science, so we wanted to give the kids and the teachers something they could use in the classroom,’ said Donegan.

Eureka subscribers now receive their copy, along with the newspaper, once a week during term time. Plans for the future include a website with prior warnings for teachers about upcoming topics to help with lesson plans, an edition for secondary schools, and an edition printed in Irish.

’Deadlines are really hectic,’ said Donegan, who also lectures part time in chemistry, and runs hands-on workshops for children. Despite this, Calmast has no plans to relinquish running of the magazine to the newspaper, or to commercialise it. ’We really don’t want to have kids exposed to adverts,’ said Donegan.

Harry Kroto, professor of chemistry at Florida State University, US, has expressed interest in taking the magazine idea to the US. He described the magazine as ’a most impressive initiative to make young people aware of the true importance of science, engineering and technology to their everyday lives.’

Since the magazine was launched last year, Donegan says that a survey of teachers shows that 80 per cent are now teaching more science. ’We hope that by winning the award more people will be aware of the magazine,’ she said. ’To be recognised worldwide is great.’