Primary Thematic Units: STEM

Supporting the statutory requirements for the Areas of Learning of the NI Curriculum at Key Stage 2. Read more...

Norn Iron's Ordinary Heroes

A comic celebrating people who have achieved extrordinary success in the areas of STEM. Read more...

STEM in Minecraft

Pupils develop empathy for how people lived in Viking times by overcoming a number of problems encountered through everyday Viking life, in Minecraft! Read more...


Case Studies

Promoting STEM through the NI Curriculum

Making Learning Connections

STEM Innovation

CCEA adopted innovation as a tool that could be used by schools to bring about lasting change in terms of adding value to their STEM provision. Schools were given the opportunity to gain an insight into and discuss innovation in STEM education. Read more...

Assessing UICT through STEM Futures

This case study shows a good example of how careful selection of curriculum material leads to work which satisfies several statutory requirements at once. Read more...

STEM Heroes

Schools across Northern Ireland had the opportunity to celebrate and share STEM Heroes in their local community. This booklet gives a summary of some of the exciting work that was carried out by pupils in both Primary and Post-Primary schools. Read more...


Exploring Ideas



The purpose of this session was to enable pupils to explore and share their ideas. In Technology and Design pupils used the Internet for research. They had to identify a range of websites suitable for illustrating the theme of ‘Sports Science’ and cycling and write a critical review of the selected websites. Pupils compiled a set of images and used these to create a mood board and gave a presentation to explain their ideas.


Learning Intentions

Pupils will be learning about:

  • the science behind different sports;
  • the human body; healthy lifestyle and exercise;
  • the different styles of bicycle design, and their various specialist functions;
  • the influence of performance demands on the materials used for manufacture, and hence the look of the bicycle; and
  • how to select information following web-based research and how to rank the materials found according to pre-determined criteria such as the size and resolution of images for onscreen display as opposed to printing.

Pupils will be able to:

  • locate and evaluate a range of websites suitable for use in researching Sports Science and the design of bicycles;
  • investigate at least two different sports from a scientific perspective;
  • compare and contrast the effects of different types of exercise on the human body;
  • discuss healthy lifestyle choices;
  • examine the Science and Technology involved in the bicycle and cycling; and
  • research the materials used in bicycle manufacture.

Success Criteria

  • Pupils will produce an evaluation report on three web sites and comment on their use for researching Sports Science.
  • Pupils will produce a mood board which illustrates the theme of ‘Sports Science’ and cycling.
  • Pupils will discuss their mood boards and explain their ideas.

Key Questions

  • Can Science be used to explain all sports?
  • Can regular exercise improve your life expectancy?
  • What are the benefits of a healthy diet?
  • What factors influence a person’s choice of exercise?
  • Why do bicycles have different sizes of wheel?
  • How much time do you need to spend cycling to stay healthy?

Follow-Up Activities

  • Compare and contrast the diet of an Olympic athlete with that of an ‘average’ person.
  • Look at nutrition, digestion and the processes by which metabolism transforms the latent energy of food into muscular forces.
  • Find examples of the use of levers and fulcrums in everyday objects and mechanisms.
  • Find examples of how research in Science has led to unexpected inventions.
  • Discuss the implications and environmental impact of making cycle routes safe for city centre commuting.

Useful links

Skills and Capabilities

Depending on the way you plan this activity and your intended learning outcomes for the session, using the Internet for research could provide assessment opportunities for UICT within a Science context. The activity might also be used as pupil evidence as part of CCEAs ICT Accreditation Scheme.

For example, the activity focus might be on enabling pupils to get better at selecting and filtering information, refining their search and improving their ability to make critical judgments about the authenticity and validity of the information. 

If you are recreating this activity in your classroom, it is a natural place to spend time on the Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making strand of the Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities framework. For example:

  • Encourage pupils to consider how the design of the bicycle has changed over time and explore the reasons for this.
  • Ask pupils to analyse the design of a bicycle custom built for the Olympics.

Guidance on skills and on the infusion approach are available at

Curriculum Links

  • KS3 statutory requirements for Science (Organisms and Health and Force and Energy).
  • KS3 statutory requirements for Technology and Design (Design and Manufacturing).
  • Depending on how the activity is structured and developed it could be used to emphasise key messages around Personal Health.