Young Scientists

They told us that the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition would be amazing (and crowded), but we had no idea of the scope until we got there. To say it was impressive is an understatement. Here are a handful of the winning projects:

  • Feeding 9.6 Billion People by 2050
  • An Analysis of the Housing Shortage in Ireland
  • Investigation on Conformity and how Minorities can Influence it
  • The Effect of Female Role Models in STEM Fields
  • Removal of Microplastics from Oceans Using Ferro Fluids

All of this should remind us that not only are we Global Citizens, but also that the earth has a limited amount of resources and we need to start taking better care of it. If the Exhibition is any indication, we are in competent hands with this generation.

Porter’s and SEK Dublin about to enter the Exhibit Hall

Michelle, Nicole, Amelia, Olivia, and Kayleen modeling the latest in 3D glasses before a movie

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. This show was called “The Science of the Circus”

Our students have their first whole day with their host families tomorrow (and Ana and Jamie get  their first day off!). While there is naturally a little anxiety around it, they have all settled in beautifully and are really enjoying their stays.

Field Trip Prep

Tomorrow we’re doublin’ back to Dublin for the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. There are literally thousands of projects by Irish primary and secondary students: Winners we be announced tonight before our visit.

This morning, Porter’s is working with the SEK students to prepare for Saturday. Each group of  three needs to research the projects themselves and a map of the exhibition hall. Then they have to make a presentation recommending four or five projects to their classmates.



It’s a simple but brilliant assignment that combines communication, collaboration, and student choice.

Because SEK does not have a proper gym, they do a lot of walking and hiking around the area. After lunch, we’re taking a six kilometer hike to a local waterfall. Pictures and, time permitting, reflections tonight.

First Day in the Books

Our first day of classes was fun and interesting. It started with the Head of School Kristen Dickhaut collecting phones at the entrance to school. The Horror! She wanted to make sure that our students communicated with the Spanish students–and each other–face to face. Can you imagine? Once the girls got over the initial shock they were fine. Our students went to largely traditional classes: Spanish, English, Math, History,  mixed in with the Irish music I mentioned this morning. Some learned along with the older students here and others decided to help the younger students with their English. At lunchtime we celebrated the 175th anniversary of Porter’s, as people did all over the world:

 Well done, Sarah Porter!

Love those uniforms! The girls also loved the two recess periods, a thirty minute session in the morning and an even longer one in the afternoon. After the afternoon break, Kristen made a surprise announcement that because of jet lag (the SEK students were on planes yesterday) and a general lack of focus (them, not us!) that we were going to take a bus to Bray and spend the final hour walking on the seaside. So we did:

Bray Head Hill in the background. Part of the Wicklow Mountains.

I guess you can afford to do that when you teach IB instead of AP. Did I say that out loud? Time for bed. Tune in Friday for our latest adventures.

Back to Class

The homestay are a hit, although the consensus is that the Irish like their homes a little chillier than we do. SEK Dublin enjoys a magnificent sunrise over the Irish Sea each morning:

After a brief orientation, Porter’s jumped right into classes. We should be proud, because the early feedback is that they started participating right away. No surprise there. Their favorite class so far was traditional Irish dancing:

Still working out class schedules, etc, but the girls are having a blast. More soon.


Homestays are Lit! (Parents: that’s good)

Here’s a sampling of the texts Ana and I got tonight:

“5 kids and they all share 1 bathroom #rip But my fam is so cute!”

“picked up the son at swim practice, met the cat, talked about how to study with the daughter, unpacking now”

“I’ve been in the house for about 20 mins and the mom is so nice, and the daughter is cool too. This Homestay is about to be lit”

“We love our homestay. Our mom is so nice and the daughter is shy but really nice, too. Third floor of the house is our room so it’s gonna be lit too!”

“That awkward moment when I tried to take this sneakily while watching TV w the fam and the flash went off!”

“The three year old was such an ice breaker lol He opened the door and screamed ‘KAYLEEN IS HERE. HI KAYLEEN, you’re sleeping in Alicia’s room, hello, hi'”

“the cat loves me so that’s good”

Arrived at SEK Dublin

After a gorgeous hour-long train ride along the Irish coast, we’ve arrived at school. The girls are playing ping pong, tennis, connect four, and jenga as they await their homestay parents. A lot of nervous–but positive–energy. First night with Irish families!

View from school. Irish Sea in the background.

Connolly Train Station

On the beach of the Irish Sea

Swimming anyone?


Last Day in Dublin

We began our day with a tour of Dublin Castle. The mix between Viking, 18th Century, and modern architecture was fascinating, and a good microcosm of Irish culture in general. Then it was time for the “challenge by choice” part of the program. After our two-day orientation, the girls were allowed to explore Dublin in groups of 2-4. All are present and accounted for at 5PM!

We will have a farewell and celebratory dinner at The Brazen Head, a pub that bills itself at “the oldest in Dublin.” Sounds to me like the “best cup of coffee” in New York City. We will follow up tonight with plenty of stories and pictures. Here’s a picture of Dublin Castle to whet your appetite: