Trinity Walton Club

9 December 2014

On 4 October, Trinity welcomed 60 post-primary students on campus to begin the inaugural Trinity Walton Club programme.

Alphas busy programming their Arduinos
Alphas busy programming their Arduinos

Since then, each Saturday afternoon the SNIAM and Fitzgerald buildings come alive with 14-year-olds, eager to learn more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and of course meet likeminded students.

The Trinity Walton Club, named after Ireland’s only Nobel Scientist (Physics, 1951) and Trinity student and professor, Ernest T. S. Walton, came to exist through seed funding from donors including the Institute of Physics in Ireland and the concerted effort of staff from the Schools of Physics, Mathematics and Education at Trinity College Dublin.

Each week, students known as alphas (after the particles Walton observed in his Nobel Prize winning experiments) are supported in their pursuit of STEM by participating in three streams of activities: science (mainly physics), technology & engineering and mathematics. The lessons covered in each stream are designed to ignite curiosity, further develop problem solving and critical thinking abilities, and provide rich context for these subjects in the real world. A recent physics activity saw the alphas visit the Trinity Sports Centre and explore the physics of trampolining, which the alphas jumped at (excuse the pun).

The team of educators at the club is made up of enthusiastic postgraduate students from various STEM backgrounds and a trained teacher. Together the team create novel, interconnected student-centric STEM lessons and activities, which are “challenging but super fun”, says one of the alphas. Another comments that “The educators are great and brilliant at explaining things, not to mention they know how to make the classes interesting.” In addition to STEM lessons and activities, the Trinity Walton Club “Expert Mini-Series” invites academics and industry professionals to share their experiences and wisdom with the alphas, which they greatly enjoy.

The Trinity Walton Club is a new venture for Trinity, and early signs have indicated that there is an overwhelming demand for this STEM club. It is hoped that each year the club will grow in alpha and staff numbers and if you would like to get in touch, or for more information please visit the website.