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Visiting the Netherlands: Spanish-Dutch joint project proceeds

From 15-18 December Nuria Muñoz Molina from La Inmaculada School in Algeciras, Spain, visited her teacher colleague Silvio Rademaker at the Amadeus Lyceum in Vleuten, Utrecht. They both met at the European Science on Stage festival 2015 in London as delegates of Science on Stage Spain and Science on Stage Netherlands. Together they started to work on the joint project 'Phantoms or Physics'. Find here the full report of Nuria on the latest exhange:

"On Thursday, 15th December, I travelled to Utrecht, The Netherlands, to collaborate and exchange in person with my colleague Silvio Rademaker in our joint project 'Phantoms or Physics'. On Friday Silvio and I went straight to school where I got to meet the principal and colleagues. After this nice and warm welcome we headed off to a large classroom where I met the students that are involved in the project. I had the opportunity to show them the part that my students have already developed throught our joint project and they explained their research regarding the same thing to me. I also visited most of the departments. I was pleasantly surprised about the facilities that the Amadeus Lyceum can offer to its students. The atmosphere at the school is really friendly. The educational system is quite different to the one that we have in Spain. Therefore I have brought new ideas that I have already shared with the headmistress and my colleagues at my school. It was well worth a visit!

The next topic on the agenda was about going to participate in the 51ª Conference for Physics Teachers. We stopped on the way to the conference because we had to attend to a phone call from a Spanish radio station and Silvio and I were interviewed to explain all about our joint project and my experience during the visit to The Netherlands. At last we got to the WND Conference with its nearly 600 physics teachers. Silvio and I did our workshop in the evening. I explained how 'hidden science' was used in magic shows and theatres during the 19th century and how performers used science as an art in their productions. We were so lucky that David Featonby from Science on Stage UK was there too.

Afterwards we shared a fantastic dinner with teachers that came from Belgium and The Netherlands. We had the opportunity to exchange ideas and future projects about science. Therefore it was very inspiring to hear new ideas and different approaches concerning the same subject. After dinner we participated in a big Science market where we could enjoy drinks while we were visiting different stalls, some of them with scientific books, others with experiments, and other ones with scientific toys. We also had the chance to chat to many teachers in a very relaxing atmosphere.

On the last day, Silvio and I attended David Featonby's workshop entitled 'What's next?'. He did lots of amazing experiments, in a very didactic way so we took photos of everything and we took advantage of being able to bring back ideas to our classes. I feel that I was very priveledged to participate in this unique experience and I'm grateful to the fact that thanks to Science on Stage I had the opportunity to meet Silvio and carry out a joint project and meet new colleagues and friends such as David Featonby. For more information regarding our experiments that we demonstrated throughout our workshop, please visit the webpage phantomsorphysics.wordpress.com."

Athens: The Greek Science on Stage festival 2016

From 11-12 November 2016 the Greek Science on Stage festival took place as the '9th Hellenic Science on Stage Fair', which included an exhibition and contest of laboratory constructions and educational material on the theme of the programme: 'Inventing the Future of Science Education'. It was held in the premises of 'Laboratory Centre of Physical Sciences of Aigaleo', Athens (E.K.F.E. Aigaleo) together with '10th Science and Technology Fair'. At the event the Greek STEM teachers delegation for the European Science on Stage festival 2017 in Debrecen, Hungary, was chosen. 

The contest was open for teams of students and teachers from all Greek schools. During the two-day event, all selected projects were shown to students, teachers and the general public. The entrance to both events was free. 330 students and 60 teachers presented 150 projects to about 1000 visitors.

The Greek Science on Stage festival was organised by the 'Laboratory Centre of Physical Sciences of Aigaleo' and the Greek NSC. 

 

News from Turkey: Teacher seminar and workshop on robotics

Robotics is a topic of high interest for STEM teachers all around Europe. Nilgün Erentay from Science on Stage Turkey just recently organised a teacher seminar and workshop on how to implement robotics in science teaching with participants from İstanbul, Samsun, Ankara, Kocaeli or Düzce - as you can tell by the pictures, it was a real hands-on experience! 

Debrecen: The Hungarian Science on Stage festival 2016

The Hungarian Science on Stage Festival was organised in the Agora Science Centre in Debrecen between 7th and 9th October. Almost 100 participants, devoted to science education, presented their most innovative tools and methods starting from simple handmade experiments up to educational projects accomplished in international cooperation. This is an amazing development in the Hungarian Science on Stage history: in 2010 – and before – there were only about 12-16 projects presented at the national festivals, whereas in 2014 this number was already 43, and this year it raised up to 93 projects, presented by more than 150 teachers. Csaba Sükösd from Science on Stage Hungary reports:

"The participants of the festival had the opportunity to visit the Institute for Nuclear Research, Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA Atomki), which hosts also a Historic Site of the European Physical Society. A day later, they were invited to visit the research laboratory and production hall of the National Instruments Ltd, one of the leading high-tech industrial player of the region. 

On 7 October the opening ceremony started with a series of greetings: the vice-mayor of Debrecen, the vice president of the National Research Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH), the Director General of the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development (OFI), the vice-rector of the University of Debrecen and the Acting Director of the Ericsson Hungary Ltd. welcomed the participants and wished good success to the festival. Also the secretary general of the Roland Eötvös Physical Society (ELFT), the umbrella organisation for Science on Stage Hungary, welcomed the participants of the festival and the VIP guests, among them were also the representatives of the SAP and BASF Hungary. 

After the greetings Béla Somogyi, – the director of the Agora Science Centre – introduced the host establishment shortly. While he was speaking, small robots walked around following lines on the floor, which were constructed by small kids after a few practices in robotics in the clubs of Agora. He also showed a more sophisticated robot, which solved quickly the Rubik’s cube. The first day ended by two spectacular on-stage presentations.

On 8 October a wide variety of inventions, experiments and teaching methods lined up in the almost 100 stands, covering almost all disciplines of natural sciences. The excited teachers visited each-other’s stands most curiously between the on-stage presentations and workshops. “The most important message of Science on Stage is not the competition, but the cooperation” – said Marta Gajdosné, who won the "European Science Teacher Award" prize together with German colleagues at the international Science on Stage festival in London last year. The chemistry teacher of the Kempelen high school in Budapest is working together with an international team on a common project also this year.

In the fair the dominance of the spectacular experiments in physics and chemistry was compensated by the stands dealing with mathematics, biology, informatics and education procedures. The whole spectrum of public science education was covered from the kindergarten up to university dealing with the formation of teachers. 

On 8 October there was also the “Open Afternoon”, when not only the participants, but also the public was able to visit the festival. The entrance was free, although pre-registration was advised. The available – several hundred – places were completely filled up quickly, several days before the registration deadline, which shows how popular the festival was. There were even groups of teachers and students arriving with charter buses from far away. However, the allowed total number of persons in the building was limited by fire and emergency regulations; therefore many interested people had to be turned away.  

The organisers of the festival placed the on-stage presentation of dr. András Róka in the “Open Afternoon”, so that also the general public could see his very spectacular presentation. The chemistry professor who also held an on-stage presentation in London, and was invited also to Turkey’s national festival, guided the audience through the story of the formation of the universe and life, while objects were exploding, light-up, combined and disintegrated under his hands. The desktop-sized Big Bang exploded synchronized with the background music, light and stars were born like sparkles, and also a real volcano erupted on stage. Life was created in the smoke-filled room as the chemical form of an exciting love story developed. Poetry, music, fiction and science were combined in the big auditorium filled with either loud laughter or loud applaud of the several hundred spectators.

"Let's start in the direction of cooperation." - addressed the teachers Imre Sipos, deputy secretary of state for education at the closing ceremony on 9 October. "Let us involve also the thousands of teachers who are not here right now, and set back the prestige of the science education in the Hungarian schools into its earlier, highly esteemed place!"           

The president of the 26-members jury, Prof. Norbert Kroó also evaluated the event as highly successful. "As high is the number of projects, as many winners should be announced, but the biggest winners are the children that these teachers teach" – he stated.

The president of the jury and the deputy secretary of state for education handed over the diplomas to the 40 leaders of the winning projects, and to their 30 colleagues, who will represent Hungary at the European Science on Stage festival next year in the Kölcsey Centre of Debrecen. In addition, 14 winners were recommended to the international jury for consideration to workshops, and 5 winners for consideration to on-stage presentation.

Finally, 11 “Special Prizes” were handed over to the winners. Those "Special Prizes" were offered by the City of Debrecen, by the National Instruments Hungary Ltd., by the University of Debrecen, by the Institute of Nuclear Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA Atomki), by the Hungarian Chemical Society, by the Agora of Debrecen, and by the Center of Multimedia Pedagogy of UNESCO in the Eötvös University Budapest.

While closing the festival Imre Sipos deputy secretary of state for education expressed his opinion that the next important goal should be that these creative and innovative approaches find their way into possibly all classrooms, so that every student might benefit from them." 

 

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