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Simply Paper Made: Take a workshop to your country at the Portuguese Science on Stage festival 2016

At the national festival of Sience on Stage Portugal, about 50 STEM teachers from all over the country came together in Lisbon on 30 April 2016. With Heidrun Boll from the student-research-center South Württemberg also a German teacher was invited to take part. Together with Isabel Borges from the Planetarium in Lisbon she presented the German-Portuguese joint project 'Simply Paper Made – Distances and Sizes in Our Solar System' in a workshop. With this 'boarder-crossing-project' Heidrun Boll and Christa Müller from Germany and Isabel Borges from Portugal were qualified for the last year's European Science on Stage festival in London.

The colleagues from Portugal took part at this workshop with great interest: The participants were amazed, how it is possible to teach astronomy and give an understanding of the incredible distances in the universe in small numbers and with only a little material - just paper! The workshop showed how distances between earth and moon, the sun and earth is traceable through simple comparisons at once. Particularly impressive to the participants was the folding work, where the distances of the planets were demonstrated. At the end of this folding-work the participants were able to produce their own solar system for the pocket.

UK and the Netherlands: Teacher exchange in progress

At last summer's Science on Stage European festival in London David Teasdale from UK met Hans Mulder from the Netherlands. The teachers became friends at the event and decided to carry out a joint project together. Both teachers were interested in slime mould and thought their students could learn much about both the mould itself and the scientific method by carrying out practical experiments.

Teasdale and Mulder started working on a project together and in early February, Hans Mulder came over from the Netherlands to Bolton with the support by Science on Stage Europe. He visited the school of David Teasdale, Bolton School Boys' Division, and got to observe some lessons and learn about the way of teaching science in UK. Mulder had prepared some resources which he had brought over from the Netherlands, and used them to deliver a lesson of his own to one of the classes at Bolton School.

The resources were pieces of piping with four pieces of string running through the pipe. The piping was opaque so the students could not see inside, instead they had to try and suggest what was going on inside the pipe, based on the behaviour of the strings when they were pulled. There were nine different tubes Hans Mulder had made, each with strings which responded differently. To the British students it was a really interesting lesson and Hans Mulder kindly left the resources with Bolton School as the students loved them and wanted to use them again.

David Teasdale and Hans Mulder also used the time together to work on their joint project. They shared resources on the growing of slime mould and discussed a medium term plan for the project. Hans Mulder met with David Teasdales' technician to discuss the technical aspects of growing slime mould and saw the set up. He also met the students who are carrying out the project and discussed it with them. 

'The visit of Hans definitely accelerated the progress of our project' says David Teasdale: 'I hope to pay a return visit to his school at some point in the next academic year.'

Strengthening the Science on Stage family ties: Finland and Hungary visiting Turkey

On 7 May 2016 the national Science on Stage festival of Turkey took place in Ankara. With Kirsi Rehunen from Finland and András Róka from Hungary also two former participants of the European Science on Stage festival 2015 in London took part in the event and presented their projects to the Turkish colleagues.

Besides the Turkish festival Kirsi Rehunen was able to also visit the city and the preschool Doku Kültür Anaokulu. She was quiet impressed by the commitment of her Turkish colleagues: 'There were teachers to drama, science, english and the thinking was that only the best education is enough to their children. They were not just teaching knowledge , behaviors, attitudes and skills development: They want to make children to think! The most important things of the month were always at wall so that the parents are able to watch what their children have learned. As a visitor it was nice to notice the motivation and loving care of the adults who work there.'

At the Turkish Science on Stage festival at Naz?m Hikmet Congress & Arts Center Kirsi Rehunen and András Róka met their colleagues from Turkey and got to know about lots of new innovative teaching ideas represented at the fair. András Róka presented his project from the European Science on Stage festival 2015 on stage and gave quite a show about electrones to the surprised audience. Kirsi Rehunen introduced her co-operation with a Finnish museum of technology named 'Pedagogy meets Museum', focusing on the pedagogy and education aspect inside and outside of the museum. The Turkish teachers were very curious about the project and asked a lot of questions.

As a conclusion Kirsi Rehunen stated: 'Meeting Turkish teachers was an important thing to me. It was inspiring to get to know them and their style of teaching!' and András Róka emphasises 'the extraordinary hospitality of the Turkish hosts'.

From Goslar to Budapest: Continuing exchange programme with students from Germany and Hungary

After Márta Gajdosné-Szabó from the Kempelen Farkas Gimnazium in Budapest visited her Science on Stage partners Ute Eckhof and Dr. Walter Frank from the Christian-von-Dohm-Gymnasium in Goslar with four of her students in September last year (see blog report 07.09.2015) the German students now went for a return visit from 06-12 April.

Together with their teachers Ute Eckhof and Axel Klaus the German students got acquainted with the Hungarian culture, language, history and, of course, chemistry through mining. To solve scientific problems the Hungarian and German students simulated a multi company using a common language and thereby not only deepened their skills in doing research but also in how to communicate as an international group!

The exchange project ‚Mining in Europe‘ is part of the German-Hungarian teaching concept ‚Worldwide Mountains‘, jointly initialised by Ute Eckhof and Dr. Walter Frank and Márta Gajdosné Szabó. At the Science on Stage Festival 2015 in London the German-Hungarian Joint-Project was rewarded with the European Science Teacher Award for its enthralling idea how to combine metals science in chemistry with local mining.

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