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Latvia: Researcher’s night in Jelgava

Lately the Zemgale Region Human Resource and Competences Development Centre participated in the Europe-wide initiative 'Researcher’s night'. This event is dedicated to popular science learning and boosts public awareness of the positive role of research in society, especially among young people as it attracts them to science and engineering. The target audience of this event as stated by the organizers are families with pre- school children and junior form students.

Picture © Science on Stage Latvia

The participants were offered more than 20 workshops on various themes: the power of magnets, how to teach a robot to speak and to draw, to observe the balance, various experiments with colours, how a vulcano works, how to make static electricity, making a simple barometer to observe weather, etc.

The event was organised in cooperation with the National Steering Committee of Science on Stage Latvia and Jelgava schools. More than 300 children with families attended the event.

Jelgava Technology High schools offered two workshops and the vice director of the school Kaspars Antonevics admitted:

“The children at the same time are learning programming, robotics, mathematics and the Latvian language. When playing with robots, they figure out schemes themselves, figure out relevant codes for these schemes”.

The mother of one of the participants  told:

“Today we realized that our daughter actually likes and manages programming. In a few minutes she figured out and found three ways to do the task - how to get with the car in the scheme to the first letter of her name”.

The kids had a possibility to use 3-D pens, to experiment with everyday products: for example they tested that apples contain iron and they found out what our fingerprints can tell if you look at them through a magnifying glass and microscope. 

It was also a new experience for senior class students who demonstrated experiments and led workshops. The participants of the Latvian Science on Stage festival shared their experience on innovative teaching methods how to make science teaching exciting, attractive, and amusing.

Report by Skaidrite Bukbarde


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Latvian Science on Stage festival 2018

On 8 September the Latvian Science on Stage festival 2018 took place in Jelgava. Skaidrīte Bukbārde, Main NSC of Science on Stage Latvia reports:

"The national Science on Stage festival 2018 in Latvia took place on 8 September 2018 in Jelgava. It was organized within the Metal festival, an event that exists for already eight years and shares the same aims as Science on Stage, that is: to highlight the importance of science and technology in schools and among the public, to raise children’s and young people’s interest in engineering, science and research. The festival was supported by Jelgava City municipality and National Centre for Education of the Republic of Latvia.

The national steering committee received 11 applications from all over the country, representing different subjects and levels. Eight most innovative teaching ideas were presented by 13 teachers and their students during the festival. As the festival was an open event the ideas were presented to a very wide public.

Picture © Science on Stage Latvia

The jury was represented by Agra Bērziņa-the director of non-formal education department at National Centre for Education of the Republic of Latvia, Baiba Daģe - teacher of physics at Jelgava State Gymnasium, Ingvilda Ivanova- science teacher at Jelgava Primary school No 4, Reinis Rukmanis- IT teacher from Tukuma evening and part-time high school, Daiga Krieviņa and Māra Mikelsone techers from Marupe Elementary School, Science on stage - 2016 national winners and participants of the European Science on Stage festival 2017 in Debrecen, Hungary. Their  main task of the jury was to select the most innovative ideas to be presented at European Science on Stage festival 2019 in Portugal.

The jury admitted that all the presentations were really interesting, involving the students in an active learning process and explaining rather complicated science phenomena in an amusing, exciting way. We really hope the event proved that technical subjects are neither complicated nor boring.

At the Latvia Science on Stage festival the national STEM teacher delegation was chosen. Those teachers will represent the country at the European Science on Stage festival 2019 in Portugal:

1 st prize- Inese Pickaine un Iveta Labunska (Skrunda Secondary school)
2 nd prize- Zintis Buls (Zemgales region human resource and comptences development centre)
3 rd prize - Liene Sabule un Liene Krieviņa (Jelgava State gymnasium)

The teachers participating in the Latvian Science on Stage festival had a possibility to show their innovative teaching ideas also at the regional invention and innovation exhibition 'MINOX Zemgale -2018' that is organized to promote the inventors’ activity in Latvia, as well as to promote the introduction of inventions into real life.

The teachers  Ērika Siliņa un Inese Kukaine from Cesis Secondary school were awarded with Silver diploma for their creative ideas how to use inexpensive or reused materials to create interesting equipment to demonstrate variuos phenomena."

Jelgava: Latvian students show their researchers’ skills

The Zemgale Region Human Resource and Competence development Centre (ZRKAC) in Jelgava is also home to Science on Stage Latvia. Recently it hosted 'researchers' from all city schools at the environmentalists' forum 'Students Experiment'. Students from 1-9 grade presented their independent studies where they used science to explore nature phenomena, environmental and health issues thus raising their awareness for the ecosystem, energy resources, biodiversity and related topics.

The younger students had chosen to study, for example, the influence of cooking salt and soda on the duration of fruit storage, and they had tried to grow salt crystals at home or made a barometer. The themes in grades 6-9 were related to plants: they studied the process of tomato germination in different soils, the amount of ethylene in fruits and its effect on ripening. The topics related to green thinking and a healthy lifestyle were also addressed - the students offered solutions for the production of souvenirs and decorations from burnt bulbs.

The forum is organized annually and aims to raise pupils' awareness of the environment and its problems, teach respect for nature and promote interest in the study of natural processes and inquiry based learning and the development of research skills. It is also a possibility for teachers to exchange their ideas and see how the teacher’s ideas and teaching approach has been transformed into students’ research projects.


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Workshop “Cross-curricular projects for learners and teachers” in Latvia

On 28 December 2017 a workshop "Cross-curricular projects for learners and teachers" was held in Latvia at Marupe elementary school, particularly for teachers of Pieriga region, to inform about the opportunities in Latvia and in Europe to participate in projects and competitions and to share practical ideas for lessons. Basically, the workshop provided information on the Science on Stage competition in Latvia and Hungary in 2017. The workshop was led by the teachers M?ra Mi?elsone (ex Rabante) and Daiga Krievi?a - in 2017 they represented Latvia at the European Science on Stage festival in Debrecen, Hungary with a presentation and performance on stage.

16 school representatives from seven schools in Pieriga (Baldone Secondary School, Marupe Elementary School, Jaunm?rupe Elementary School, ?daži Secondary School, Upesleju Boarding School, Saulkrasti Secondary School and Za?umuiža Primary School) attended the workshop. Among school representatives were teachers of different subjects and fields: science and mathematics teachers, language and social science teachers, literature teachers, and a librarian.

School representatives were introduced to the work of Science on Stage Europe, its official homepage, as well as to the information contained therein: training materials, the competition in 2017, requirements for successful participation in the festival and evaluation criteria. The videos and practical lesson ideas from the festival were presented to teachers. Mara and Daiga informed about their way to the festival in Latvia and Europe. Presentation material was sent to school representatives so that it could be distributed to other teachers.

In the second part of the workshop teachers worked in groups on real project ideas. Since the workshop was attended by teachers from different subjects and fields, 6 new and creative projects for lessons were prepared, perhaps these project ideas could inspire teachers with new ideas for future competitions.

In the end, the teachers also received informative materials about the opportunity to participate in the Latvian Science on Stage competition, which will be held in September 2018 at the Metal Festival in Jelgava.

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