Every autumn since 2009, thousands of Swedish pupils of all ages have been helping researchers gather huge amounts of data. These so-called mass experiments are of mutual benefit; the researchers get more data than they could otherwise easily collect, the pupils get the opportunity to participate in real research, and the teachers get material and methods based upon state-of-theart research to integrate in the curriculum. The non-profit association VA (Public & Science) coordinates the mass experiments as part of the European science festival, Researchers’ Night. A recent study carried out by VA that looked at how teachers view science, indicates that Swedish school teachers want more contacts with science and researchers. The largest barriers for them are a lack of time and uncertainty about how to make contact. The mass experiments efficiently link education to research, establishing valuable contacts with researchers and giving students insights into research methods and scientific thinking. Schools from across the whole of Sweden are involved, and as many as 18,000 pupils are engaged in the 2013 experiment! VA helps the researcher to design an experiment whereby students gather data guided by their teacher. Research projects are also selected according to how well they fit into the curriculum. Instructions and teachers’ manuals are jointly developed by the researcher and VA’s communicators. Information is provided to the schools via the web and e- mail correspondence but researchers also communicate directly with individual teachers and students using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Based on experiences from organising mass experiments in Sweden, we will present approaches of how best to design them, to find researchers to collaborate with, to attract participants, to present the results and to get media attention. Mass experiments to date are: • Biology/ climatology: How is climate change affecting autumn leaves? • Sociology: What risks do young people perceive in their daily lives? • Food science: Is food stored at the right temperature in home refrigerators? • Health/physics: Does the acoustic environment in schools affect learning? • Biology/chemistry: Is the air quality in classrooms satisfactory?

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Citizen science in schools

Cissi Askwall   VA (PUBLIC & SCIENCE), Sweden

Lotta Tomasson   VA (PUBLIC & SCIENCE), Sweden

Karin Larsdotter   VA (PUBLIC & SCIENCE), Sweden

Every autumn since 2009, thousands of Swedish pupils of all ages have been helping researchers gather huge amounts of data. These so-called mass experiments are of mutual benefit; the researchers get more data than they could otherwise easily collect, the pupils get the opportunity to participate in real research, and the teachers get material and methods based upon state-of-theart research to integrate in the curriculum. The non-profit association VA (Public & Science) coordinates the mass experiments as part of the European science festival, Researchers’ Night. A recent study carried out by VA that looked at how teachers view science, indicates that Swedish school teachers want more contacts with science and researchers. The largest barriers for them are a lack of time and uncertainty about how to make contact. The mass experiments efficiently link education to research, establishing valuable contacts with researchers and giving students insights into research methods and scientific thinking. Schools from across the whole of Sweden are involved, and as many as 18,000 pupils are engaged in the 2013 experiment! VA helps the researcher to design an experiment whereby students gather data guided by their teacher. Research projects are also selected according to how well they fit into the curriculum. Instructions and teachers’ manuals are jointly developed by the researcher and VA’s communicators. Information is provided to the schools via the web and e- mail correspondence but researchers also communicate directly with individual teachers and students using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Based on experiences from organising mass experiments in Sweden, we will present approaches of how best to design them, to find researchers to collaborate with, to attract participants, to present the results and to get media attention. Mass experiments to date are: • Biology/ climatology: How is climate change affecting autumn leaves? • Sociology: What risks do young people perceive in their daily lives? • Food science: Is food stored at the right temperature in home refrigerators? • Health/physics: Does the acoustic environment in schools affect learning? • Biology/chemistry: Is the air quality in classrooms satisfactory?

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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