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The New Materials in Your Classroom Project has been awarded with the first prize of the Reach.Out! Competition Award from the E-MRS Spring 2014.
We received the award on behalf of whole team involving more than 20 researchers from the Materials Science Institute of Barcelona.
Participants are more than 20 voluntary researchers from the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) with research experience at national and international level as professional scientists. Physicists, chemists and biologists working in the field of materials science, nanoscience and nanotechnology form a multidisciplinar team balance gender wise, with different professional stages, from group leaders to young researchers disseminate and participate to this project voluntary and with no economic compensation. They transmit their passion for science, and in special in material science to high school students introducing them to a range of advanced materials, of their own research and even to materials characterization technique prototypes to encourage these young students and the future scientists to enter this fascinating world.
Team of “New materials in Your Classroom”
Coordination of the project: Anna Roig
Researchers visiting the schools:
Proposal submission and contact with E-MRS:Anna Laromaine
Design and construction of models (AFM):Nico Dix and Andrés Gómez
AFM Video: Andrés Gómez
Design, organization and maintenance of the material tool box: Arantzazu González
Design of brochure and website: José Antonio Gómez
The activity "New materials in your classroom" is designed to ensure the proximity of the researcher with the students, he “invades" the student environment (the classroom) to make them feel more comfortable. Speakers are professional scientists in the field of materials science, nanoscience and nanotechnology, and they present their current work, their career track and their fails and successes.
The format depends on the personality of each researcher and professional expertise. Usually it begins with a brief introductory presentation of the researcher, and they expose their opinion about material science and the scientific methodology. Then, the new materials from a material tool box is presented, pointing out the novel properties of some materials and their applications., offering the opportunity to students to have the materials on their own hands.This part triggers the enthusiasm and curiosity of the students for the novel materials and their infinite possibilities in designing new materials to understand and solve the problems of our society.
Another important part of the activity is to promote a debate between scientist and teenagers. The researcher shares his/her experience on how to develop a research career, the day to day work , etc. . This gives to the students a real opinion about the reality facing the scientist every day. The format allows students and teachers to ask everything that provokes curiosity about this job :Why did you choose to pursue research ? Is research boring or exciting? Why? What are the new material? What studies nanoscience? What are the applications of new materials in everyday life? Can someone make good money dedicated to research? ...
The main aims of this project are:
- Encourage the development of scientific careers among young people. Demystify the profile of a scientist. Show proximity, going to their school and prove that a scientist can be anyone even their neighbors.
- Tackle gender Issues in the scientific research. Many women- researchers participate to the New Materials at your school
- Collaborate with high school teachers to foster the interest in science and emphasize the importance of materials in everyday life, present and future. Give them tools to teach new materials with visual presentations, atomic models and examples to engage students. the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona also organizes every year a dedicated two days workshop addressed to physics and chemistry high-school teachers to disseminate the subjects tackle by the Materials Science discipline.
Materials prepared to reach out and show in the school visits
- Materials tool box. Set of materials with their information card, including the description of each material, applications and some pictures. The materials are provided or fabricated by the own researchers.
- Model AFM (link to the video)
- Power point presentations with videos.
Schedule and Impact
This activity starts every September where High School institutes contact us to require a researcher to go to their school, according to their schedule. We participate in 25 High School each year and that means an impact of more than 700 students/ year plus all their families since we had some comments of families that their son/daughter explains them the fascination for some new materials presented.
The metrics of the success and impact of the project are:
- 30% increase of demand from the schools every year.
- Until now, 1500 students took advantage of this activity. Some final projects from High School were initiated as collaboration from this activity.
- Enthusiastic comments from the schools