SCIENTISTS IN THE CLASSROOM: FROM UNIVERSITY TO PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL
In Spain, there is a declining trend in the proportion of High School students choosing science options. Secondary education fails to capture the interest of students towards scientific studies. Is there a "scientific and technological vocations crisis"? To have a vocation for science is innate or acquired? It is proposed that vocation is originated by personal experiences. Therefore, the region of Murcia, in collaboration with the University (Universidad de Murcia y Politécnica de Cartagena) designed an educational program. The main objective was to bring science and engineering to high school students and try to be able to recognize the role it occupies in everyday life, the freedoms that science provides and the true and false risks that accompany it. The program aims to arouse the interest of students, both Primary and Secondary School, for those aspects of science that are unknown and should start from an early age and in a participatory and fun way. In this educational program, students should be able to build scientific ideas through observations, experiments, analysis, discussions and activities contextualized. To achieve this, university professors showed scientific activities in the Schools and students (6-18 years) had an opportunity to see, learn and understand scientific concepts. More than 20 scientific and technological experiments were designed, grouped into three blocks (physical-chemistry, biology-geology, mathematics- technology) in 30 Primary and Secondary Schools in Murcia Region, during two years (2007/2009). As results, it was expected to offer students a different view of science interest from an early age helping to increase the scientific and technological vocations.