Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 4975-4978
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Since 2004, the Departament de Química de la Universitat de Girona promotes a series of activities to increase contact with secondary students and teachers. These activities attempt to bring our faculty and department closer to high schools. One way to achieve this approximation is using recreational and popular science. The recently created “Càtedra de Cultura Científica i Comunicació Digital” (C4D, chair of scientific culture and digital communication) focuses one of its task in this field since summer 2008.

Popular science, by means of the accomplishment of experiments, is living a surprising and encouraging revival since declaration of the 2007 as the year of the science. In Catalonia it has also coincided with three basic facts that have helped this revival. First, the number of Science-related museums and exhibitions has been increasing. Second, new recreational books are being published and they can be found in bookstores. And third, new television programs, which combine spectacle with science, are being broadcasted

From different meetings between our Department professors and teachers of secondary school, which has been held twice a year in the past four years, we come to the conclusion that one of the fundamental factors in the learning is the motivation. This project has as a main goal to increase students’ motivation in science, and more concretely in chemistry. The title of the project in Catalan is a play on words. Though it is evident that we are talking about chemistry, these two words are addressed to the public in order to make them be aware of science. In fact, that’s a well-considered interpellation for students of secondary school.

Reacts!! It is a provocation. We are trying to make them to wake up, to pay attention. Explode!! Is the culmination, it wants to tell to the students to be capable of expressing their capacities. One word is a consequence of the other one, waking up to act.

The aim of our action is to present chemistry as a near and interesting science, showing their most playful and attractive aspects to the high school students. It is pretended to provoke their curiosity, as a first step towards their interest. When this curiosity appears, the inevitable following questions will arise: How? Why? At this point the slept scientist who inhabits in all the human beings wakes up (reacts) and acts (exploits) with desire of knowing.

However showing the most attractive face of chemistry is not an easy task, our group has been working in social divulgation of science, offering experiments, conferences, chats, round tables and meetings to the society and specially to teachers and students of secondary school, both in the high schools and in our Faculty.

Our experience shows that the students feel attracted by experiments with colour flames, explosions and fire. High and secondary schools are very grateful of having university teachers visiting them, establishing a very necessary link which makes clear the presence of our University in the society. These students, the future of our society, will have a new vision of science: more useful, more attractive and more exciting.
edutainment, recreational science, fun chemistry, motivation, out classroom.