Make science education a fun experience with Xperimania

Europe is facing a crisis in science education with fewer and fewer students pursuing studies or careers in science. Xperimania (www.xperimania.net) aims to combat students’ bad perception of chemistry by offering fun yet simple hands-on activities to help teachers revitalise their teaching, and raise awareness of petrochemistry among secondary school students. Boosting young people’s interest in science is a priority for Europe to remain a knowledge-based economy fostering innovation.

Activities and resources

Teachers can find a range of materials – interactive tools, recommended resources, pedagogical guides – on www.xperimania.net. Using this dedicated website, teachers and students can choose to get involved in one or both of the proposed competitions:

  • Timeline Competition: Teachers and students are invited to explore a scientific discovery in the field of materials from 1800 to the present day. The objective is to investigate a discovery and try to imagine what an application looked like when it became available. Teachers and pupils need to produce a digital resource describing what they have found out about the discovery. The entry should include a short text and a picture. They can also make a film, audio file, visual resources or text-based document to illustrate their work. Once uploaded to the website the entry will become part of an interactive timeline of discoveries in materials (from pvc to nylon and Kevlar).
  • Experiment Competition: Teachers and students are invited to set up an easy and fun experiment in science to investigate the properties of materials. Some examples of experiments are provided on the portal but they can also choose their own experimental setup - all experiments need to have properties (chemical or physical) and / or the chemistry of modern products as a focus. The lab report then needs to be uploaded together with a video, or photographs on the website. All the submissions of the competition will be displayed in an online gallery.

The best entries will be rewarded by a prize. The deadline for submissions for both competitions is 31 May 2008.

In addition, Xperimania proposes regular online expert chats. The next one is on the topic ‘Petrochemistry: caring for the environment?’ and will take place on 31 January 2008 at 14.00 CET. Students will get the chance to pose questions to two top experts: Dr. Roger Van der Linden (Group Manager for Environment, Energy and Product Stewardship – Borealis) and Dr. Joachim Krueger (Executive Director of the Energy, Health, Safety & the Environment & Logistics Programme – Cefic, European Chemical Industry Council).

Benefits for teachers and students

Taking part in Xperimania will give students and teachers the chance to :

  • Explore and understand how the discovery of new materials has contributed to the evolution of many everyday objects and what goes into them
  • Increase students’ motivation to make use of easy IT-based tools and to produce multimedia resources about materials and discoveries based on their own research
  • Take part in a fun activity as part of the main school curriculum and design an experiment to understand more about the role of petrochemistry in materials

About the project

Xperimania is organised by the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (Appe), and coordinated by European Schoolnet on their behalf. All schools in the European Union, candidate countries and EFTA countries are invited to join in. Participating students must be aged 10-20 years old. It is free to participate. Visit www.xperimania.net and find all the background information and resources needed to get started.

Contact

For further information, please contact:
Dominique Maréchal – Appe / Cefic – Tel. +32 2 676 73 24
Alexa Joyce – European Schoolnet - Tel. + 32 2 790 7570