Centro Universitario per la diffusione e la comunicazione della cultura scientifica

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Active Science

Young people engaged in science

Science and technology have an important role in modern life. More and more often people demand to be involved and not just informed about scientific topics and the general consensus is that (young) researchers are the best carriers towards this goal. For several years many European countries have been testing new deliberative democracy instruments, especially through public debates. Active Science foresees to apply the same methodology to project
recipients and objectives.

Active Science is a project of Agorà Scienza of public engagement in science. The aim is to increase the awareness of secondary school students on topical issues of science and technology.
It is a master plan of deliberative democracy and scientific citizenship, which uses the web as the main instrument to inform, diffuse and communicate.
Subjects of each edition are identified together with a scientific committee. A panel of experts is set up for each topic; each expert can interact with students, thus providing a direct link between education and research.

The method adopted by the project stimulates scientific inquiry, autonomous and critical thinking. In the year 2009/2010 Active Science involved more than 1000 students. Its initial local-scale approach can be an important test towards a European scale approach.


Topics

First edition (2009/10): Energy, Atmospheric pollution.
Second edition (2010/11): Water, Energy and climate change, Stem cells.


Aims

− To encourage active involvement and scientific citizenship feeling
− To promote dialogue among high school students and researchers
− To co-operate with local institutions (culture, education)
− To promote scientific career and encourage equal opportunities
− To make young people aware of the scientific issues involved in the public debate
− To increase scientific opportunities for schools using innovative instruments


The web

The website (www.activescience.eu) is the key instrument for information and diffusion which will make it possible to increase the interaction among participants. Students will find pedagogical material on the web site: documents prepared especially for this project by researchers to help and instruct the students. Students can ask questions to researchers through the web site, besides talking with each other, sharing knowledge and experience. Students can
also create new documents (including video and images) and share them with others.


The four steps of Active Science

Active Science is articulated in four steps:
1. Pre-knowledge: summary of what the students know about the topic before the
project starts.
2. Information: group work and dialogue with the experts to build a scientific
knowledge about the topic of choice.
3. Proposals: group work and dialogue with experts in order to hypothesize future
scenarios.
4. Final live meeting: a final discussion in order to reach a common agreement and
statement.


Training for teachers

Training meetings for teachers are organised before the activities begin. The training is dedicated to deliberative democracy methods and to the scientific aspects of the topics to be  investigated.


Active Science can improve students’ scientific literacy and positive attitude toward science.
Active Science is an innovative technique to increase the interest toward science, which can be used as a model for future policies.
Active Science is supported by: Provincia di Torino and Regione Piemonte.