Last week the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) had the pleasure of hosting the still very young researchers of the future. The Science Congress is an initiative promoted by the Consorci d’Educació de Barcelona and its Educational Resource Centres and has been organised since the 2012-2013 academic year. This tenth edition brought together, between 22 and 26 May, 1,500 pupils from 37 primary school who presented their scientific research on the theme ‘The sea is life!
The Science Congress proposes a participatory and creative methodology where students are the protagonists of their own learning. Under a common theme that changes every year, different schools in Barcelona prepare research questions that the little ones try to solve during the year. To do so, they carry out experiments, field trips, literature reviews and/or consult experts, always following the scientific method.
In addition, teachers receive support throughout the process to help them, in turn, helo the children to develop their research. “We greatly value the fact that we have a contact person who provides us with continuous support, as well as the training offered to us teachers by experts in the field. The research staff talks to us about the scientific process, about which questions can be investigated, etc. The scientific community always responds very well”, explains Àngels Pinatella, a teacher at Escola La Pau who has been taking part in the congress for three years. “We always participate with the 2nd year class, and we are delighted, it is now a regular project at the school”, she adds.
“We greatly value having a contact person who provides us with continuous support, as well as the training offered to us by researchers”
Àngels, participating teacher
The Science Congress
Once the research has been carried out and the hypotheses have been proven, the students collect all their findings and take them to the Science Congress, a get together where they have the chance to present their work. During the day, different schools present their findings in front of other young scientists. In addition, the presentations are supervised by two scientists who comment on the work done. In this edition, some scientists from the PRBB centres had the opportunity to evaluate the work: Paula Cebollada and Paula Berbegal (MELIS-UPF), Violeta Beltrán and Krisztina Arató (EMBL Barcelona) and Anna Palomar (ISGlobal). Other researchers and science communicators from other research centres in the city also took part.
The sea is life!
This year, under the theme of the sea, students posed questions about its biodiversity, the waste that pollutes it (focusing especially on plastics), salinity and the impact of climate change on the rise in sea level. Other interesting questions included “Where does the fish we eat come from?”, “Why is the Bermuda Triangle so dangerous?” and “What is the composition of the sand on Catalonia’s beaches?”. You can see all the projects presented at the conference here.
Carla, 6 years old and a pupil in the second year of primary school at Escola La Pau, explains the project that her school has carried out: “We have studied why plastic islands are formed in the sea, because we have been very sad to see how it harms our planet. Every night at home, I wish that next year will be better for our planet”. And she proves that this type of initiative motivates students and awakens their interest in science: “I hope that next year we can do it again, and that one day I come to work in a place like this, with such important people. I want to grow up and become a scientist!”.
“I wish next year we could do it again and that one day I can come to work in a place like this, with such important people”
Carla, 6 years old
On its tenth anniversary, the Science Congress has had the participation of more than 10,000 children and more than 400 teachers. Of these, only a small number have defended their research in the PRBB auditorium (you can see the presentations here).
These city-wide projects are committed to innovative ways of acquiring knowledge and fostering a critical and scientific spirit. Congratulations to the organisation and teachers for nurturing children’s curiosity with the Science Congress, it was a pleasure to host this event!