The consortium has identified the following needs:
- Science fair organisation: How to promote equal opportunities when designing science fairs for schools, in relation to the resources available to the centers (both material and human).
- Participant schools: How to promote learning and facilitate that fairs are an opportunity for all students, not only for the brightest ones.
In order to respond to these needs, the following keys have been identified: 1) The importance of exchanging significant experiences and projects among students and teachers during the participation of science fairs; 2) prioritize the acquisition of the students’ competences, instead of the final quality of the work 3) advise on redundant key issues in all the fairs: Difficulty choosing the topic of the project and its definition, time management, search for funding and resources, inclusion and equal opportunities, career aspiration and contact with the professional world. 4) How to help and motivate teachers with students at risk of dropping out or disadvantage in the participation of science fairs. 5) What type of training does the teacher need in this area?
Answering these questions in a well-founded way can provide a high added value to these science fairs, allowing them to stop being an anecdotal activity at the end of the course and to have a greater weight in the development of competences and positive attitudes in the STEM field. In this sense, the STEMFAIRNET project intends to take advantage of the treasured knowledge for years in the organization of science fairs by each of the partners. In turn, and also as added value of this European project, it aims to consolidate an international network of science fairs.
Specifically, the project objectives are:
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing initiatives at European level in the field of science fairs focused on the acquisition of skills and competencies of students. A body of knowledge will be disseminated and implemented around the science fairs and how they help the development of the aforementioned competences, both scientific, technological and mathematical, as well as the transversal ones (digital, collaborative work, etc.). EU Priority: Development of high quality skills and competencies.
- Train, help and motivate teachers with students at risk of school dropout or disadvantage in the participation of science fairs. EU Priority: Early school leaving and disadvantaged situations.
“STUDENTS ‘SOURCES OF MOTIVATION FOR PARTICIPATING IN SCIENCE FAIRS: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY WITHIN THE CANADA-WIDE SCIENCE FAIR 2008” Dionne, L., Reis, G., Trudel, L. et al. Int J of Sci and Math Educ (2012) 10: 669. doi: 10.1007 / s10763-011-9318-8