Issue 24


Welcome to the twenty-fourth issue of Science in School

As I write this, the children in my village have been back at school for two weeks. The school just down the road, however, doesn’t start again for another two weeks. If school holidays – and indeed school types, curricula and teacher training – differ so much within Germany, how much variation must there be across Europe?

News from the EIROs

Bigger, faster, hotter

Science in School is published by EIROforum, a collaboration between eight of Europe’s largest inter-governmental scientific research organisations. This article reviews some of the latest news from the EIROforum members (EIROs).


In a class of their own: lessons in energy and education from European schools

“If we don’t protect our environment, we won’t have one,” say Carolina, 13, from Portugal.

Cutting-edge science

Seeing the light: monitoring fusion experiments

​Finding out what is going on in the core of a fusion experiment at 100 million degrees Celsius is no easy matter, but there are clever ways to work it out.

Behind the autism spectrum

Research into the genetics of the autism spectrum is increasing our understanding of these conditions, and may lead to better ways to diagnose and manage them.

Event reports

Learning through investigation: Science on Stage visit to El Roure Gros primary school

The Catalan primary school El Roure Gros has a unique concept: all learning is done through experimentation and investigation. Science on Stage Germany invited eight teachers from Austria, Germany and Italy to visit the school.


Cracking down on wildlife trafficking

Biologist Juliana Machado Ferreira is using science to combat wildlife traffickers in Brazil.


The Eduspace website, by the European Space Agency

If you teach geography, earth science, physics, or even information and communications technology (ICT) or biology, you should definitely visit the Eduspace website from the European Space Agency (ESA).

The Periodic Table of Videos website, by the University of Nottingham, UK

There are a number of reasons why you might not want to read this review: perhaps you do not teach chemistry, you are resisting the use of video clips in your teaching, or you are looking for non-English teaching materials. These are not good reasons though, as you will see. I challenge you to visit The Periodic Table of Videos website, as it might just convert you.

Science education projects

Indigo: recreating Pharaoh’s dye

What links your jeans, sea snails, woad plants and the Egyptian royal family? It’s the dye, indigo. Learn about its fascinating history and how you can extract it at school.

Analysing wine at school

​European countries produce more than half of the world’s wine – and drink a lot of it too! These hands-on activities for schools reveal the science behind the perfect wine.

Science topics

More than meets the eye: the exotic, high-energy Universe

​In the third article in this series on astronomy and the electromagnetic spectrum, learn about the exotic and powerful cosmic phenomena that astronomers investigate with X-ray and gamma-ray observatories, including the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton and INTEGRAL missions.

The new definition of crystals – or how to win a Nobel Prize

Why is symmetry so central to the understanding of crystals? And why did ‘forbidden’ symmetry change the definition of crystals themselves?

Teacher profiles

Making physics flourish in Poland: Maria Dobkowska

Physics teacher Maria Dobkowska describes the challenges of remaining creative within a strictly defined national curriculum and of working with children with disabilities.

Teaching activities

The effect of heat: simple experiments with solids, liquids and gases

From a homemade thermometer to knitting needles that grow: here are some simple but fun experiments for primary-school pupils to investigate what happens to solids, liquids and gases when we heat them.

Seeing is believing: 3D illusions

To make the two-dimensional images that we see in print and on screen appear more real, we can hijack our brains to create the illusion of a third dimension, depth. These activities explore the physics that make this possible.