Originally, Science on Stage was the brainchild of EIROforumw1, the publisher of Science in School. Since then, the commitment of the national organisers has enabled this network of local, national and international events for teachers to grow and grow. Eleanor Hayes reviews some of the latest activities.
In April 2011, about 400 science teachers from across Europe will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to share ideas and inspiration in a dizzying whirl of workshops, lectures and dramatic presentations at the international Science on Stage teaching festival. The search for the lucky 400 teachers is still continuing.
In a series of national events, enthusiastic and inspiring teachers are competing to represent their countries in Copenhagen. Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland and the Slovak Republic have already selected their winners. The national representatives of Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal and Spain have yet to be selected.
To find out more, and – if it is not too late – apply to take part in your national event, visit the Science on Stage Europe websitew2.
In 2008, the Science on Stage festival in Berlin, Germany, brought together teachers from across Europe in several discussion workshops. Over the course of two years, 55 science teachers from 12 countries continued three of these discussions under the guidance of Science on Stage Germany. The outcome is the publication Teaching Science in Europe 3: what European teachers can learn from each other, divided into three sections.
Science on Stage Germany has not only been active at a European level – it also caters for teachers closer to home. On 18 June, physics teachers from in and around Berlin took part in a workshop organised by Science on Stage Germany to share some of the ideas that have come out of the national and international Science on Stage events.
In the German part of the workshop, ‘Nanotechnology and school’, teacher Walter Stein demonstrated the experiments he had done with his 16-year-old students to produce single-wall nanotubes out of carbon, a field-effect transistor out of graphene, and low-cost and colourful photonic crystals out of latex spheres.
The Austrian project, ‘The latex motor’, investigated the conversion and conservation of energy via four experiments using latex. A latex glove was used to convert thermal energy into potential energy, lifting a weight when heated; the heating and cooling of condoms was used to create a motor driven by heat from a spotlight; the same latex motor was reversed to demonstrate that kinetic energy can be transformed into thermal energy; refrigeration was demonstrated with a latex loop that is cooled on one side (relaxed) and heated on the other (expanded). To learn more about the latex motor, see Eidenberger et al. (2009).