“You will change the world” said Arcadi Navarro, Secretary for Universities and Research, to all kids.
On Thursday, February 16, the 1st Recerkids Congress of Scientific Research for Children took place at the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Biology. This meeting concluded the first edition of an educational program which involved around five thousand students of 5th and 6th grade in primary schools from all Catalonia. In Recekids, organized by the General Direction of Research of the Generalitat de Catalunya and Eduxarxa with the support of the University of Barcelona, the young students experimented what research is, how a research process works and what the daily life of a scientist is like.
The first eleven schools that registered in the program Recerkids, represented with a total of two hundred students, presented the results of their research, sharing the topic of water, at the Faculty of Biology in front of an expert committee. Apart from exhibiting eleven scientific posters, the students also joined several workshops in which they conducted experiments related to water, four of them are organized by researchers of the Water Research Institute (IdRA) of the University of Barcelona.
The expert committee that assessed the scientific posters made by the students was formed by M. Carme Llasat, from the Faculty of Physics of the UB; Javier Martín-Vide, from the Faculty of Geography and History; Narcís Prat, from the Faculty of Biology; Roser Rubio, from the Faculty of Chemistry, and Pablo Rodríguez, PhD student at the Institute of Marine Sciences.
UB researchers organized four workshops
Roser Marsal Aguilera, professor from the Department of History and Archaeology and researcher at IdRA, led a workshop to get into the world of archaeology and discover the relation between human beings and water over history.
Humbert Salvadó, professor of Zoology and IdRA researcher, gave an initiation practical session to the discovery of the microscopic world to observe and learn how to differentiate microorganisms present in the water but invisible to our eyes. The workshop aimed to make students understand the existence of microorganisms and their relation with pollution.
Pau Fortuño and Iraima Verkaik, members of the research group Freshwater Ecology and Management (FEM) of the Faculty of Biology, showed participants how to assess the ecological status of a river with the help of the app Riu.net. The workshop also aimed to reflect on the main human activities that cause degradation of aquatic ecosystems and understand the importance of citizen science.
The researchers from the Group of Analysis of Adverse Meteorological Situations (GAMA) Montserrat Llasat and Maria Cortès coordinated the workshop “Mesurem la pluja!”, which aimed to work on concepts related to rain, learn how to use tools for the measurement of precipitations and analyze its data and discover how society can contribute to the knowledge of natural risks. With the App FloodUp they showed a case of floods with collected photographs, and students learned to build a rain gauge with a bottle of water.
Promoting scientific vocations
Organized by the General Direction of Research of the Generalitat de Catalunya and Eduxarxa, Recerkids aims to encourage scientific vocations among young generations. Water was the jointing topic of all researches in this first edition of the program, which was distributed in three parts: people and water, animals and water, and the mysteries of water. During all this process, the schools could accompany a team of experts in science education, apart from having a research journal for the students and a facilitator guide for the program.