Every autumn since 2009, thousands of Swedish pupils of all ages have been helping researchers gather huge amounts of data. These so-called mass experiments are of mutual benefit: the researchers get more data than they could otherwise easily collect, the pupils get the opportunity to participate in real research, and the teachers get material and methods based upon state-of-the-art research to integrate in the curriculum.

VA (Public & Science) coordinates the mass experiments as part of the European science festival, Researchers’ Night.  Schools from across the whole of Sweden are involved and as many as 18,000 pupils were engaged in the 2013 experiment.

The mass experiments efficiently link education to research, establishing valuable contacts with researchers and giving students insights into research methods and scientific thinking.

VA helps the researcher to design an experiment whereby students gather data guided by their teacher. Research projects are also selected according to how well they fit into the curriculum. Instructions and teachers’ manuals are jointly developed by the researcher and VA, and researchers also communicate directly with individual teachers and students using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Examples of mass experiments to date are:

The 2015 Teabag Experiment involved pupils burying teabags to help inform climate change research.

The 2016 mass experiment, which will be undertaken in September, will examine the function of the physical notice board in the digital age.

VA’s annual mass experiments are examples of citizen science. Our experiences from conducting them are shared in an essay published in the Journal of Science Communication that discusses how mass experiments/citizen science can stimulate scientific literacy and an interest in science while generating scientific output.

Here you can find an information folder about the Swedish mass experiments.

For further information about the mass experiments, please contact Fredrik Brounéus, Project & Communications Manager

 

 

Latest about the mass experiment:


| Helen Garrison

Wanted: Swedish pupils to participate in pioneering research

They can be found outside the supermarket, at the bus stop, at the swimming pool: public notice boards, covered in handwritten notes, messages and posters. But what is the function of the physical notice board in the digital age? Who is saying what? And why? Scientists are now seeking the help of school pupils to map the contents of public notice boards around Sweden.

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| Helen Garrison

Building bridges in science communication. Report on VA’s experiences at PCST in Turkey

Istanbul was the host city for the 14th global PCST science communication conference that took place between 26 and 28 April 2016. The conference gathered some 300 delegates from 40 countries to discuss a wide range of issues in science communication practice, training and research. This year VA (Public & Science) contributed three engaging sessions to the programme on citizen science, factors influencing public confidence in science and ways of influencing Horizon2020, respectively.

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| Helen Garrison

Swedish pupils’ buried tea bags help to advance climate research

Last year, Swedish school pupils helped scientists to bury over three thousand tea bags in the countryside. The Tea Bag Experiment is a mass experiment to investigate soil decomposition rates in different parts of the country and how the process is being affected by climate change. The results have now been published and show that the first phase of decomposition is particularly affected by a warmer climate.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

The Swedish Mass Experiments

Since 2009, the Swedish non-profit organisation Public & Science (Vetenskap & Allmänhet, VA) has been coordinating an annual mass experiment as part of the European Researchers’ Night.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Researchers’ Night experiment 2014 – Vegetable Experiment results English summary

Swedish children and teenagers are pretty diligent at eating fruit and vegetables, according to the results of a mass experiment organised as part of Researchers’ Night 2014. In the Vegetable Experiment, scientists at the Swedish National Food Agency enlisted the help of over 5,500 pupils, who acted as research assistants for a day. Carrots and apples top the list of most eaten fruit and vegetables.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Carrots and apples on top as Swedish pupils help scientists map their eating habits

Press release 150529

Swedish children and teenagers are pretty diligent at eating fruit and vegetables, according to the results of a mass experiment organised as part of Researchers’ Night. In the Vegetable Experiment, scientists at the Swedish National Food Agency enlisted the help of over 5500 pupils, who acted as research assistants for a day. Carrots and apples top the list of most eaten vegetables and fruit.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Swedish children to help climate scientists by burying tea bags

Press release 9 February 2015.

Is it possible to read the future in tea leaves? This is what scientists at Umeå University are hoping to find out and they are now looking for school classes across Sweden to participate in a mass experiment that will help to inform climate change research. The so-called ‘Tea Bag Experiment’ is part of the European science festival, Researchers’ Night.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Swedish researchers seek pupils to help map eating habits

Press Release 13 May 2014

How much fruit and vegetables do children and teenagers consume in Sweden? The Swedish National Food Agency is looking for investigative pupils who want to be research assistants for a day. This mass experiment is part of the science festival, Researchers’ Night.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

10,000 pupils assist Swedish scientists with climate research

Press release 11 April 2014

Spring is now here and it arrives earlier each year.  A warmer climate means an earlier spring and a later autumn. But how is the delayed onset of autumn affecting the Swedish ecosystem? A mass experiment involving over 10,000 pupils across Sweden is helping scientists to study the effect of climate change on deciduous trees in autumn.

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