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 2014 experiment is investigating how much fruit and vegetables young people in Sweden consume. The results will be available in early 2015.
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:
- Biology/climatology: How is climate change affecting autumn leaves?
- Sociology: What risks do young people perceive in their daily lives?
- Food science: Is food stored at the right temperature in different parts of the refrigerator?
- Health/physics: Does the acoustic environment in schools affect pupils’ ability to learn?
For further information about the mass experiments, please contact Lotta Tomasson, VA (Public & Science), Project Manager of Researchers’ Night Sweden, tel: +46 70 728 97 20, lotta[@]v-a.se.
Latest about the mass experiment:
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. There is very little knowledge about what Swedish…
How does a tree know it is autumn? How is climate change affecting when the leaves of Swedish deciduous trees turn colour in the autumn? Are there variations in autumn leaf development between different tree species and in different locations in Sweden? Is it possible to study autumn using satellite images? These are the questions…
Press release 20 May 2013 Is climate change leading to a delay in when leaves turn colour in the autumn? Pupils from across Sweden will be helping researchers determine how the climate is affecting the growing season of plants and the onset of autumn. This mass experiment is part of the science festival Researchers’ Night….
Press release 18 March 2013 The places that children perceive to be the most risky are roads, buildings, the outdoors, their homes and playgrounds. These are the findings of an analysis of photographs taken by children from across the whole of Sweden. “I was most surprised by how many children identified crowding on the…
16/01/2012 – Research by young people reveals that we refrigerate our food at too high a temperature
Press Release 16/01/2012 In three out of four cases, meat is being stored at a higher temperature than the recommended maximum of 4 ° C. This is the finding of new research carried out by over 1,800 Swedish pupils. The pupils were examining their refrigerators as part of the Swedish Researchers’ Night science festival….