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.

teabagexperiment
Pupils burying tea bags in the 2015 mass experiment, the Teabag Experiment.

VA (Public & Science) coordinates the mass experiments as part of the European science festival, European Researchers’ Night.  Schools from across the whole of Sweden are involved.

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.

We have been running mass experiments since 2009. Here you can find an information folder about the Swedish mass experiments.

Examples of our most recent experiments:

The 2021 mass experiment, the Housing Experiment, will investigate the accessibility of Sweden’s housing for older people.

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.

Other citizen science-related projects

VA is currently part of a collaboration project aiming to create a national portal for citizen science in Sweden, which started in January 2018. More information about the project, ARCS, can be found here.

VA is also a partner in an EU-funded project called EU-Citizen.Science that will develop a European platform for citizen science, together with 13 other European organisations. The three-year project started in February 2019.

VA is also a member of ECSA (European Citizen Science Association).

Finding the Vasa cannons is an international project, in which members of the public will be invited to join the search to find out what happened to the cannons of the Vasa, a 17th century Swedish warship.

For further information about the mass experiments and citizen science, please contact Fredrik Brounéus.

Latest about the mass experiment:


| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Swedish pupils and researchers together tackle food waste

Better climate information reduces waste in the school canteen. This is a clear finding of the Food Waste Experiment, a mass experiment in which around 700 pupils from 27 schools in Sweden helped researchers to investigate whether ”nudging” can reduce food waste. The Experiment was run as part of the science festival ForskarFredag, the Swedish European Researchers’ Night.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Swedish pupils and senior citizens to help research the accessibility of Swedish housing

In order to live independent and active lives, we need housing that is designed to meet our needs. But how accessible is Swedish housing? School pupils and senior citizens across Sweden will be helping researchers at Lund University to investigate as part of the 2021 Housing Experiment. The mass experiment is a citizen science project being organised as part of this year’s Researchers’ Night activities in Sweden, known as ForskarFredag.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

New tool to help anyone learn how to spot fake news

Several years of research and development are behind the News Evaluator, a tool that teaches an evidence-based method for online source criticism. The tool has now been launched in English and Swedish versions for use by those wanting to teach source criticism, as well as anyone wanting to learn how to evaluate the credibility of online news themselves.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Digital ForskarFredag – a showcase of Swedish research to inspire both young and old

A mind-blowing science show from Umeå, exciting geological adventures with Minecraft from Uppsala, a rare chance to peek into an Olympic test centre for winter sports from Östersund, were just a few of hundreds of creative digital activities held during 23 – 29 of November all over Sweden as part of ForskarFredag, the Swedish branch of European Researchers’ Night.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Young people in Sweden, Spain, Ireland and the UK help researchers successfully test new method for measuring light pollution

In 2019 and early 2020, school pupils, teachers, scout groups, astronomers and interested members of the public in Sweden, Spain, the UK and Ireland went out to count stars in the night sky. The objective was to help researchers to test a new method for measuring light pollution. Researchers have analysed the results and these have now been published.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Swedish pupils to participate in research to reduce food waste

Press release 4 June 2020

Can more information result in less food being wasted? Researchers will be investigating this together with pupils and teachers across the whole of Sweden in the ’Food Waste Experiment’. To assist them, they will be using an artificial intelligence app and the world’s largest food sustainability database.

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| Vetenskap & Allmänhet

Star-Spotting Experiment shortlisted for international science engagement prize

The Star-Spotting Experiment, VA’s 2019 citizen science project to investigate light pollution, was shortlisted for the 2019 Falling Walls Science Engagement of the Year competition. Project manager, Lena Söderström was invited to Berlin in November to present the project in the final of the competition at the Falling Walls Conference. Here we talk to her about the experience.

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