Winners of Xperimania recognised in Brussels: girls come out on top in science competition
The winning students of the first Xperimania – from molecules to materials –competitions were awarded prizes at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels on 16 September 2008. The 10 winners and runners-up coming from Bulgaria, Malta, Hungary, Poland and Cyprus were accompanied by over 60 high-level guests representing the European Institutions, the European Chemical Industry, staff from Cefic and European Schoolnet, and also fellow students and teachers from across Europe.
Dr Ralf Kullmann, Appe Chairman, opened the ceremony, followed by Marc Durando, Managing Director European Schoolnet and Pierre de Kettenis, Executive Director Appe who pointed out the importance of Xperimania as a pan-European project promoting science education via fun experiments and topics on materials, petrochemistry and their impact on our daily life.
Almost 1000 secondary school students from 18 European countries participated, with 447 submissions in the activities during the school year 2007/08. An international team of teachers made a pre-selection of finalists, while an expert panel selected the overall winners. The winning projects were declared interesting and well-structured, with a close connection to students’ day-to-day life.
Before the prize ceremony the winners participated in a guided tour through the world’s most famous Dinosaur Gallery at the Natural Sciences Musuem, and the following day they visited a major petrochemical research centre.
A diversity of experiments and historical discoveries
The “Choose your experiment” competition encouraged students to design and try out a scientific experiment in the field of materials and petrochemistry. The jury described Kristiana’s and Detelina’s winning work “Polystyrene like sound isolator” as a “simple but well made experiment, which has relevance to daily life and could have practical use”.
The jury selected the experiment of two Hungarian students, Péter H. and Hajna T. as the first runner up: “Surprise, Investigation and Research in connection with the Polyethylene”. Two Cypriot girls, Xenia C. and Kaiti C. were awarded the second runner up prize for their work, “Greenhouse experiment”.
The “Timeline” competition invited students to explore a historical discovery in the field of materials and petrochemistry. Deborah’s winning work described nylon and its use in the textile industry. It was described by the judges as “very well structured, easy to follow and interesting.” The presentation was based on personal fieldwork and a visit to a local factory.
As the first runner-up, the jury selected the entry “Bitumen” provided by Mátyás M. from Hungary, and the second runner-up prize went to Polish Dawid S. for his work “Petrol additives – antidetonating agents”.
In addition, the jury wanted to give two special mentions: Polish Kinga T.’s work on “Bioplastics” was highlighted with the “Special mention for innovation” and Hungarian Vivien J.’s entry, “Tyre”, was nominated with the “Special mention for link to daily life”.
The finalists’ work showed that the pupils had dedicated a great deal of time and energy to creating the reports covering a wide range of topics. As Pierre de Kettenis, Executive Director of Appe (Cefic Petrochemistry Industry Sector) summarised:
“I was really fascinated by the diversity and high-quality of the entries. The entries are original, creative and pedagogical. They also give an interesting perspective for the future.”
The success story of Xperimania will continue this school year. Xperimania II will be launched at the end of September with new activities: “Check out the property” competition and new, multilingual chats. Interested? Visit the website www.xperimania.net or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org