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Xplora Newsletter Issue 13
November 2008

Welcome to the 13th issue of the Xplora newsletter!

Whether you are interested in latest news in the science education or looking for practical tips for your teaching, this Xplora newsletter has something for you. Have fun with the reading!

Would you like to be featured in our newsletter or send us a contribution? Just get in touch.
Johanna Snellman, Xplora Web Editor

Click here to download the newsletter in pdf format.


In this issue:



Call for contributions for the next newsletter
We would like to invite you to send us your contributions! We would be grateful for short references with a link to additional information of news, events, awards, best practices etc. relating to maths, science, technology and environment education.
Please send your contributions by 15 December 2008 at johanna.snellman@eun.org


The Great Plant Hunt: Following in Darwin’s footsteps
Inspired by a year of celebrations to mark the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, the Great Plant Hunt invites school children in the UK aged 5-11 to explore the natural world around them in a series of activities, all clearly linked to the primary science curriculum.
Read more

New online game on energy generation and consumption
ElectroCity is a new online computer game that lets players manage their own virtual towns and cities. It’s great fun to play and also teaches players about energy, sustainability and environmental management.
Read more

Website on creativity and innovation in education
Creativity is often seen as only useful in arts subjects – but it can apply to all kinds of subjects. This website provided by Learning and Teaching Scotland explains why creativity is important within education and how it can be integrated across a range of curricular subjects. A series of documents and links offer information and resources about creativity in education.
Read more

An educational game on development and aid in Africa
Mathias and Amadou travel across the African continent to help out with the European Union’s development activities. You must finish the different missions taking place around Africa, solving the various problems posed.
Read more

Search for other science resources at:

Visit the Xplora science education library at:


Xperimania science competition for schools starts: explore the properties of every day objects
To help teachers make science lessons more fun and interesting, Xperimania (www.xperimania.net), now in its second year, will concentrate on the properties of familiar objects and how chemistry contributes to them. Xperimania is for 10-20 year old students in secondary schools from across Europe, and aims to boost their interest in science, which is a priority for Europe to remain a knowledge-based economy fostering innovation.
Read more

Investigative work using unusual paper planes
Dan Hannard, a Physics teacher at Woodkirk High Specialist Science School in UK, shares with us one of his favorite lessons plans on how to make an unusual paper plane and what the students can learn with it.
Read more


Xperimania online chat: tackling the challenge of climate change
Lighter cars and energy efficient houses - new approaches to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are discussed in the Xperimania chat on 6 November at 14.00 CET. Secondary school students are invited to pose their questions to Enrique Espi, Senior Technologist at Repsol YPF, in the first Xperimania chat held in Spanish.
Read more

Inspire pilot projects in MST teaching start
The Inspire pilot projects to develop and experiment new teaching methods in maths, science and technology (MST) have started. Pilot schools in Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Lithuania will implement MST learning objects provided on the Inspire website (http://inspire.eun.org) in their science lessons during the next ten months. Also teachers not participating in Inspire are welcome to use the website and report the use of Learning Objects via the Inspire forms.
Read more


Students debate with role models at Sci-Tech Girls Day
On 15 October, more than 100 girls from across Europe attended the Sci Tech Girls day to meet female scientific and technological role models and think about their future. The Sci-Tech Girls event was held in conjunction with the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society and it consisted of a series of discussions between female students and leading scientists and technologists. Initiated in 2007, this event aims to encourage young women to pursue scientific studies by overcoming socio-cultural barriers, and demonstrating the quality of scientific careers.
Read more

Improving Europe’s skill base: new IT career portal launched
Leaders of the IT sector have launched a new initiative to promote e-Skills in Europe, at the e-Skills conference held in Thessaloniki, Greece. Set up under the leadership of the e-Skills Industry Leadership Board (ILB) and supported by the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry, the pilot e-Skills career portal (http://eskills.eun.org) is a keystone in a long-term strategy to address the skills gap in the IT sector.
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European industry leaders look to closer collaboration between business and schools
Increasing young people’s interest in Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) is essential for sustainable economic growth and competitiveness in Europe, according to the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT), a group of 45 industrial leaders from across Europe. ERT has identified this issue as a key priority for European industry.
Read more

Register for the eLearning Awards 2008 and share good practice using ICT in schools
European Schoolnet is launching for the eighth consecutive year the eLearning Awards, Europe's prime competition to award excellence and best use of technology in education.
Read more

Chemical detective competition starts
The ninth DECHEMAX school competition “The chemical detective” (Mit Chemie auf Spurensuche) will start on 13 November 2008. In the first round, teams of three to five students from 11 to 18 years old answer weekly questions on the Internet about biology, biotechnology and chemistry. Teams that pass the first round can take part in the second - experimental - round. There are certificates for all successful teams, and attractive prizes for the winners. The competition is run in German.
Read more

Submit your eTwinning maths or science project to the European eTwinning prizes
If you took part in an eTwinning project during the 2007-2008 school year that involves maths and/or science, be sure to submit it to the eTwinning Prizes 2009 competition where a special category exists for you!
Read more

Meet tomorrow's top researchers via the EU Contest for Young Scientists!
The winners of this year's EU contest for Young Scientists held in Copenhagen, Denmark, have been rewarded. The contestants, with ages ranging from 14 to 21, and representing 39 countries across Europe - as well as Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA - presented 87 high standard winning projects from national competitions covering a wide range of scientific disciplines from engineering and earth sciences to biology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, computer and social sciences.
Read more


Open day: Science Days
5 November, 12 November 2008
Frankfurt, Germany
School students, their teachers and interested members of the public are invited to participate in one of three days of chemical demonstrations, lectures and experiments. Visits to the laboratories of the Karl Winnacker Institute are also possible. The science days are organised by the German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh) and the German Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DECHEMA). All events are free of charge and are held in German. Please register in advance.

Seminar: Teaching Environmental Sciences
3-5 November 2008
Biarritz, France
This seminar aims at bringing forth the emergence of new European partnerships in areas where the use of Information and Communication Technologies play an active part in the teaching of environmental sciences. The seminar is organized by the “Académie” of Bordeaux in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), the National Centre of Space Studies (CNES), the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) and the companies “Apple”, “Calibration”, and “Promethean”.

Chemistry Week @ NTU
3-7 November 2008
Nottingham, UK
Chemistry Week @ NTU (Nottingham Trent University) is a week long celebration that includes the following events and workshops: Reaction Rates master class, Know Chemistry, Snap, Crackle and Snot workshop and Nappy Power workshop.

European City of Science event
14-16 November 2008
Paris, France
The European City of Science event is one of the highlights of the French presidency of the EU in terms of science events. It will attract tens of thousands of visitors, and takes place in the Grand Palais in Paris.

Setmana de la Ciència
14-23 November 2008
Catalonia, Spain
Field work, open doors, visits to science museums, contests, games, observations, workshops and more: 10 days of funny but instructive scientific activities for people of all ages with about 400 activities in 100 different locations in Catalonia. Wide participation of public and private institutions coordinated by FCRI. Included Science Day at Schools: Scientists from all fields go to secondary schools to interact and share expertise, feelings and enthusiasm about science and technology with students.

3-5 December 2008
Berlin, Germany
ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN is the largest global e-learning conference for the corporate, education and public service sectors. The annual event offers a forum for e-learning experts, experienced users, and apprentices from all over the world to exchange ideas and make contacts. Over 2000 delegates from more than 90 countries attend the conference, making ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN the most comprehensive annual meeting place for e-learning and distance education professionals. Participants of the conference are high-level decision makers from education, business and government sectors, the three areas driving e-learning adoption and innovation. The accompanying exhibition gives international providers the opportunity to demonstrate their products, tools and services.

EMINENT 2008 Conference and E-Learning awards
4-5 December 2008
Rome, Italy
This year’s EMINENT conference’s theme is ‘ICT in schools: learning from each other’, highlighting our commitment to reach out to our stakeholders, networks and partners to meet and discuss common ICT initiatives, share best practice and exchange on current issues shaping the use of new technologies in teaching and learning. The conference will include the eLearning awards 2008 ceremony on 4 December. The eLearning Awards are Europe’s prime competition to award and share best practice examples in using ICT in teaching and learning. As in previous years, major industry players are supporting the event.

Science Festival in Belgrad
5-7 December 2008
Belgrad, Serbia
The aim of the Science Festival is to point out to the youth of Belgrad and Serbia that science is an inseparable part of their everyday life, and to provide an inspiring, refreshing and clear insight into all areas of science; to draw interest, explain and involve all society in the importance of science and technology in everyday life.

Conference: Playful Sciences 3
28 January 2009
Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, Belgium
Science on Stage Belgium invites secondary-school teachers and trainee teachers to join in a day of playful sciences: presentations, experiments, games, a competition and a bag of experimental material to take home! The introduction is in English; the rest of the events in either French or Dutch (with translation available if necessary).

Frontiers in Science Education Research 2009 (FISER'09)
22-24 March 2009
Famagusta, Cyprus
The Conference aims to bring together scholars from all around the world who are involved in various aspects of undergraduate science and mathematics education research, and will cover a wide range of topics such as undergraduate curricula and design, teaching and learning strategies, technology in teaching and learning, faculty development, teacher training and contemporary issues in the field including native language vs. foreign language of instruction and misconceptions in science. FISER'09 will be open to professional science and mathematics education researchers, educators, students and all others who are interested.

13th International Science Festival Göteborg
3-17 May 2009
Göteborg, Sweden
The most intelligent festival in Sweden! Our aim is to be the best and most exciting meeting-place for researchers, schools, and the general public. Different aspects of the festival will be popping up in unexpected places. Each year the festival is charaterized by a central theme. In 2009 we are focusing on civilizations. The activities are open to everyone and almost everything is free of charge.

Ecsite Annual Conference 2009
4-6 June 2009
Milan, Italy
Science communication professionals from across Europe and the world are welcome to participate in the Ecsite Annual Conference 2009 on 4-6 June 2009 in Milan. The conference will be hosted by the National Museum of Science and Technology “Leonardo da Vinci”. Three full days of inspiring sessions, workshops and discussions will await our participants. Whether you work in science centres or museums, in aquariums or natural history museums, in research institutes or universities, this is a unique occasion for your calendar.

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