Science on Stage - Nucleus

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Nucleus is a cluster of EU projects funded by the European Commission's Directorate General for Research, as part of the European Science Education Initiative. The overall goal is to reach thousands of teachers over the next three years, either by directly involving them in activities or by providing them with vital new resources. NUCLEUS comprises various organisations and their partners: the ECSITE network of science museums and centres, the education network European Schoolnet, the EIROforum (CERN, ESA, ESO, EMBL, ESRF, ILL, and EFDA), The University of Reading (UK), the Vienna University of Technology and the CISCI-consortium, and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (France).

In 2003, the EC's Research Directorate invited proposals for a "European Science Education Initiative," realizing that large-scale efforts will be needed to improve the situation. NUCLEUS will disseminate methods, techniques and best practices to primary and secondary schools across Europe, infusing what happens in informal learning environments (the projects PENCIL and CISCI) into the formal education system (through SCIENCEDUC), and involving active researchers in science education in new ways (ESTI and VOLVOX).
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The European Science Teaching Initiative (ESTI)

Coordinated by the EIROforum, ESTI combines two elements: Science on Stage (SoS) and a new Journal of European Science Teaching Science in School (SiS). Formerly known as “Physics on Stage”, SoS is a cycle of science teaching festivals with dozens of national events across Europe culminating in an international festival every two years. Alongside seminars conducted by top scientists and numerous workshops, the festival includes a major teaching prize and a fair in which teachers demonstrate and exchange their best ideas. SOS will be held twice during the NUCLEUS project.

The Journal SiS showcases the best of European science teaching from Nucleus and many other sources – offering practical teaching activities, explaining cutting-edge science, highlighting new ideas and best practices, informing teachers of events, resources, and places to go for help, spotlighting young scientists and great teachers, etc.
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The PENCIL project is coordinated by the ECSITE network of museums and science centres and has two main components. First, it will combine field programmes and academic research to identify what makes an informal science learning activity into a high-quality tool for science teaching. 14 science centres/museums will use pilot projects to create mini-networks involving schools, pupils, teachers associations, research laboratories, educational authorities, and education and science communication specialists. These will be monitored and assessed by a "resource centre" that identifies the criteria of innovation and quality of successful projects.

Secondly, PENCIL includes the European Science Education Portal (ESEP), to be operated by European Schoolnet www.eun.org, a unique international partnership of 26 Ministries of Education from Europe and beyond, encouraging communication and information exchange at all levels of school education using innovative technologies, and acting as a gateway to national and regional school networks. EUN already operates an established web portal that is extensively used by thousands of European science teachers. ESEP will serve as a gateway to all NUCLEUS resources, activities, and events as well as a wealth of information about issues related to European science teaching. ECSITE will stimulate other members to contribute to the content of the portal and will go on doing this after the end of the initial contract.
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Volvox consists of a team of biologists and biology teachers actively working in nine European countries (Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom). They will provide educational resources covering a range of modern biology to be accessed via the European Science Education Portal and the Journal of European Science Teaching. The materials will be tailored to meet local needs, increasing the chances that teachers will wish and be able to use them. The resources will include authoritative briefings, proven laboratory protocols, classroom activities addressing the social impact of bioscience, accounts of the careers of young scientists and numerous other educational resources to help motivate teachers and their students.

CISCI includes 11 partners from across Europe and will combine the two most popular media among youngsters, namely movies and the Internet, aiming to raise the attractiveness of science while dispelling widely-spread misconceptions that arise from pseudo-science. The idea of CISCI is to set up a web-based platform containing clips from films and videos with scientific themes, analyzing their scientific content from the point of view of many different disciplines, and providing new classroom resources based on these clips.
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SCIENCEDUC aims at renovating science education in elementary schools through the establishment of a Network that will enhance exchanges and the development of good practices in inquiry- type science teaching in primary schools over Europe. The network focuses teacher’s training (Summer School for science trainers), on line collaborative projects, evaluation (European data base implementation) and good practices’ dissemination strategies (organization of national and international conferences on science teaching).The project is coordinated by the Ecole Normale Supérieure (France) in partnership with Tartu University (Estonia), La main à la pâte – Académie des sciences (France), Apor Vilmos Catholic College (Hungary), Ciência Viva (NTA- Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Sweden) . All Partners have a solid background in inquiry-type teaching, a learning experience which enhances the children's ability to think critically by the way of questioning, drawing up hypotheses, observations, written expression and team work.
Last update: 17 July 2007

More information

 •  Nucleus (http://www.xplora.org/ww/en/pub/xplora/nucleus_home.htm)
 •  ESTI (http://www.xplora.org/ww/en/pub/xplora/nucleus_home/esti.htm)
 •  Science in School (http://www.scienceinschool.org/)
 •  Pencil (http://www.xplora.org/ww/en/pub/xplora/nucleus_home/pencil.htm)
 •  VOLVOX (http://www.xplora.org/ww/en/pub/xplora/nucleus_home/volvox.htm)
 •  CISCI (http://www.xplora.org/ww/en/pub/xplora/nucleus_home/cisci.htm)
 •  SCIENCEDUC (http://www.xplora.org/ww/en/pub/xplora/nucleus_home/scienceduc.htm)