As part of the EU-funded international project „Chain Reaction„, in which the objective is to integrate inquiry- based learning in the practice of science education, the first national „Express Yourself Conference “ at the University of Education Heidelberg was held on 21.03.2014. Nine of Baden-Württembergian and one Hessian group of students competed with their research results for participation in the first international “Express Yourself Conference” in the UK.
The jury decided in favor of the research team of Liebfrauen-School from Bensheim. Students Yasmin Douahem, Olivia Wachtel, Laura Löser, Alessia Günther and Theresa Huntemann had conducted research under the supervision of their teacher Annette Flechsig:
The project „Green Heating“ deals with the exploration and construction of solar panels. They had constructed the model of a solar collector, carried out their own measurements and presented their findings in a persuasive presentation.
Winning the event meant being invited to the international Express Yourself Conference in Sheffield in the period from 11th to 14th May 2014, where students met the winning teams from 11 other European countries, and once again presented their project.
The journey of our team to Sheffield took a turbulent start: The weather situation between Germany and England on Monday , May 12, 2014 resulted in a bumpy flight to Manchester. On the train from Manchester to Sheffield our team encountered other arriving teams from other countries.
In Sheffield, the team was greeted at the hotel by our staff and invited along with all the other teams for a festive dinner. The individual tables were decorated with the national flags so that you felt well received there.
After dinner there was still time to turn a small exploration round by Sheffield or indulge in final preparations for the conference.
On Tuesday morning, after breakfast the presentation was practiced one last time. A question moved our students: Had the package arrived? The students had previously sent their model to Sheffield by parcel. Had the package arrived on time? Had the model survived the journey intact?
During registration, then the relieving news: Yes ! The model of their solar collector was fine – it was looking forward to its use. The students hung up their poster on the board and checked their slot in the program.
At 9:30 finally the first lectures started. Twelve very impressive presentations were on the program. The auditorium was filled with atmosphere and quickly everyone in the audience realized that there was a real science conference going on. In addition to exciting lectures, there were cultural differences to be spotted: School uniforms are not common in Germany – and although the students had heard about them in English class – it was something else to be able to marvel at the uniforms from several countries live.
The German team had their presentation in the penultimate session. They provided a sovereign presentation and then answered the questions in the discussion brilliantly.
Another highlight later whttp://blog.chreact.de/wp-admin/post.php?post=486&action=editas the interesting lecture by Professor the Lord Robert Winston.
In the international comparison victorious was the team from Bulgaria, which had dedicated their presentation to the subject „Plants in Space„. They showed a Prezi presentation in which they reported the fact that they had created diet plans and made experiments for water treatment and for plant growth. The jury was finally handed a proprietary drink. It was agreed that this was a technically and linguistically entirely convincing lecture.
Alfonso Cuaron’s film In the evening „Gravity“ was shown for all groups.http://blog.chreact.de/wp-admin/post.php?post=486&action=edit
On Wednesday, the signs were set to „Check Out“ . The students had made acquaintance with the group from Turkey and jointly visited the botanical garden. Whether this encounter grows to become a research contact or better yet result in friendships remains to be seen.
In time and thrilled to have gained so many experiences, the team of Liebfrauen-School landed in Frankfurt at 21:00.
From us – thanks for the wonderful experiences with you and we hope – you stay in touch with us and the other project participants… !