Researchers at Schools

Cientista Regressa à Escola – 2nd edition

“Scientist Returns to School” (translated from the Portuguese ‘Cientista Regressa à Escola’ and abbreviated CRE) is a science education program for primary school students in the 4th grade (9-10 years old). Through this program, scientists return to their former primary school to carry out 90-minute science workshops with the children in their homeland. Priority is given to scientists from low population density areas and schools with poor levels of academic achievement. For the 2022/23 school year, 65 CRE workshops are planned in schools in mainland Portugal and islands.

These schools belong to different regions, as you can see on the map.

In blue the municipalities where all 4th graders have met a scientist from their hometown before their transition to the 5th grade.

The aim of the programme is to increase the number of workshops held each year and the number of scientists and children reached, in order to make Portugal the first country in the world where all children have already met a scientist by the fifth year of school. In this sense, the proposed targets were achieved in 2023, as shown in the following figure, that includes the CRE workshops held in the timeframe of RAISE.

The impact of the 2022/23 edition of the programme is currently under evaluation through the analysis of surveys filled by children, teachers and scientists before and after the workshops. Preliminary results show that:

  • The majority of children enrolled had low exposure to science and/or have met a scientist from their hometown for the first time with CRE, suggesting the programme is successfully targeting the children that most need it;
  • When selecting words to describe science, children use words such as “difficult” less often after CRE, while words such as “useful” increased in prevalence;
  • Enrolled scientists became more aware of the importance of practical activities such as those provided by CRE for science communication and found these helpful for finding new ways of communicating with different audiences;
  • The vast majority of teachers (96%) would repeat the experience in the future and recommend it to colleagues.

Here you can find you can find drawings created by children who took part in the program in 2022/23. The drawings are made before the children meet a scientist and aim to illustrate scientists or their workplace.

To participate visit the site


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