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RESTARTS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 233973
Funded under: FP7-TRANSPORT
Country: Belgium

Opening the aeronautics route for pupils

Teachers and researchers collaborated in a project aimed at stimulating young people's interest in an aeronautics career. Project efforts also worked to set the basis for establishing a future European network of aeronautical school labs.
Opening the aeronautics route for pupils
Given the drop in student interest in aeronautical sciences and the resulting decrease in the number of young professionals in the field, there is a recognised need to motivate youth towards the sciences in general. The project 'Raising European student awareness in aeronautical research through school-labs' (Restarts) was initiated with EU funding to reverse the observed trend of disinterest on the part of school pupils towards aeronautics in particular.

Aeronautical research partners and members of a teaching department developed informative material that highlighted basic aerodynamic fundamentals and set out special challenges facing aeronautical research. Scientists collaborated with a pedagogical team and teachers at local schools to produce teaching material. The compilation includes simple experiments that attract inquisitive young minds and demonstrate investigations of physical phenomena.

Working towards an ambitious set of goals — considering the limited pedagogical experience of researchers and lack of science specialisation on the part of teachers — activities sought to make a direct link between research and society. Researchers in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Romania wrote background information material for teachers, preparing activities and resources for them to use with pupils aged 6 to 18.

Additionally, visits and organised activities were planned at partner research centres and institutes to bridge school theory and applied research. Here, school labs offer more sophisticated experiments and hands-on experience in the workings and real-life applications of scientific inquiry.

The Restarts approach is a positive step towards uniting researchers and teachers to create a common dynamic boosting the interest of Europe's youth in sciences and aeronautics. This is also important for setting up a living network of school labs and research collaborations in aeronautics and student training.

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