Kristin: This week’s been a whirlwind as we’ve encouraged 15 scientists to battle it out for the approval of science students across Australia.
It’s all part of our Australian pilot of “I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!”
‘I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here!’ is a science dialogue event where school students talk to real scientists online for two weeks. It’s in the form of an Australian Idol meets Masterchef-style competition between scientists, who compete for a prize of $1000. For two weeks students read about the scientists’ work, ask them questions and engage in live text chats with them. The students vote for the scientist they want to get the money. The scientists with the fewest votes are evicted until only one is left to be crowned the winner in each zone.
The event is supported by carefully developed and tested teaching resources that develop students’ skills and deepen their understanding and is based on the successful UK version which has been running for three years. Our Australian pilot is part-funded by the National Enabling Technologies Strategy in the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Aus) and the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology (SA).
- 3 zones in Health, Food and a general zone called Hydrogen
- 15 scientists (five scientists in each zone) from WA, SA, Qld, NSW and Vic
- up to 1,500 students enrolled
- in 34 schools and colleges from WA, NT, SA, Qld, NSW and Vic
Since the site went live for students to interact with on Tuesday we’ve had:
- 3350 unique visitors to the website
- 429 questions – including “What’s string theory?”, “How long will it take you to die if you head gets cut off?” and “Do people who play with lego have a higher IQ?”
- 26 half-hour live chats between scientists and classes – discussions have covered marijuana, kidney stones, salty oceans, animal testing, cloning and biotechnology.
Some of the great comments we’ve had at the half-way mark include:
- “My office buddy says ‘When do we get you back’ #IASAus is super-addictive” :)” – Kate Patterson, Scientist in Food Zone
- “Thank you for the live chat before as well, you all taught me a lot in only roughly 10 minutes!!!!! :) :) :) :) :)” – Tamara, student
- “There was a collective groan from the class at 3.00pm when the chat session ended. Students wanted to keep going. I can say the class really enjoyed the session and the time went really quickly. I think the class appreciated that the scientists were real people” – Robert, Teacher
Phew! End of Week 1. The first eviction is on Tuesday 21st June, with the zone winners announced at 3pm AEST on Friday 24th June. You can follow us on Twitter at #IASAus or @IASAus to keep up to date. Check it out, there are some great questions, some great answers and lots to surprise.