Czech Republic: Events and activities within the Amgen Teach programme
UCT Prague held 4 events in the framework of Amgen Teach project during the academic year 2016/2017 and one more event will take place soon:
- Summer science camp in Soběšín
- Summer school for chemistry teachers in Prague
- Autumn school for chemistry teachers in Kralupy and Vltavou
- Winter series of regional workshops for chemistry teachers in Hustopeče and Jihlava
- Spring series of regional workshops for chemistry teachers in Železný Brod and Poděbrady
During the four-day Summer science camp, held in a camp facilities in Soběšín on 16-19 August 2016, the teachers passed a very packed program. A discussion of inquiry based teaching, key problems and good practices in teaching was an important part of the entire event. They worked together or they were split into small groups for better cooperation and then the main program started.
Throughout the afternoon and evening the teachers watched or themselves carried out many interesting experiments in physics, chemistry or biology. For instance, they tried to find an answer for the question "How many taste buds are on the tongue", used the glasses for simulation of drunkenness, found the relativity of perception of heat, or they provided some experiments for sense of touch and linking taste and smell. In the evening, the teachers learned new experiments with photoluminescence (e.g. fluorescence of aeskuline eluted from branches of chestnut, they found how marker pens work and tried a lot of other experiments). The teachers played detectives during the part "Finding the offender", measured atmospheric pressure and prepared real models of Solar system. During chemistry part they tried painting by light and calculated the mass of air in the "classroom". The participants also modelled the evolution timeline from the string and paper and eukaryotic cell from the balloons, water and food pigments.
The Summer school for chemistry teachers, which took part in Prague on 23-25 August 2016, was split into lecture and laboratory part. We would like to highlight some of the lectures: Natural = healthy? We cannot always give a positive answer (prof. Jana Hajšlová); Jing and Jang of HIV (prof. Tomáš Ruml); The chemistry and physics of a water drop (prof. Petr Slavíček); To the secret of genome and bioinformatics (assoc. prof. Daniel Svozil); Nanomaterials for "ordinary" life and human health (prof. Václav Švorčík). The entire program of Summer school can be found at https://www.vscht.cz/spoluprace/skoly/pro-ucitele/letni-skola.
An essential part of the Summer school was formed by laboratory sessions. Each teacher could choose one from many themes. IBSE area was contained in the following ones:
- Chemistry in services of metallurgy (Dr. Petr Holzhauser, M.Sc. Jan Havlík)
- Why do we use salt on roads? (Dr. Petr Distler)
Throughout the IBSE workshop the teachers watched or themselves carried out many interesting experiments. For instance, they tried to find an answer for the question "How salt works on ice on the roads", or they smelted metals out of ore using blow-pipes.
The Autumn school for chemistry teachers was held in Technopark Kralupy (facilities of UCT Prague in Kralupy and Vltavou) on 14 16 October 2016. Teachers' lectures and demonstrations were focused on practical work and experiments in schools, for example how to include experiments in teaching, how to find motivational elements, how to use school experiments etc. An essential part of the event was sharing ideas among the teachers: Some of the teachers themselves demonstrated their experiments they use when teaching. That way they inspired other teachers. The participants were very active and willing to cooperate.
During the three-day event, the teachers have passed a very packed program. A discussion of inquiry based teaching, key problems and good practices in teaching was an important part of the entire event. The Autumn school was opened on Friday afternoon. After the exhibition of an extruder (one of the Technopark equipment), followed by a dinner, the teachers shared their ideas at the social evening. On Saturday, the teachers watched or themselves carried out many interesting experiments: For instance, they learned new experiments with flame, smoke and fire in the labs and outdoor. In the evening, the teachers tried to make ice-cream using nitrogen and to extract DNA from strawberries.
Sunday morning, the teachers started with an excursion to the plants of Česká rafinérská company (a refinery near the city). The Lecturer focused on dissemination and explanation of crude oil processing and production of oil products, which the teachers could use in their daily practice. Then the program continued with a work in the labs and the workshop was finished by a short lunch.
Winter series of workshops for secondary school chemistry teachers consisted of two separate workshops held on 8 and 9 February 2017. We tried to involve mostly new teachers that could not attend our previous events (see above); for this reason, we decided to hold the winter workshops in the regions remote from Prague. This time the region of Moravia (eastern part of the Czech Republic) was chosen, particularly the cities of Hustopeče and Jihlava.
The workshops were focused on inquiry-based science education (IBSE), particularly considering how to explain melting and evidence of the metals, the reactivity of copper, chlorine, electrolysis etc. The main idea of the workshops was how to perform IBSE via realization of experiments exploring the essence of phenomena, thus helping the students to understand them.
The last event will be the Spring series of workshops for secondary school chemistry teachers, with the similar program as the winter series, although held in different region to include more new participants. The events will be held on 29 and 30 March 2017 in the towns of Železný Brod and Poděbrady (northern part of the Czech Republic).