June 27, 2007

Calisph’Air/Science Travellers - Making science easy

On 4 June, 150 programme participants met in Toulouse, France, to present their results. Another 200 fellow pupils also took part via a teleconference link-up.
They looked back on the very special day of 7 April, when aerosol content readings acquired by classes in France and Morocco were successfully compared with those acquired by the Aqua and Calipso satellites. Cross-comparison of these data confirmed the presence of aerosols over central western France and Morocco.

Other highlights of this 4 June event included the presentation of Aéroatmolux, a very original science experiment designed by a group of 9th grade pupils at the Collège Marguerite de Navarre in Pau.
By observing the behaviour of a beam of light shone through aerosols in suspension, Aéroatmolux is able to deduce their characteristics.


A motivating and positive project

For life sciences teacher Jean-Noël Puig, who supervised the pupils’ work with his physical sciences colleague Aline Abadie, “this hands-on project was highly motivating for the pupils because it showed them they were capable of working on a long-term assignment and understanding how a science experiment works.
Taking part in a project with other youngsters across the globe also meant they matured a lot.” Their efforts were rewarded at the 3rd Youth & Space forum in Palaiseau, France, where Aéroatmolux carried off 1st prize in the middle school category.
All the data gathered by classes will gradually be compared with satellite data and posted on the programme’s website.

But even before analysis of science data is complete, the project has already proven its immense educational value. Jean-Noël Puig sums it up: “Thanks to Calisph’Air/Science Travellers, some of our pupils who were struggling found a new source of motivation to break out of the spiral of failure to which they had resigned themselves. This experience shows the positive effects of working as a team and helping each other on a joint project.”

And it proves that a clear understanding of how individual actions impact our planet is the best way to secure its future.

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