"Dans la peau d'un chercher" or "Becoming a Scientist" is a program for primary schools in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland and the neighboring Pays de Gex, France. The project aims to educate children from 9 to 12 years on what it is really like to be a scientist searching for answers to the unknown. Through experiential teaching techniques for student centered learning, the students not only hear how a scientist forms questions, plans and conducts his/her research to search for answers, but experiences this process for themselves through structured exercises. Real-world international science collaboration is modeled through on-line information exchanges with fellow students across the Swiss-French boarder and contact with CERN scientists from all parts of the world. The program also encourages cooperation between educational networks on both sides of the Franco-Swiss border.
The project runs from January to June 2011. The program begins with half-day training for teachers. Upon completion of this training, teachers will receive sealed "mystery boxes" that contain unknown objects. Teachers will then facilitate a process of investigation to try to discover the contents of these sealed boxes with their school classes. Meanwhile, classes feed into a website that will allow them to exchange their ideas with those of other classes and pose questions to researchers. Following this investigation phase, classes will visit an experiment site at CERN or participate in a PhysiScope hands-on science experience. They will use this experience as a premise to interview researchers about their own experimental practices. Finally, representatives from each class will meet at CERN for a major conference broadcast on the web to synthesize their learning.
The program is conducted jointly by the CERN, the PhysiScope program (University of Geneva), the Inspectorate of Education in the Pays de Gex, le Service de la Coordination pédagogique de l'enseignement primaire de Genève and the Faculty of Science Education, University of Geneva.
For more information, see website (in French):