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GEM summer schools

Colours Uncovered

By January 2022November 18th, 2022No Comments

Organized by the University of Nicosia (UNic), Cyprus

Summer School 2022

Background

The purpose of the summer school was to engage girls in Cyprus with STEM activities, with an emphasis on understanding the role of STEM, and especially the entrepreneurial potential of the field. For this reason more than 12 female and male scientists, science communicators and educators have worked together to develop interactive activities around the topic of “Colours Uncovered”. The theme of colors was chosen as a way to make the connection to the arts and well, but also to support the girls to understand the importance of color in our everyday lives from different perspectives. The girls, in small groups had the opportunity to learn about colours and their importance from the perspective of science, mathematics, technology, engineering and the arts and collaborated on producing final products and presented them. The teams learned about the importance of colors as indicators in biology labs, the importance of colors in VR design, the importance of “colored light” in our well-being, the significance of color in nature. They also learned about the design process and how to produce and present products, and for the final day of the summer school they prepared their own product based on knowledge and skills gained during the summer school. The problem they had to solve was: “How can you improve scientists’ well-being using color”. The girls also had the opportunity to work with female scientists, interview female scientists, participate in a field trip at an environmental centre and prepared their own digital advertisements to promote their products.

The Programme

The summer school took place at the premised of the University of Nicosia (4 days), and at the Athalassa National Park (1 day) from June 27th until July 1st 2022. It was targeted to 12-14 year old girls and more than 40 girls applied, but only 27 were accepted because of covid-19 limitations.

The summer school was organized around the theme of “Colors Uncovered” and the problem “How can we improve scientists’ well being using color?”. Everyday was organized in a way that provided the girls with knowledge and skills related to the theme and problem, but also with experiences with female scientists. During the first day the students engaged in the Draw a STEM person activity as a way to discuss stereotypes in STEM and also visited the VR lab at the University and immersed in VR and AR activities related to colors. The second day was dedicated to outdoors learning in a national park in which the girls engaged in activities regarding the role of colors in the environment and at the end they were asked to think about designing a sustainable school using LEGO wedo. During the third day the visited a biology lab at the university and engaged in activities with indicators for the first part of the day, and for the second part of the day they engaged in problem solving using LEGO we do. In day 4 students were introduced again to the problem they had to solve: How can we improve scientists’ well being using color” but this time through the design cycle. The last day was dedicated on designing products and prototypes and presenting them, placing in that way an emphasis on prototyping. During all these days the students had the opportunity to meet and work with female STEM role models. An important aspect of the summer school was when they met with a computer scientist who works as an interface designer for a bank. The discussion with this role model was critical in how they designed and presented their final products.

Feedback

“I was really excited with the VR and AR activities and did not want to leave the lab” (Irene, 13 years old”

“I really enjoyed the process of designing a product and presenting it to the other groups. The solution was not clear from the beginning and we had to change plans, but we learned through the process. It was also excited to be able to find my blood type my self using the indicators in the biology lab” (Zoe, 12 years old)

Summer School 2021

Empowering girls to understand their role in STEM June 22nd to 25th 2021

The purpose of the summer camp was to engage girls in Cyprus with STEM activities, with an emphasis on understanding the role of STEM, and especially the entrepreneurial potential of the field. More than 12 female scientists, science communicators and educators have worked together to develop interactive activities around the topic of “Colours”. The girls, in small groups had the opportunity to learn about colours and their importance from the perspective of science, mathematics, technology, engineering and the arts and collaborated on producing final products and present them. They also had the opportunity to work with female scientists, do a field trip at an environmental centre and planed a way to promote their products.

Day 1:

Refractions, reflections on prism or drop

And a spectrum of colours would burst with a pop!

 

Introduction and the science of colours

  • Draw a scientist activity and share it with the rest
  • Discussion and group work on light and colors
  • Watch a movie to introduce participants to the role of women in STEM
  • Making giant bubbles: Students formed groups and were asked to make giant bubbles that can fit a person inside. Observed the bubbles in terms of colors, consistency and size. Discussion on how bubbles are formed and what makes the colors on the bubbles iridescent.

Day 2: 

Zoom-in and look closely at any insects or birds you can find.

As long as you are careful, we don’t think they’ll mind.

Observe how their colour patterns are like an intricate puzzle.

So, are colours in nature just all about dazzle?

 

Colors in the environment – Visit to National Part and environmental center

  • Students were introduced to the problem: what is the role of colors in the environment and where can you spot iridescent colors in the National Park.
  • Students were introduced to field study rules and the technological tools that they used during the field study.
  • Field study
  • Presentation of findings and discussion of findings with female scientists
  • Discussion with female scientists on the mechanisms of birds and bugs relating to the science of colors
  • Using materials from the environment to produce colors and discuss the technology of materials.

Day 3:

Some think that the spectrum holds only magic and mystery

But the science of color developed throughout history

Provides information for doctors and chemists in different labs

And offers all scientists undisputable facts.

 

  • The students worked in groups in the science lab mentored by a female scientist to understand the importance of color in chemistry. Utilize color to find out their blood type.
  • How do we use colors in lab work? Using indicators and change color as a way to see changes.
  • Interview with a female scientist: the girls met online a member of the Cypriot epidemiological team and had the opportunity to interview her about her career, everyday life and difficulties that she encountered as a female scientist and science communicator.
  • Chose a scientist in groups and discussed a new uniform design.
  • Made drawings and calculations using the design process to prepare outlines of uniforms.

Day 4:

So, just choose a scientist and get in their positions!

What would you do and what would you wear under those conditions?

Think about colors and the role they would have

In a uniform design elevated to stardom and above.

Let’s experiment, create, and promote while having fun!

 

  • Students visited the STEM Freak Center and learned about entrepreneurial skills in STEM and basic rules and the technologies and tools that were available for them to use (i.e. 3D printer, programming)
  • Preparation of final project: Made use of what you learned about colors and STEM to create a scientist’s uniform for their wooden mannequin considering the role of colour in their design.
  • Planned the presentation of their designs as a way to promote their final product.
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