“THE YOUNG SCIENTIST” PROJECT
OCTOBER 1, 2020 TO MARCH 30, 2021
Pavlikeni Municipality and Sliven, Bulgaria
The Young Scientist Project is a children’s grass-root project run and implemented by Vox Tua, a nonprofit association passionate to engage, educate, and empower children and the youth. The project is fully funded by the Embassy of the United States – Sofia. This project will focus on providing a range of interactive and fun activities to children in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade with the purpose to fuel and stimulate their curiosity and appreciation for careers in science.
The participants in the project will be students from 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade from seven schools from the following cities/villages: Pavlikeni, Sliven, Batak, Byala Cherkva, and Vurbovka. The project will reach a total of 650-700 students.
The project aims to inspire children from an early age to develop a passion for careers in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Through experiment-based courses, research kits, and YouTube videos, the project seeks to motivate children to science and to develop skills in making observations, creating scientific reports, and evaluating results for the implementation of innovative solutions: basic and necessary elements of healthy professional development.
We have chosen to partner with seven schools. Five schools are from the municipality of Pavlikeni, and two schools from Sliven. The seven schools participating in the project are:
The Team Running the Project
The two-people leading the project are Luis Lomeli, director of Vox Tua, and Georgi Ivanov, the Project Manager. Luis has more than 15 years of experience in education and youth development around the world. As a volunteer for 2.5 years in the Peace Corps, he has developed a passion for running projects that aim to inspire children and young people to reach their full potential and to have a positive impact on their community. Georgi is a 12th grade student at the Sofia Mathematical High School with several years of experience in international competitions, educational activities and fairs in the field of science.
Structure of the Project
1. The Project Manager will lead two-school-hour experiment-base- courses in each class.
2. At the end of the course, each student will receive a scientific kit that can be taken home, with complete instructions for performing the experiments inside it. This will create a wonderful opportunity for parents to participate in their child’s learning development. Each student will have the materials for the implementation of three different experiments created by Georgi Ivanov.
3. To stimulate a sustainable learning development of the participants, Vox Tua will create 10-15 original videos on You Tube with new experiment ideas that children (and their parents) will be able to implement at home with limited cost and resources. All videos will be available free of charge. Full instructions on the experiments will be available for free download from the Vox Tua website.
Detailed Information About the Three Activities of the Project
“The Young Scientist Project” has the goal of inspiring kids from middle school to develop and expand their interest in the various subjects of science.
1. The first activity, which the project provides, consists of interactive experiment-based courses that take place during two school hours, led by the Project Manager – Georgi Ivanov. The kids will engage in the activities with supplied materials, while in the process learning simplified concepts and terminology, directly correlated with the demonstration. The two experiments are:
- “Colored Tower” (Physics) – The kids will create a colorful tower by stacking vertically liquids with different densities in decreasing order. The experiment is a fun and attractive way to learn fundamental principles and physics concepts, such as density and Archimedes’ principle. The activity is based on simplified elements of the scientific method – hypothesis, observation and analysis.
- “Banana DNA” (Biology) – Following a simple procedure with common household materials, the kids can physically observe the DNA of a banana. The experiments provides a perfect opportunity for illustrating biological concepts, such as what is a cell and the essence of DNA. The used materials are easily accessible, which in turn allows for the experiment to be replicated at home.
2. The second part of the project consists of giving the kids scientific kits, designed and created by Vox Tua, which provide 3 additional experiments. In addition to all necessary materials there will be thorough and expansive manuals for the activity with educational information. The kits provide a perfect opportunity to engage the parents and to create a fun learning environment at home – the three experiments are:
- “Popsicle Chain Reaction” (Physics) – A peculiar way of ordering popsicle sticks allows for the creation of an elastic “chain”, which upon release creates a kinetic wave with the popsicles. Concepts like kinetic and potential energy are involved.
- “Bacteria Colony” (Biology) – With specifically prepared nutrient dishes the kids can observe how many bacteria are “hiding” or different surfaces and places arounf the house. The used method is fundamental in microbiology and provides for a direct experience of the future work of a scientist. The experiment is descriptive of the importance of hygiene and and sterile media, relevant to the current global context, created by COVID-19
- “Candy Chromatography” (Chemistry) – After a simple procedure of dissolving the food coloring in different types of sweets, the kids will observe the different elements, which create the final color. They will learn what is a solvent, a mixture and about what makes the colors in candy.
3. The third and final part of the project is the creation from scratch of 10-15 You Tube Videos. This is the sustainability part of the project that will provide important resources to the children and parents to continue building on the knowledge they acquired on the first two activities of the project. Vox Tua will create each video with a demonstration of a fun and educational science experiment that the participants and their parents can do from home with very limited resources. The videos will be engaging and easy to follow. Vox Tua believes that learning is constant action and does not required money but instead the wiliness to learn and drive to be the best version of oneself.