Stars and STEM Stories
The GLOBE Student Conference Sees Long-Term Research from Hundreds of European Students
25 July, 8 a.m. Footsteps were echoing as people were treading down the empty corridors of the Faculty of Life Science building of Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic). One hour later the building was filled with chatter and laughter. More than 200 students and teachers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Malta, Ireland, Georgia and the Netherlands arrived to the GLOBE Student Conference to present their long-term research projects.
"It all started with a discussion about hedgehogs. Then we came up with a research question that led us into the nocturnal woods. We faced our fear in order to explore the connection between the amount of wild animals and the intensity of light pollution." (Excerpt from the project annotation of the team from Elementary school Dobromysl, Czechia, Czech Republic)
The projects of all 36 student teams began with a single research question. Just as real scientists, the students created hypotheses, verified them and finally presented the results of their work at the GLOBE conference. And what topics did they investigate this year? Microplastics in water, biodiversity and air pollution around the school, or the effect of radioactive and light pollution on living organisms – just to name a few. Some teams even went beyond research and made a huge positive impact on the surroundings of their school. For example, students from the Elementary School Třebotov planted a small forest in their school garden. The forest will serve as an outdoor living laboratory, ideal for researching forest ecosystems, as well as a place for relaxation and a green oasis during the hot months of the year.
The student presentations were followed by the Project Marketplace where participants could display their projects, try hands-on activities prepared by other teams and make new connections.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to workshops with scientists. All the 11 workshops were connected in some way to the current topic of climate change. "Young people are afraid of the future and feel powerless when faced with the threats that the climate change poses. We wanted to show students best practices from the Czech environment, such as measures for retaining water in the countryside, soil-friendly agriculture or ecological and sustainable architecture. We wanted to give them hope that nothing has been lost yet, on the contrary - we also have many success stories," explained Jan Blažek, the main coordinator of The GLOBE Program in the Czech Republic.
Students tried to make a weather forecast, researched the temperature resistance of plants, or discovered how water travels in the landscape. Some of them even became architects and designed a city of the future that will be more sustainable, greener and inclusive.
And what did the participants think about the conference? Organizers were pleased to read so much positive feedback.
“These two days were amazing. I really liked it, because it was informative, fun, I met new people. I am taking back home new information and great memories.”
“It was a great experience because I learnt more about subjects, I learnt how to present in front of many people and thirdly I got to meet and talk with many students with very different backgrounds.”
“I was impressed by the high standard of the presentations as well as the different forms and I also enjoyed watching my students interact with so many other countries.”
Thank you for all the presenting teams for their outstanding projects and dedicated work in The GLOBE Program. Hope to see you all next year!
Images courtesy Csilla Barkász, GLOBE Czech Republic.