We talk about science

Fostering communication about scientific issues

How do students perceive science communication and how can it be made more relevant to the target group? The project "We talk about science" investigates these questions and encourages schoolchildren to leave the consuming role and to prepare and communicate scientific topics by themselves. One target group of the project are pupils from the participating secondary schools who have already had contact with the natural science subjects biology, chemistry and physics in class. Based on the reflection of their own consumption of science communication products (videos, homepages, newspaper reports, etc.), they are instructed and supported to communicate scientific aspects from the two selected current and socially relevant subject areas of electromagnetic radiation and carbon dioxide. Together with experts and supported by student teachers, they design their own science communication products.

Questions in focus will be: which aspects of the two subject areas do learners consider as relevant, who do they select as target group for their communication products and how do they prepare and communicate the scientific topics for their chosen target group?

The second target group of the project are elementary school students in the fourth grade. The first small projects on science communication are investigating which aspects will perceived at this age and what a target group-adequate science communication in elementary school looks like.

The target groups of the project are not only schoolchildren, but also interested citizens in the two rural regions of St. Stefan ob Stainz in Western Styria and St. Leonhard am Forst in the district of Melk in Lower Austria. In the context of science cafés and together with the pupils, the communication products are made publicly accessible, thus initiating an exchange on scientific topics. On science afternoons and evenings, the schoolchildren get in touch with local people and communicate their topics. This is intended to promote a higher interest in scientific research and to initiate discussions on these topics. With the schoolchildren as communicators, target groups that have previously had little interest in science can be reached.

(Photocredit © Philipp Spitzer)