In order to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education among the youngest students, the Nuclear Young People and WiN commissions promote the holding of the STEM Program within the framework of the 45th Annual Meeting of the Spanish Nuclear Society.
The STEM Program is an open and free event, targeted at students from Secondary Education Institutes (IES) during their last two years (3rd and 4th of Compulsory Secondary Education). The SNE intends to give added value to its Annual Meeting through the information and training of compulsory secondary education students technical and scientific concepts related to science and technology in general and with nuclear in particular.
This program consists of five parallel workshops that will be held on Monday, September 23 and Tuesday, September 24 from 9:30am to 2:00pm at the Mar de Vigo Auditorium. The topics to be developed are the following:
The Circular Challenge
“The Circular Challenge" is a technological and engaging experience that, through gamification, allows us to discover how renewable gas is a key source of energy to curb climate change and favor the circular economy. Participants will understand how renewable gas is created, the uses it allows, and its fundamental role in the future as clean and sustainable energy. This proposal is an excellent tool to transfer expert knowledge to secondary students. In addition to addressing technical issues, the experience presents work in values, the development of critical sense, citizenship, and social commitment.
Initial introduction to the concepts of optics, electromagnetic radiation, ionizing radiation, and visible spectrum, lasers, and holograms.
After that, the practical part of the workshop will consist of the elaboration of a plastic prism with which you can visualize hologram simulations through mobile devices (it is important to confirm with the centers that students have permission to use their mobile devices during school hours).
Finally, there will sharing between the presenter and participants in order to clarify doubts and provide additional teaching resources.
Energy in the Classroom
Through a series of simple experiments and with materials that can be found in everyday life, it intends to show students the processes of transformation of different raw materials or natural resources into electrical energy.
These activities will allow them to solidify the knowledge acquired in the classroom and see its application in a practical way, to understand the technology used, the advantages and disadvantages that each of the sources entail, and to be able to compare them.
To begin with, a general 30-minute presentation will be made where the concepts of sustainability are introduced, as well as the twelve principles of sustainable chemistry and examples of environmental problems such as energy abuse or water misuse, which can be solved partially through policy change.
Some practical examples of possible solutions will be shown from the scientific point of view that may be useful for secondary school students.
The practical sessions of approximately 1h duration that could be covered are:
- What is a catalyst and what advantages can it provide from a sustainable point of view?
- Do you know how much electricity is consumed in the world, and why is it a problem?
- Why is the use of renewable energy in the future interesting?
- What do conventional paints have hidden and why can their high consumption be a problem?
- Do you know what a hydraulic footprint is and how can we save on water consumption?
- What are electromagnets used for and how can you make them with conventional materials?
- Do you want to produce your own light in the classroom?
After a presentation on what radioactive waste is, how it is generated, how it is classified, how it is managed and who is responsible for this work, two instructors, a renowned scientist and a scientist apprentice, will present the activity for 30 minutes.
The first is that students understand what radioactivity is (5 min) with a radiometer.
Then, through a card game (20 minutes) in groups, it goes into what waste is and what radioactive waste is. At the end of the game, students will know how to distinguish what is radioactive waste and what is not, where it is produced, and where it is managed.
Once the above is understood, it goes to how it is managed (10 minutes) where students simulate the management of low and medium activity waste with a syringe with a chemical light tube. The students must keep the syringe in the canister for three days that simulate the 300 years that the waste remains in El Cabril. At home or in their class, after three days they will open it and the chemical light will no longer shine.
To truly understand the engineering barriers that isolate waste, the concept is reinforced with a sound player (10 minutes), whose beep is turned down as the barriers are implemented, until it stops being heard. This module is completed with environmental integration and environmental monitoring (5 minutes).
The activity ends with a board game (large size) on the transport of low and medium activity radioactive waste (20 minutes) in which all concepts are reviewed through 40 questions to 4 teams.