Last week, MPEA’s Emil Fridolfsson took part in a massive Science Outreach campaign geared towards young, enthusiastic students in the Kronoberg Region. The program, Reach for the Stars (Swedish: Mot nya höjder), works with 3rd – 6th grade students to encourage curiosity and learning in the fields of technology, science and mathematics. Students are given “challenges” for which they must experiment with creative, technological solutions and work in groups to develop problem solving. Reach for the Stars serves over 1,000 students in the Kronoberg Region, and its success is inspiring surrounding counties to develop similar programs.
Emil, along with 80 LNU colleagues in the fields of science and mathematics, gathered into busses and cars headed for 23 Kronoberg county schools to present their research, interests, and what their role is as a scientist. For Emil, on behalf of MPEA, it was an opportunity to teach and inspire the young would-be scientists about what we do here at LNU.
Said Emil: “I tried to explain to them why we study the smaller things in order to understand the big things.” For instance, one of the reasons that we study vitamin deficiency in ecological food webs is because we can discover correlations along the way – everything is connected. The students demonstrated an impressive knowledge of climate change and the effect that man has made on the globe, mentioning plastics and toxins as examples of pollutants.
Most excitingly, Emil said that there were two pupils who said that they actually want to be scientists – future MPEA members for sure!
As Reach for the Stars continues to succeed in generating interest and enthusiasm for science, math and technology, we may expect to see Kalmar Municipality establishing a similar program for their youth. And we will be ready with algae to display!
-Caroline Littlefield Karlsson