“JULIETA IN GIRL’S LAND” wins UNESCO-CIENCIA JOVEN 2016 prize for innovation in science and Education

Friday, 23 de December

“Julieta in Girl’s Land”, project funded by Explora CONICYT Projects for Science and Technology Popularization, was recognized as the best non-formal Science Education project by Unesco-Ciencia Joven prize 2016.

“Julieta in Girl’s Land” is a set of exploration specially designed to promote girls’ interest for science. The project was created by a group of scientists and communicators of the Center for Climate and Resilience Research (CR)2, the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB) and the Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence (CEGA), and is funded by Explora CONICYT Projects for Science and Technology Popularization.

The prize was awarded by Young Science Foundation and the UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each year this award highlights the five most innovative projects carried out in Chile, related with teaching science for students and teachers.

“When we were girls, it was hard to find toys that did not focus on gender roles: the kitchen, the baby, the iron. More than two decades later, we are mothers or aunts, and we continue to find the same kind of toys. That simple fact motivated the creation of this project. It is gratifying that in addition to making it happen and having a good time during the process, we have been recognized by the media”, said Sofia Otero, director of the project and CEGA´s communications manager.

“Julieta in Girl’s Land” kit includes a magnifying glass, a flashlight, a field notebook, a backpack, a pencil and a jar for collecting samples, all illustrated by Florencia Olivos with the children’s character “Julieta”. All the instruments were designed to promote girls’ interest for science from an early age.

“I think this project is important because there is practically no Chilean material that feeds the curiosity about the environment in girls. As we do not promote this curiosity either at school or during play, it is difficult that girls see science as a real option for their future”, said Nélida Pohl, scientific adviser of the project and the 6 Senses Program of the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB)

During one year 800 kits were made. All the sets were distributed through an online draw for girls from Metropolitan and Biobío Region. Also, some sets were delivered directly to two vulnerable schools of the same regions.

To win one of the sets, girls had to send a question about plants, animals, mountains or climate of Chile. A team of researchers and students answered all the questions, replying to all participants, and afterwards a random draw with all participants was carried out.

Can mountains grow more? Why clouds float if water is heavier than air? Were some of the questions sent by girls that caught the attention of the team.

“These questions made me think about all the research potential that we lose when, after adolescence, science and research are no longer attractive for girls. And it also made me think in all the questions that I asked myself while I was a girl that used to explore the clouds”, says Laura Gallardo, (CR) 2 director and participant of the project.

Although “Julieta in Girl’s Land” finished its execution last September, it is expected to continue due to its excellent reception among students and the educational community.

See more: http://www.julietaexploradora.cl/