New video: a tour of the MULTIPLIERS Open Science Communities
Watch our new video to get an impression of our first year of activities!
Watch our new video to get an impression of our first year of activities!
As more germs like bacteria and fungi develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them, we are faced with increased antimicrobial resistance (AMR): an issue that is not only considered today’s “silent pandemic” but also a “wicked problem”.
In Cyprus, our Open Science Community (OSC) is experimenting with different teaching methods to increase societal awareness about AMR, a topic of high social complexity and of difficult resolution. Many biological and social factors play a role in increasing AMR, such as the behaviour of bacteria, the overuse and overprescription of antibiotics by individuals, and decisions taken by governments and multinational corporations.
To explore the different facets of the topic and present them to the wider public, a group of five students from the Junior and Senior School in our OSC participated in the sCYence fair, the largest Science Festival in Cyprus. After being introduced to the topic and interacting with experts at the biobank.cy molecular medicine center last year, the students went through an internal competition and were selected by a jury of science teachers to participate in the fair. There, they presented their work in the form of a 3-minute role-play representing different stakeholders debating on the question: “Should we ban the use of antibiotics for the treatment of flu?”. They represented a doctor, a scientist, a policymaker, a farmer, and a patient. Each representative argued on the topic above presenting their claims, reasoning, and available evidence.
After the role-play, the students wrapped up with concluding remarks about the use of antibiotics and explained how they worked with their teachers, the biobank.cy experts and University of Cyprus researchers to develop their school projects on antimicrobial resistance (e.g., posters, modelling-based activities, role-play, flyers).
A total of 66 groups of students, aged 9 to 18, from 49 schools in Cyprus participated in the sCYence fair attended by the MULTIPLIERS students. The fair was the first of a series of upcoming activities where our students will act as “knowledge multipliers” to develop their science communication skills and pass on to society what they have learned on social-scientific dilemmas as part of the project.
More information about the fair is available on the event website and Facebook account.
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The first round of MULTIPLIERS in Germany is dedicated to the topic of vaccination, with a focus on HPV and Covid-19, as well the immunological and ethical aspects of the vaccines. But raising awareness about the infection and promoting science learning are not the only goals of the project. Through visits to authentic settings and contact with experts, MULTIPLIERS is opening students’ perspectives to careers in science.
In January 2023, students from the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Gymnasium in the city of Bonn were invited by the ImmunoSensation2 research group to visit scientists in their labs at the German Center of Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the Life & Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES) and the Institute of Innate Immunity (III). Among other activities, they were shown how to distinguish virus strains using the PCR method and how to transfect cells with DNA plasmids. The event was accompanied by lectures on immunological topics around vaccination and a visit to the University of Bonn’s Center for Life Ethics.
“Conducting scientific activities in a setting like this, in a real-life lab, with real scientists, students get a very authentic insight into how science works. We hope that throughout the project, we can open up students perspective also to new jobs and future professional careers that they might find interesting, and to increase their interest in science.”Jana Schilbert, Department of Biology Education, University of Bonn
“What I love about this project is that students have the possibility, one that they rarely get in school, to get to know scientists and their work environment. So they can think about a career as a scientists, for example, and find out what they need to become scientists.”Corinna Schwarz, Department of Biology Education, University of Bonn
Take a look at the video below to discover what the students experienced in the labs!
Banner photo credit: Rolf Müller / Universitätsklinikum Bonn
Video credit: David Fußhöller / Universitätsklinikum Bonn
Almost 70% of Sweden is covered by forests, making the topic of “Forest use vs Forest protection” of great importance and personal relevance to most people in the country, young as well as old. During Autumn 2022, two secondary school classes in the city of Örnsköldsvik, in Northern Sweden, took a deep dive into various forest-related local and global issues.
The basis for the learning activities was the teaching material Skogslabbet (Forest Lab), developed by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in collaboration with local teachers. Both SLU and the teachers are partners in the MULTIPLIERS Open Science Community (OSC) in Sweden. Further, activities developed by Umeå University and the OSC partners were added.
The modules in Forest Lab focus on sustainable development, climate, biological diversity, and the topics “forest as a circular resource” and “humans and the forest”. With this broad approach, Forest Lab relates to general aspects of the Swedish national curriculum as well as particular content of the Biology and Science Studies courses. The MULTIPLIERS OSC in Sweden was part of the work throughout the modules. Here, we share our experience with the teaching and learning activities, focusing on three valuable components: interviews on people’s relationship to forests, a roleplay mirroring current societal debates around forests, and an investigation of how the topic is portrayed by the media.
Interviews with three generations
As one of the introductory activities, students interviewed people from three generations about their individual historical relationship to forests under the theme “What do three different generations know about forests?”. Students were asked to find out from parents, grandparents or other people from older generations how their current relationship with the forest is and what they use the forest for. Most importantly, they were asked to find out how the people they interviewed think forest use has changed throughout their lifetime.
Forest debate, a roleplay on “Forest use vs Forest protection”
To practice scientific argumentation while learning more about the current societal debate on forests, a roleplay activity from Forest Lab was introduced. The teacher divided each class into six actor groups: private forest owners, forest companies, the general public, environmental organisations, indigenous Sami communities and public authorities. Within each group, every student rolled a dice to get a personality in terms of age, gender, role in the actor group and personal traits. After that, students had time to prepare their characters. The debate took place in the classroom and involved three issues/case studies:
After adopting roles and joining actor groups in all three case studies, students were happy to share their experiences and ideas. About the science learning, students said: “Generally it was a good possibility to discuss what we thought about forest use” and “We learnt things when we did the research”. About the debate, students thought that “In the beginning, I was focused on what my character thinks but towards the end, I reflected on what I believe myself” and “I am not like that in reality, this was acting”. Also, students wished for more debate around some of the questions. For example, they suggested rephrasing the questions to elicit more varied opinions and arguments among the actor groups.
After future development of the activity, we hope to give the MULTIPLIERS Open Science Community (OSC) a more central role in interacting with students to define roles in the actor groups and personal traits of the characters.
Meeting a journalist and analysing newspaper articles
To develop skills in critical thinking, Ulrika Nohlgren, a journalist from the local newspaper Norran and a partner in our OSC, met the students with the aim to show how journalists work (and don’t work) and highlight core aspects of their profession. In preparation, students read a recent newspaper article titled “Forest companies cut down forests younger than regulations allow”. Based on the article, they wrote a short reflection on whether they found the article balanced (or unbalanced) in relation to the perspective of different stakeholders and the issue of “Forest use vs Forest protection”.
Discussions that followed focused on what “balanced” means and what is behind what we read in newspapers compared to, for example, social media. This highlighted the importance of developing media education skills and knowledge in relation to all societal and environmental challenges, which helps to make science more meaningful and relevant to everyday life.
Taken together, the activities enabled the students to practice critical thinking and argumentation as well as learn more about historical and current views of “Forest use and forest protection” by interacting with families, experts and the media.
We might often think about the environmental impact of our consumption choices – but have you ever considered the repercussions of your water use and water drinking habits? Water is the most basic item to human survival, yet discussing the sustainability of water and sanitation systems isn’t always a priority in science classes and schools.
To increase students’ scientific understanding of water management and its historic uses, our partner Iren, through its educational division Eduiren and in cooperation with the Italian upper secondary school Blaise Pascal, is engaging schools and communities in a set of interdisciplinary open schooling activities. Read on and be inspired by their teaching and learning journey!
Water management and the chemical parameters of water
The chemistry teachers of the Blaise Pascal school introduced the topic of water quality to 52 4th-grade students (17-18 years old) in March 2022, proposing an activity to analyse the hardness of the water distributed in the Reggio Emilia province.
This was followed by the debate “Tap Water vs Bottled Water” in April, organized by the school with Eduiren experts, including a discussion and brainstorming on the quality aspects of different types of water and the environmental impact of our consumption habits. A technical visit to the local water supply system reservoir and water tower followed, giving students insight into real-world water supply facilities and integrated water management processes.
Students were then involved in the authentic learning group task “Your home/school water”, including the evaluation of a water analysis certificate, with assessment and critical considerations on the characteristics of specific tap waters (hardness, pH, nitrogenous compounds). An online presentation was held on the task results with the support of experts from the Iren analytical laboratory. On the same day, the experts assisted the students in analysing nitrogenous compounds in wastewater samples, using spectrophotometric methods to measure the concentration of chemicals in wastewater. In sequence, a visit to the laboratory at Iren premises took place in May.
At the end of April, a presentation on sewage networks and treatment systems, with a focus on the recovery and reuse of discharge water and sludge, was made by Iren technicians during a visit to the Mancasale wastewater treatment plants.
These activities prepared the ground for a water blind tasting session with students and their families. The aim was to work out their views on water quality and discuss water drinking patterns. Perceptions at the tasting experience were compared to the results of analytical tests on several types of drinking water, allowing participants to debunk myths and fake news regarding water quality and taste. The activity showed that many beliefs are related to preconceived ideas rather than to actual experiences or product characteristics.
At the end of the school year, four students were selected for two-week placements which took place at the Iren analytical laboratory, allowing them to acquire practical knowledge and skills on water management.
Il Mondo dell’Acqua (The Water World) – Project 2.0
Taking students’ knowledge further, a new Teaching and Learning Sequence (TLS) has been designed on the basis of the training path carried out in the previous school year. The new TLS is addressed to 42 4th-grade students of the Blaise Pascal Applied Science upper secondary school.
In November, the now 5th-graders made a presentation of the activities developed and the knowledge acquired in the project to 4th-graders. After an assessment of the experience made in Spring, the latter organised a water blind tasting in December within an “Open Schools” event, collecting data on water perception and knowledge from 150 lower secondary school students and parents. A third blind tasting session is scheduled for January 2023.
Between November 2022 and January 2023, in cooperation of Eduiren, all the steps of the training project have been “upgraded” to reflect learnings from the first learning phase and scheduled for further implementation.
An ancient water system from the Middle Ages
To complement their learnings with interdisciplinary knowledge, the students have undertaken a history research project on the Secchia Channel (Canale di Secchia) of the Reggio Emilia area. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the channel was the first water system in town: it provided water for domestic use and irrigation, collected urban sewage from homes and factories, operated mill wheels serving millstones, textile workshops and other craft and proto-industrial facilities. The project was also important to raise awareness of the impact of technological progress on everyday life and on health and hygiene improvements brought about by the advent of drinking and wastewater treatment processes.
Italian and art history teachers divided the students into groups, engaged in different assignments. Beginning in November, they studied ancient maps of the channel (from the 17th to the 19th century), and collected information on the channel’s path, water uses and different locations. They also took pictures of statues, historical artefacts and sections of the channel, comparing ancient charts with maps of the modern distribution and sewage networks.
The next step, scheduled for January 2023, is to visit the State Archives of Reggio Emilia to complete the study and collect documentation on the “Botte Meravigliosa”, a barrel-vault section of the Secchia Channel, which will be the subject of an exhibition.
What does the school of the future look like? The times when students were considered mere recipients of information are over. Still, schools haven’t fully transitioned yet into a model that strongly encourages student participation, agency and self-efficacy, preparing pupils to tackle real-world challenges. With a focus on science education and sustainability dilemmas, the MULTIPLIERS Horizon 2020 project is addressing that gap. Through its Open Science Communities in six EU countries, MULTIPLIERS is connecting school science to real life, empowering pupils to act as knowledge multipliers across society, and developing students’ scientific argumentation and critical thinking skills.
Join our first dissemination event, organised in partnership with the Open Schooling Together initiative, to:
Date and time: 18 November 2022, 9:30 AM CET
|9:30 – 10:00||Introduction to the MULTIPLIERS project: students as knowledge multipliers|
|10:00 – 11:00||Key lecture: The role of argumentation in open-school science learning projects. Prof. Shirley Simon, Institute of Education, University College London|
|11:00 – 13:00||Interactive session on practical Open Schooling methods and tools 3 breakout rooms on 6 socio-scientific issues: Forest use vs. forest protection & Biodiversity and ecosystem services; Vaccination & Anti-microbial resistance; and Air pollution & Water and sanitation|
The Multipliers project has recently become a member of the Open Schooling Together initiative (OS Together), a joint collaboration between 11 European projects to spread the word about how schools, local communities, policy-makers, museums, science centres and other local stakeholders can rethink learning boundaries.
The group brings together the CONNECT, COSMOS, Make it Open, MOST, Open Science Hub, PAPSE, PHERECLOS, PULCHRA, SALL and SEAS projects, representing a rich variety of approaches to Open Schooling. Although each project has its particular focus, all share the common objective of involving local communities in teaching and learning processes, thereby creating local agents of innovation, fostering social transformation and contributing to community development.
Apart from a series of Innovation Sessions to promote exchange on different Open Schooling tools and methodologies, the group collaborates on a range of communication channels, such as a joint newsletter and social media accounts. Learn more here about the latest Inspiration Session on Evaluation approaches for measuring the impact of open schooling, where Multipliers presented its evaluation methodology, tools, and strategies. To receive updates from the initiative, follow OS Together on Twitter and subscribe to the OS Together newsletter.
Other Open Schooling initiatives can join the group by emailing .
From 9 to 12 June, the European Commission organises for the first time a Festival dedicated to the New European Bauhaus (NEB). Designed around three pillars, Forum, Fair and Fest and based physically in Brussels, at Gare Maritime & Mont des Arts, but equally around Europe and online, the Festival of the New European Bauhaus will bring together people from all walks of life to explore, debate and shape a beautiful, sustainable and inclusive future.
MULTIPLIERS will be represented at the Festival Fair by our project partner University of Ljubljana, who will engage festival-goers in science experiments linking science, sustainability and art. The Fair is co-created: out of the 316 applications received, 100 projects were selected to be displayed at NEB both on fixed and innovative mobile supports (from e-bikes to electrical tuk-tuks) scattered across the city centre.
Based on the original Bauhaus movement ideals – to revolutionise the relationships between different disciplines – but upgrading it to the challenges of the 21st century, the New European Bauhaus is, in the words of the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a “new cultural project for Europe”. After this first pilot edition, the festival should travel in the years to come to other European cities to spread awareness of the movement to all the corners of the Union.
9, 10, 11 June 2022
09:00 AM to 07:00 PM