Magiphy, How to engage high school students in Physics ?

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N. Lebrun, J. Cosleou, P. Cacciani, D. Droz, M.J. Gama, O. Caltun
University Lille 1 Sciences and Technology, France, Magiphy, France Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania
Forum 2014 Helsinki
WG1 : Inspiring the young

Magiphy (Magic Physics) engages secondary-school students doing physics in an extracurricular

environment. Students develop a project during 6 months with help of their

teachers and researchers from the university. The aim of this school-university cooperation

is to motivate students doing physics by playing the role of a scientist. A

regional country-wide (north area of France) tournament is then organised at the end

of the school year where students communicate about their scientific experiments and

results to a jury composed of scientists. Magiphy differs from similar tournament by the

presence of representatives of student teams in the jury. Moreover, winners of the tournament

(named ambassadors) present their project to some schools and science events.

The first Magiphy tournament with 5 participating teams took place at the university

Lille 1 in 2002. Because of very positive feedback, Magiphy was held annually until

2013 and was extended to Belgium via a European project (Science and Society Programme).

Magiphy was also implement in Romania (University of Iasi). Observers

from Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria and Romania assessed Magiphy. They notice the enthusiasm

with which the students present their work and the interest they demonstrate. This

concept allows students to develop a real scientific method, recurring to experiments,

observing critically the data obtained and interlinking different issues, develop on the

students a real methodology which will be certainly useful for their lives, since they

learn to be logic, rigorous and critic.

Recently, the concept was extended to other science domains and the tournament has

been integrated in the French science competition“Faites de la Science” supported by

the national committee of heads of science departments in French universities. The winners

of the regional tournament then participate to this national competition. In 2014,

more than 15 teams (of 6 pupils in average) applied to the regional contest.