News: Female models in research and innovation for elementary school students
- The Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) offers a new edition of the Mutant plants workshop for 5th and 6th grade elementary school students.
- At the doors of the International Women's Day, the workshop approaches science from a gender perspective and introduces real female scientific references.
Bellaterra, March 6, 2019
From February 28 to March 7, the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics () has once again offered the experimental workshop Mutant plants to more than 150 schoolchildren aged 10 to 12 from nearby schools. During these six days, students have explored plant science and the way it is done. The workshop, designed with the support ofthe Centre for Research in Scientific and Mathematical Education ( ), keeps gender issues in mind, and wants to give girls the opportunity to meet female CRAG researchers in person, presenting current female scientific models.
With the International Women’s Day (8 March) just around the corner, the CRAG, through the Mutant plants workshop, keeps promoting STEM disciplines as an option for girls. At early ages, interests and vocations are not yet set in stone and first-hand experiences help shape them, so the schoolchildren to whom this activity is addressed are a fitting audience to discuss the concepts of gender parity and equality of opportunities.
In the workshop, students have to solve a challenge posed by ICREA research professors at CRAG, Soraya Pelaz and Jaume Martínez. To do it, children have to work like real scientists, observing carefully, elaborating hypotheses and reaching consensus conclusions. Thus, the workshop provides a real research experience that empowers students, who become aware of their abilities for scientific activity. This fact is especially relevantamong girls because, according to recent studies, from the age of six girls are more likely than boys to avoid those activities for which a high level of intelligence is supposedly needed.
In the Mutant plants workshop, Soraya Pelaz becomes a female scientific reference, an ambassador who encourages girls to see that women also have a place in the science and research worlds.
About the financing of the project
The Mutant plants project has been funded by the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FCT-17-12034) and by the Programa Severo Ochoa de Centros de Excelencia en R&D 2016-2019 (SEV-2015-0533), both granted by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.