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Geoscience Communication An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 09 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Geoscience Communication (GC).

Education and public engagement using an active research project: lessons and recipes from the SEA-SEIS North Atlantic Expedition's programme for Irish schools

Sergei Lebedev1, Raffaele Bonadio1, Clara Gómez-Garcia1, Janneke de Laat1, Laura Bérdi1, Bruna Chagas de Melo1, Daniel Farrell2, David Stalling3, Céline Tirel4, Louise Collins1, Sadhbh McCarthy1, Brendan O'Donoghue5, Arne Schwenk6, Mick Smyth1, Christopher J. Bean1, and the SEA-SEIS team1 Sergei Lebedev et al.
  • 1Geophysics Section, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, D2, Ireland
  • 2Coast Monkey,
  • 3Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland
  • 4Lycée Français d'Irlande, Dublin, D14, Ireland
  • 5St Columba's College, Stranorlar, Co. Donegal, Ireland
  • 6K.U.M., Umwelt- und Meerestechnik Kiel GmbH, Kiel, 24148, Germany

Abstract. An exciting research project, for example with an unusual field component, presents a unique opportunity for Education and Public Engagement (EPE). The adventure aspect of the fieldwork and the drive and creativity of the researchers can combine to produce effective, novel EPE approaches. Engagement with schools, in particular, can have a profound impact, showing the students how science works in practice, encouraging them to study science, and broadening their career perspectives. The project SEA-SEIS (Structure, Evolution and Seismicity of the Irish Offshore, kicked off in 2018 with a 3-week expedition on the Research Vessel (RV) Celtic Explorer in the North Atlantic. Secondary and primary school students were invited to participate and help scientists in the research project, which got them enthusiastically engaged. In a nation-wide competition before the expedition, schools from across Ireland gave names to each of the seismometers. During the expedition, teachers were invited to sign up for live, ship-to-class video link-ups, and 18 of these were conducted. The follow-up survey showed that the engagement was not only exciting but had a lasting impact, increasing the students' interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and STEM-related careers. With most of the lead presenting scientists on the ship being female, both girls and boys in the classrooms were presented with engaging role models. After the expedition, the programme continued with follow-up, geoscience-themed competitions (a song-and-rap one for secondary and a drawing one for primary schools). Many of the programme's best ideas came from teachers, who were its key co-creators. The activities were developed by a diverse team including scientists and engineers, teachers, a journalist and a sound artist. The programme's success in engaging and inspiring school students illustrates the EPE potential of active research projects. The programme's outcomes include both an increase in the students' interest in STEM and STEM careers and an increase in the researchers' interest and proficiency in EPE.

Sergei Lebedev et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Sergei Lebedev et al.
Video supplement

2018 SEA SEIS Expedition – Meet the Team Sergei Lebedev

SEA-SEIS in the Storm Raffaele Bonadio

SEA-SEIS Art 2018 Raffaele Bonadio

Sergei Lebedev et al.
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Short summary
Research projects with exciting field components present unique public-engagement opportunities. In this case study, we draw lessons and recipes from our educational programme with schools, coupled with a research project and aimed at showing students how science works. Co-creation with scientists gets the students enthusiastically engaged. The outcomes include students getting more interested in science and science careers and researchers getting experience in education and public engagement.
Research projects with exciting field components present unique public-engagement opportunities....