My experience at the Scientific Campus
During the summer months of June and July, the Ministry of Education organises every year a Scientific Campus. It consists of a week summer camp in different universities in Spain where the students develop a series of scientific activities and investigations related to a specific project they have previously chosen. The participants can opt among four turns, each of them with thirty scholars.
This initiative is aimed at students who have done 4th ESO or 1st Baccalaureate and who are interested in studying any branch of science in the future. To participate, this year we had to send our grade certificates from last year and choose a project to work on in any of the universities which take part. Those with the highest scores were selected to participate and assigned a university and project taking into account their preferences.
For myself, I chose a project in the University of Las Palmas of Gran Canaria, my hometown, that consisted of studying every aspect of the lives of the marine mammals in the Canary Islands.
During the week I spent at the campus, we had a very tight schedule, combining both practical and theoretical scientific activities with games and excursions. Some activities in the programme included watching dolphins in Puerto Rico, going to the beach, learning how to identify different species of marine mammals, the different techniques that are available to study or how to act when you encounter a cetacean stranded on the shore.
As an additional activity, my group had the opportunity to experience the realisation of a necropsy, due to the stranding of a bottlenose dolphin in a nearby beach. We had already learned the theory of how to proceed in these situations in class, and so, it was really instructive to be able to see it live (although I cannot say that the smell was particularly stimulating).
Twenty five of the thirty students that attended the campus were from different regions in the mainland, which made the coexistence much more interesting, as we were eager to learn about traditions or ways of life that differ from those here, although at first sight they may seem very similar.
Of course, not everything was perfect. We had some problems with the accommodation and the food offered at the residence (e.g. the lights did not work in our corridor, the window blinds were broken and the milk didnÕt really taste like milk), but I believe that those were minor circumstances if we take into account the whole experience.
I would strongly recommend those teenagers who are interested in learning more about science to participate in this project, because it is an enjoyable way of meeting new people who potentially have the same interests as you and to cooperate with them in order to broaden your mind in relation to what the true meaning of being a scientific is.
For more information, you can enter the web page www.campuscientificos.es
By Raquel Alem‡n Cruz (15)
Las Palmas of Gran Canaria
Editors Comment :
Today the access to practical work for students is essential, as Raquel has explained in this very interesting Article it proves a great experience for them and helps them receive a better understanding of the world that surrounds them and it also prepares them for future experiences, this added to the possibility of sharing this experience with students from different parts of the country makes it a very good way of spending the long summer hours.
Keith Appleby (Chief Editor)
The Canary Express