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Biology, Education, Research

Stepping into a researcher’s shoes

How to encourage new scientific vocations among the youngest, and fight against gender bias?

Published on : February 14, 2018

Real success of the operation "Wearing the lab coat of a researcher" organized on February 8, 2018, by the Biology Department of the ENS Lyon who welcomed 120 seven years old kids for some biology experiments.

During this day, our budding scientists were confronted with concrete biology questions in a research environment.This visit was prepared by work in class on the scientific approach (finding what’s in “mysterious boxes”) and on demystifying of the image of the scientist (young women also can be scientists!).

The children made 4 experiments corresponding to as many fields of biology: 1. "life cycles" to understand the concept of development, and to observe embryos under binocular lenses; 2. "But what are these long paws for?" where, from the observation of the gerris (commonly called water spiders), the children have learned to make hypotheses and to put them into practice; 3. "Insect identikits": the children classified insects, pointed characteristics common to each group, and made prototypes out of modeling clay; 4. "Microbes are (also) our friends", from a microbiota harvested from everyday objects, children learnt how to adopt hygiene reflexes and also understood that not all bacteria are dangerous.

ENS de Lyon onganization:

The day at the ENS is a highlight in a sequence that is prepared throughout the year in consultation with teachers. Work on gender bias is initiated in the classroom and will be continued by scientific interventions (DMesures). In parallel with workshops at ENS, children visit the confluence museum.

  • Marie Sémon (Comparative and Integrative Genomics of Organ Development, LBMC / ENS de Lyon)
  • Correspondents école élémentaire d’application Aveyron, 69001 Lyon: Virginie Fourtoy et Julien Richard (CE1 teachers)
  • Correspondent école élémentaire Jean Macé, 69008, Lyon: Sarah Caro (CE1 teacher)

Thanks to Alicia Treppoz-Vielle for the connexion with the Musée des Confluences, and a big thank you to the whole staff of the biology department who strove for this project, the teams of the Laboratory of Biology and Modeling of the Cell (LBMC), the Lyon Institute of Functional Genomics (IGFL) and the DéMesures association.

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