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Lil'Scientist: children learn to discover the scientist within themselves

Collaborate with the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Children are naturally little scientists. Yet not all children think science is for them. This is especially true for children who rarely come into contact with science and who are barely reached by existing forms of science communication. The Lil'Scientist program changes this. In this program, scientists and children jointly develop lessons for groups 7 and 8 of primary school, with assignments from, for example, psychology, oceanography and computer science.

The Lil'Scientist lessons will be used within IMC Weekend School next year and will be made available free of charge to schools throughout the Netherlands in the future.

Remove the stereotypical image of the old man in the lab coat

Researcher Eddie Brummelman: 'The students at the weekend school love doing science. When they think of science, they quickly think of an old white man in a lab coat. But when they discover that they can do science themselves, this stereotypical image changes. Moreover, Lil'Scientist appeals to children's curiosity, perseverance and creativity. In this way, children become real scientists.'

Copyright: ja
The Lil'Scientist lessons will be made available free of charge to schools throughout the Netherlands in the future

Official curriculum that is publicly available

Brummelman and his colleagues develop the lessons in collaboration with the IMC Weekend School and their students. 'As soon as a lesson is running satisfactorily, we turn it into an official lesson package, which we then make publicly available. This way, all teachers in the Netherlands can use it. However, our lessons are not only used in primary schools.
They are also used in science museums, for example in the Discovery Museum, where the teaching package “Who is the scientist?” is used to make stereotypical images of scientists discussable with children and their parents.'

Children are doing real science for the first time

'Lil'Scientist is an incredibly valuable program, because children are doing real science for the first time. We don't put a scientist in a toga in front of the class to explain how science works. We come in our jeans and put the children to work: they do the science while we look over their shoulders. And children are great scientists - they are curious, never give up and think out-of-the-box, real little scientists.'

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