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Bridging the gap

Students are working with researchers to help make science journals accessible for younger audiences

MYP students and educators from The KAUST School

Children and scientists around the world are teaming up to turn complicated science discoveries into exciting articles, suitable for young people.

The Frontiers for Young Minds  journal encourages research scientists to rewrite and submit their published articles to students (aged between 8-15) for review. Students provide feedback – with the assistance of a science mentor – helping authors improve their articles before publication in the journal.

Researchers from the Red Sea Research Centre at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) are working alongside Middle Years Programme (MYP) students from The KAUST School, in Saudi Arabia. Together, they have published two papers online and are working on a third.

Head of Science Emma Nason says: “Students have grown in science literacy and , confidence. Their understanding of the global significance of the science is remarkable”.

“Students are able to develop and grow in so many areas,” she adds. “The IB learner profile attribute that has been most stretched has been that of ‘communicator’. The students have to read academic papers, listen to research scientists as they explain various concepts, digest difficult graphs and tables, process the information and then have to be able to re-explain the details in a more ‘easy to manage’ language.

“They most definitely grow in being knowledgeable as they gain a deep understanding of topics related to Red Sea ecology. The students have certainly also grown as inquirers, as they explore new topics and ask questions that are pertinent to this topic.”

The KAUST School is situated in a compound that houses the state-of-the-art university, too. The school joined Frontiers for Young Minds last year after KAUST’s PhD student Rúben Costa and Adjunct Associate Professor Christian Voolstra introduced the initiative in the community to bridge the gap between school and higher education.

MYP student Savana says: “This enjoyable experience was not only helpful for the young minds that are intrigued or fascinated by science, but for me as well. I learned a lot doing this activity. We used lots of new skills in the writing process, which ultimately developed our cooperation and collaboration when dealing with re-writing tricky science papers.”

It is estimated that around 2,000 children across the world are involved with the journal.

Nason hopes to work with local Arabic-speaking schools within Saudi Arabia and host joint review sessions.

“We would like to perform translations of the articles in Arabic, so local students can develop both their English skills, but can also contribute to the scientific literacy of less internationally exposed communities,” she says.

This article is part of a series of stories from IB World magazine that bring to life the wonderful initiatives undertaken by IB students and educators from around the globe. Follow these stories on Twitter @IBorganization #IBcommunitystories. Share your great stories and experiences: email editor@ibo.org

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