PERFORM project engages young people in STEM

Photo: Marco Giugliarelli
Classrooms are revamped to empower students in taking the lead in their own learning

Over the past few weeks you’ve been able to see the PERFORM project at the EC Open Doors Day and the 2017 edition of the UOC Research Showcase, and we got a glance of it at the “How to Communicate the Sciences?” event.

PERFORM strives to engage young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by revamping how classrooms are organized, empowering students to take the lead in their own learning. It makes learning a full-body experience, appealing to the students’ interests, sensibilities and emotional approaches to learning and course materials through humour. At the UOC Research Showcase 2017, Karla Berrens made a case for PERFORM’s research aims and methods by sharing her own experience in a maths class, studying spheres with a two-dimensional blackboard drawing. Have a look at the full presentation here:

Working within the EU framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

PERFORM is a European research project funded within the Horizon 2020 programme and coordinated by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). The project consortium comprises 10 partners with case studies in France, Spain and the UK. In its efforts to promote the idea of humanising science, PERFORM designs and implements a mixed methodology in order to enhance the RRI dimension of STEM curricula. The project focuses on how teaching can foster student motivation and increase the likelihood of girls and students from deprived backgrounds pursuing STEM-related careers. Therefore, a double protocol has been designed for the project, with students at its heart. The first part involves revisiting STEM topics from a performing arts perspective. The second involves constant evaluation and feedback on the project’s progress and implementation, aimed at maximising the overall impact and chance of effecting real change.

Action-based research

In the PERFORM project, research is conducted through action. The project investigates how direct interaction and communication between young people and researchers impacts on the promotion of young people’s engagement in STEM. This is precisely the project’s aim, and it does so by bringing performing arts into the classroom. The project wants to affect across the board all actors involved in how STEM curricula are taught in schools, from students and teachers to policy makers.

Karla Berrens’ captivating talk won the jury award for best presentation at the UOC Research Showcase 2017. Have a look at Karla`s comments on winning the jury award and her advice on how to engage your audience.