UV radiation and Vitamin D3

Scientists from Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences propose studies on Vitamin D3 gain thanks to ultraviolet radiation, as an idea of pilot of Citizen Science actions to be run at Schools from September, 2019.

If you would like to know whether it is possible to gain adequate dose of vitamin D3 thantks to UV radiation during the time spend outdoors, for example during field trips with your pupils, you definitely should consider taking part in this initiative!

The idea is to let pupils measure UV radiation and calculate vitamin D3 doses gain, using formulas provided by scientists. Pupils can also calculate the risk of sunburn and determine ‘safe’ duration of sun-tanning, taking into account their individual skin phototype. The research will rely on UV measurements and observation of skin area exposed to sun (depending on clothing). UV meters will be provided and pupils will be properly trained beforehand. The measurements can be taken during field campaigns, e.g. field trip with class, from 10 am to 2 pm.

The output can be very useful for outdoors activities, participants can gain valuable information about positive and negative effects of sun-tanning.

Stay tuned for more information!

Composition of two photos: one taken with the ultraviolet camera and the second one in the visible light, where you can see changes caused by the Sun (photoaging).

Environmental photography for further analysis of dynamic processes in the river systems

Another initiative proposed within the BRITEC project is the use of Environmental photography for further analysis of dynamic processes in the river systems. This topic will be implemented in selected schools from September 2019. To participate in this initiative, we invite schools that are located near the river, or those that will be able to walk there.

The aim of this initiative is to monitor the changes in erosion of river bank. Pupils will be involved in monitoring of river banks in specific location. They will provide data for further analysis of changes using remote sensing methods. For that purpose, they will be taking photographs. Training on how to take specific photographs will be provided beforehand. The frequency of observation will depend on hydrological conditions of the specific place of observation.

Thanks to this initiative pupils will gain the knowledge about basis of remote sensing technics used in acquisition of data. The project will show them how commonly used electronic devices may give valuable information about the environment.

Stay tuned for more information!



Studies of pollution particles in dust probes taken from the road surfaces in the city

Citizen Science highlights the need for strengthening dialogue between researchers and schools and thus make possible the successful introduction of citizen science in schools.

Scientists from Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences propose Studies of pollution particles in dust probes taken from the road surfaces in the city, as an idea of pilot of Citizen Science actions to be run at Schools from September, 2019.

Moving vehicles are a source of air pollution in cities caused by burning fuel. These pollutions are included in the so-called exhaust emissions mainly containing organic compounds, carbon blacks, etc. Moving vehicles are also the source of so-called non-exhaust emission, which are solid particles resulting from abrasion of brake blocks and discs, road surface, car tires and engine parts. The particles produced in both types of emissions usually fall to the street surface creating road dust. The more cars moves on the street, the more dust particles are created and can enter the air. Air polluted by moving cars can cause negative health effects (diseases) for pedestrians, cyclists and runners moving along heavy traffic roads. The aim of this project will be to examine how many pollution particles are generated by cars passing moving on the streets.

The goal of this pilot initiative is to measure how many pollution is in the dust sample taken from the street surface. A device called magnetic kappabridge will be used for measurements. This device also measures magnetic susceptibility – a physical quantity that is proportional to the amount of particles emitted by moving vehicles in non-exhaust emissions. The high value of magnetic susceptibility will point to very polluted air along the road and the fact that moving/walking along this road can be dangerous for people. However, when magnetic susceptibility will be of low value, it could be concluded that moving/walking along such a path, people are less exposed to pollution and disease.

It is planned that pupils will choose several places to collect road dust. These may be streets with heavy traffic, or those along which they usually go to school. The dust will be swept with a brush and scoop from the surface of approximately 1m2 of the road directly at the curb of the road or if the road is very busy from the pavement/sidewalk. One sample should contain about 0.2-0.3 kg of dust. The dust will be placed in a plastic bag. To each sampling site of dust students will fill in a questionnaire with date of dust collection, street name and geographical location. Pupils will attach photos (in electronic form) from the place of dust collection, which will document traffic on the street and the immediate surroundings. Geographical location (GPS data) and photos will be taken by the students with the use of smartphones. Scientists suggest that from a given place the dust should be collected three times in an interval of about 2 weeks. It is important not to collect the dust directly after heavy rainfall.

Participants will prepare samples for measurement in the laboratory. This will involve sieving the dust through a sieve, placing dust in a plastic box and determining its mass. Then, for each sample, pupils will determine magnetic susceptibility of samples. On the basis of the susceptibility values ​​received for different samples, they will be able to conclude how much polluted air is on the road from which the dust was taken. In the end, participants will get information on the quality of environment they live in.

Stay tuned for more information!


Photo of dust particle from scanning electron microscope.

Photo taken as a result of the grant No 2013/09/B/ST10/02780 by National Science Centre in Poland.


SDW19 banner

STEM Discovery Week 2019 is a joint international initiative that invites projects, organisations and schools across Europe and around the world, to celebrate careers and studies in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The tagline for this year’s campaign is “best practices in using innovative STEM resources”. The primary focus of this year’s campaign, is to showcase how teaching materials and other learning resources are used in educational activities.

Interested to become a partner?

By committing to the STEM Discovery Week 2019, the partners agree to:

  • Organise and share information about activities or actions in STEM education as part of the STEM Discovery Week campaign.
  • Encourage third parties to support and join the initiative by organising STEM activities or actions of their own and share information about them as part of the STEM Discovery Week campaign.
  • Publish on their web page informationin support of the STEM Discovery Week campaign, hence facilitating an active exchange of information among projects, organisations and schools.

For more information on the registration steps that potential partners need to follow, please consult this document here.

Are you organising a STEM activity around April 2019?

Include it on the map! Participants organising STEM activities and actions from 1 February to 30 April 2019 may also enter the STEM Discovery Week competitions. Visit the competitions’ section on the Scientix online portal for more information here.

STEM Discovery Week activities’ map

Kick-off meeting in Warsaw, Poland

BRITEC Project officially started!

The first meeting of a new European project coordinated by the Institute of Geophysics PAS was held on November 26, 2018 at IG PAS headquarters. Represenatives of 5 partner institutions from Belgium, Greece, Spain and Poland gathered to discuss crucial issues regarding project management and implementation.

The BRITEC project proposes introducing research into classrooms through Citizen Science activities, co-designed between schools and research institutions, initially in the partner countries and with the long-term view of massive uptake in Europe and beyond.

Citizen Science is a relatively new way of conducting scientific research, by enlisting the support of ordinary citizens into the collection and interpretation of large amounts of data. BRITEC proposes introducing the Citizen Science (CS) approach in schools as a way of bringing research into the classroom.

The project will build a community of schools and researchers which will co-design and pilot a set of citizen science activities in schools and feed their results into the development of a toolkit for teachers for successfully bringing research into the classroom and a Massive Open Online Course which will put particular emphasis on contextualizing STEM teaching by engaging pupils in CS activities.

Stay tuned!

BRITEC Team, photo: A. Wielgopolan