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Filli Boya Science Camp / “Imagine, Research, Discover”
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Filli Boya designed an intervention program that started in 2015 and continued in 2016 in collaboration with ARB CSR Communication Agency, Tubitak (Scientific and Technological Research Council) with an academic consulting from Boğaziçi University, and Department of Children’s Services within the Directorate General of Social Policy, for young children who come from impoverished backgrounds yet manage to maintain at least average grades at middle school. One of the starting goals for the program was to counter gender discrimination and gender stereotypes that prevent young girls, and to inspire and support them to pursue degrees and careers in science and engineering.
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Objectives of The Project:
The objectives of the program are:
To provide disadvantaged female and male preadolescent students experience hands on scientific activities, experiments, and demonstrations and to introduce them with men and women scientists.
Even though the goal was originally to support young girls, both boys and girls were included in the program because of the understanding that societies can transform with boys and girls developing the understanding that science and scientific thinking is for everyone regardless of their sex. In addition, this intervention program targeted kids in middle school. Research suggests that middle school is very important for girls’ education as it is an important turning point in their life when they start losing their interest in science, as well as math. In addition, while children who come from privileged home environments, with higher parental education and income receive better support both at home and at their schools for their future education and career; children coming from less fortune homes lack such support. The children who are the targets of this intervention program are under governmental cash support program and often have structural challenges at home. As a result, these children are at a higher risk of school drop-out as well as facing mental and physical health issues. Thus it is important to note that this intervention program was designed for at risk preadolescents with potentials in order to support them and further develop their potentials, introduce them with hands-on, real scientific investigations and research programs. With this intervention program, these children were given a chance to interact with real men and women scientists coming from a range of disciplines. It is also important to note that one of the essential features of the program was to create an environment in which these children felt safe, secure and connected to be able to thrive emotionally and cognitively. For this reason, the children were provided with psychological support with daily group meetings and a psychologist on site providing one-on-one assistance.
Help the participating preadolescents develop confidence to pursue science for their future education and career with an expectation for success by offering them both cognitive and emotional support.
By allowing participating preadolescent interact with both sexes while engaging scientific experiences help them develop an understanding that science is for both sexes and gender roles are and differences are insignificant in such activities.
To assess the effectiveness of the program and the changes in the perception of scientific self-efficacy in mathematics and science and attitudes using self-report scales and interviews in the beginning and at the end of the program.
Conducting follow up interviews with the participating children and their teachers during the semester.
The most significant difference of our project is that it highlights quality over quantity. The project does not hold a two-week camp program and then leave the children alone. Our aim is to make a real difference in their lives by inviting the children to the science camp once during the summer and again during the winter break and to follow up on their academic performance and their behaviors by having interviews with their parents, teachers and the children themselves several times during the academic year.
In order to follow the participating children continuous collaboration with the Provincial Directorate of National Education is established for this project. Through their mediation, we observe the academic performance of the children and interview their families when deemed necessary.
This matrix helps these children become young science-lovers and helps them not fall into a route where they lose their self-belief, value and hope. . In a nutshell, with this intervention program, Betek Boya/ Filli Boya helps the youth develop future goals and objectives to become more active and educated citizens who contribute positively to the future of the society.
The intervention program includes thirty types of activities with different objectives, including scientific illustrations and experiments, educational games, conversations with scientists, outdoor activities, trips to various institutes, workshops as well as psychological support groups. Examples of activities are as follows:
- In the Science Detectives activity, the fun side of science was demonstrated through experiments, puzzles and activities in the atmosphere of a game.
- Alternative Energies Workshop involved providing students certain materials to generate electricity, measuring the amount of electricity with multimeters, learning and experiencing the operational principles of solar panels.
- Trips were organized to National Metrology Institute, Environment and Clean Production Institute and Energy Institute, where the students had the opportunity to talk to scientists and observe their working environments.
- They were introduced to BOREN, the one and only car running on boron.
The educational program of Filli Boya Science Camp has proved to be highly effective since 2015. Our mission is to give these children a scientific perspective, to boost their self-confidence and to make them look at the future more hopefully with the help of the Science Camps which gives the message to “Imagine, Research, Discover”.
- To help them hold on to life and be more confident of themselves and of the future
- To help them to gain self-consciousness, develop their self-confidences, and to offer social and emotional support through psychological support sessions and cohesion
- To raise awareness on equality of opportunity, skills and education between women and men
- To psychologically empower them
- Holding applied workshop activities on scientific methods in the fields of science, physics and technology
- Ensuring that the students open up a space for science and technology in their everyday lives and their future
- Discovering, supporting and developing their productive and creative sides
- Furnishing them with skills of curiosity, thought and
- Offering vision and impression for their career choices in the future
Until now 150 young girls and boys have come together with scientists and professionals from different occupational groups in this project.
- It has been observed that academic grades of participating children were improved by 22.8%.
- In the DAST (Draw-a-Scientist) Test, children were asked to draw a “Scientist” on the first and last day of the camp. At first, children drew a scientist as an old, straight-faced man wearing a white coat and in a laboratory; however, at the end of the camp, they drew the scientist as young, lively men and women, wearing shorts and hats, and working in very different environments.
- The results of the socio-sensory survey and the interviews by telephone with their parents demonstrated that peer relations were improved by 77%, and their family relations were improved by 65%.
The 2-year project will be continued in the future to bring young people into the world of science.
Filli Boya Science Camp program is innovative we choose to work with a special target group: The children chosen to participate in the science camp are those who grow up in financial and mental deprivation, living with the support of the Ministry of Family and Social Policies. Therefore, these children are in a risk group. Science camp has been designed with trainings under the subject of gender equality, being hopeful of the future, career choices and love of science to prevent these adolescent children whose confidence has not been sufficiently built from opting for a risky life.
Thus we developed an educational program tailored to their needs. These children don’t see themselves as scientists or educated professionals. That’s why we created a disciplined framework to enhance self-esteem and unlock inner potential. The camp program includes thirty types of activities with different gains, including science shows and experiments, educational games, conversations with scientists, outdoor activities, trips to various institutes, workshops as well as psychological support sessions.
Filli Boya Science Camp is the only project in Turkey that provides a holistic educational and therapeutic program to help young people re-engage with education of science. In the age group of 13-14 year-olds, 25 female and 25 male students who are fastidiously selected for every summer and winter terms participate in the camps for 1 week and come together with scientists at TUBİTAK Institutes. The 3rd phase of the camp was held between 01-05 August and 08-12 August 2016, and until now 150 female and male students have participated in the program.
Our aim is to help these children improve their observing, discovering, questioning, problem solving and modeling skills. Another emphasized aspect has been to ensure that the children spend enjoyable fun at the program, which aims to help them understand how different disciplines work together by using their skills in practice and how the problems of everyday life can be solved using scientific techniques through workshop activities.
Students participated in the 1-week educational program prepared by academic and experts, and thus took the opportunity of meeting with scientists and conducting experiments with them. During the camp, students are offered a program consisting of personal development, gaining self-confidence and learning basic sciences. After the camp, the academic performance of students was followed up during the school year, and meetings were held with their school counselors. At these meetings, information was collected on the education and development of the children.