The science communication platform "I Am a Scientist - Get me out of here" brings together school kids with researchers.
The idea is inspired by some TV shows in which candidates are being sorted out one by one until a winner is found. Here, the candidates are researchers, the judges are pupils.
The scheme runs in two-week blocks and typically a number of zones. During each time block, the researchers in a given zone (five by default) interact with the same groups of pupils (about 15 classes). The interaction takes place in multiple forms:
- researchers fill in a profile about themselves and their research, including on what they would use the prize money for;
- pupils pose questions to the researchers in a given zone;
- researchers reply to the questions in their zone
- researchers can chime in on questions posed in other zones
- researchers meet individual classes in live-chats, where the kids again pose whatever questions they may have
- in the second week, the kids vote every day for the researchers that shall stay in the game, and the one with the lowest score leaves.
- the winning researchers get a prize.
The whole experience was very open-ended when it was first run in 2010, as neither the organizers, nor the teachers, the researchers or the pupils knew what they would get out of it. The format has since evolved but the basic features have remained the same. It is still pretty much open-ended for the pupils and researchers and to a lesser degree for the teachers, but the organizers now have a rather good idea of what the format allows.
For some example questions, answers and profiles from the first instance, see here.