Les Savanturiers (Knowledge Aventurers)
What is it?
he Savanturiers de la High-Tech (Knowledge Adventurers) pilot programme is an educational model that promotes learning through research in primary and secondary school classes, sponsored by researchers and engineers working in tandem with teachers. The goal of this initiative is to promote scientific creativity by developing one science project per class each school year. The programme aims to reignite primary and secondary school students’ interest in scientific research, using research-based teaching methods, providing students with equal opportunities, and educating them about the complex and changing challenges of the 21st century.
The goal of the partnership with the Thales Foundation in 2016-2017 is to adapt and expand this method for overseeing research projects by encouraging more Thales researchers and engineers to mentor classes.
How is it implemented?
In addition to supporting class projects, Thales volunteers will also help teachers develop teaching kits and will make occasional in-class visits focused on careers in science.
ach teacher-researcher pair will prepare the science project ahead of time based on students’ interests and will then develop a teaching kit to be used during workshops. Thanks to the contribution of Thales engineers, researchers and technicians, children will explore science investigation methods (scientific questioning, formulation of a problem, etc.) by stepping into the role of researchers. They will acquire scientific knowledge and skills while learning how to think innovatively, creatively, critically and responsibly and finding out more about scientific careers.
What research topics will students explore?
tudents and teachers will work on topics such as engineering, robotics, computer modelling and simulation, space and aviation technologies, environmental monitoring and digital technologies.
The projects developed in 2015 focused mainly on robotics: programming moving robots, building a robotic arm, developing a 3D key ring and LEGO MINDSTORMS robots, etc.
What is the programme’s impact?
In the 2015-2016 school year, 283 students participated in 13 class projects (10 in Gennevilliers, 2 in Gironde and 1 in Paris). Training in assisting teachers and working with students was provided to 14 Thales volunteers like Mihaela, who helped a group of 10-year-olds develop an eco-friendly robot project.
The Foundation will capitalise on this experience by renewing its partnership for the 2016-2017 school year, with the aim of working with 20 classes – or nearly 500 students and 20 teachers – in Gennevilliers, Cannes and Gironde. The programme also plans to replicate the model in English-speaking countries, starting with a pilot project in the UK in 2017.
Les Savanturiers is sponsored by the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) and SCIRE, a French non-profit association.
The CRI was founded in Paris in 2005 as a convivial place at the crossroad of life sciences and exact, natural, cognitive, and social sciences. Its main role is to promote new educational techniques and strategies to empower the students to take initiative and develop their own research projects. It hosts visiting professors, a variety of courses and many students clubs.
The CRI has 28 employees, 7 of whom work exclusively on the Les Savanturiers programme.