Houses for science in Aquitaine: training to develop critical thinking

The Maisons pour la Science network is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Its mission is to train 1st and 2nd level science teachers and additionally fight against fake news.

“In the midst of Covid, young and old, they took any information on social media and spewed false information.” Reporting by Céline Véga-Roiatti. He is a lecturer in neuroscience. In a world plagued by this viral fake news that spreads at the speed of light, it is not uncommon to be trapped, manipulated.
“Maybe because most people don’t have the scientific mind to get real information, to develop a critical mind,” says Céline Véga-Roiatti. It works with the Maisons pour la Science network to raise awareness among young people about the scientific approach and “thus strengthening the links between science and society”. Education remains the best way to combat the spread of fake news and improve both youth and society.
Céline Véga-Roïatti is no stranger to Lot-et-Garonne. He spent part of his youth in Colayrac. For 6 months, he was the deputy director of the Maison pour la Science, which serves teachers in Aquitaine. The network celebrates its 10th anniversary on 12 and 13 January 2023 at the Abbadia Chateau Observatory in Hendaye. It operates under the patronage of the La main à la pâte foundation, which is associated with the Academy of Sciences in Paris. There are 12 Houses for Science in France. They work together with the rector of their academy.

Training is provided by experts

House in Aquitaine is located on the science and technology campus of the University of Bordeaux. “We design and offer professional development training for 1st and 2nd grade science teachers,” explains Celine Vega-Roiatti. These refresher times are taken from their continuing education hours. Training approved by the Rector’s office is free.
In Aquitaine – and this is a special feature – all training is given by a scientist who is an expert in his field (physics, chemistry, biology, neurology). “Depending on our needs, we draw from the pool of the University of Bordeaux to find scientists in the 80 laboratories available on the university’s site.” Sometimes manufacturers turn to, for example, a company engaged in waste recycling.
The advantage of these courses is that they are based on an investigative approach. The deputy director explains: “This is a methodology used by scientists all over the world to understand and explain a phenomenon. This is a very serious process. They are taught to observe and hypothesize. From there, we do an experiment that we will have to do several times to check that it reproduces well. We think about the results, we conduct statistics as a result, and as a result we will confirm or reject the initial hypothesis. It allows you to ask yourself questions and it becomes know-how.”

Anatole France in Villeneuve and Cité Scolaire in Marmande: secondary schools La main à la pâte

All training is likely to be transferred to the classroom. “We provide teachers with all the necessary elements, and if necessary, we can give them teaching kits for certain topics.” A scientist can also accompany teachers in their class. “Then we call the thesis students who have to do the teaching tasks.”
Finally, there are colleges labeled La main à la pâte.
Two of the 120 pilot colleges in France are located in Lot-et-Garonne: Anatole France in Villeneuve and the school complex in Marmande. In these institutions, a sponsor appointed by the Maison pour la Science visits several times a year to monitor the school’s scientific education projects. Teachers are the first to register for training, and a congress is organized for college students.


10 years in 12 Maisons pour la Science established throughout the territory: 80,000 teachers are trained, 3,400 different training courses are organized, 5,615 scientists are mobilized, 120 colleges are working hard, 6,450 students are involved in the program of scientific partners for the classroom, 40 self-developed online training manual, 97% of participants were “somewhat or very satisfied with the training”

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