European Organisation for Nuclear Research


European Organisation for Nuclear Research
Education Group / Physics Department
CERN, 23
1211 Genève

Contact Person: 

Angelos Alexopoulos


Partner Telephone: 

+41 22 767 07 02

Partner Fax: 

+41 22 766 83 28

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected laboratories for scientific research. Founded in 1954, CERN is one of Europe’s first joint ventures and is now run by 20 European Member States. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions. By studying what happens when particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature. The ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, each comprising around 3,000 scientists and engineers, will make part of their data available to the public for use in education and outreach. They also develop visualization and analysis tools that provide high school students with the opportunity to perform measurements using real LHC data. 

In Go-Lab, CERN is involved in the Go-Lab federation of online labs (WP2) and in the Implementation (WP7). CERN will offer access to scientific data from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC, as well as to a series of interactive applications (e.g. LHC Game, CERNLand) suitable for in-class and out-of-class learning activities. CERN will also integrate the Go-Lab scenarios in the framework of the High School Teacher Programmes in which more than 1,000 physics teachers from Member and non-Member States participate every year. Similar activities will also be organized in the framework of the CERN visits programmes and exhibitions. CERN will act as the National Coordinator of the project implementation in Switzerland.

Showcase 1: PATHWAY Supporting Action

The PATHWAY to Inquiry Based Science TeachingSupporting Action aims to set a standard-based approach for teaching science by inquiry and to support the adoption of inquiry teaching by demonstrating ways of reducing constrains that the teachers and schools face. Further, it aims to demonstrate and disseminate methods and exemplary cases of both effective introduction of inquiry to science classrooms and professional development programs. PATHWAY will also deliver a set of guidelines for the educational community to further explore and exploit the unique benefits of the proposed approach in science teaching. In this way, the PATHWAY project aims to facilitate the development of communities of practitioners that will enable teachers to learn from each other.

In PATHWAY, CERN’s three-week High School Teacher (HST) Program stands as a showcase of evidence-based professional development for physics and science teachers. The overall aim of the HST Program is to help teachers to convey their newly-acquired or renewed enthusiasm about particle and physics, and inspire their students to follow careers in science. The program puts explicit emphasis on a learning-by-doing approach and provides participants with a series of visits, lectures, workshops, and team building activities making them understand how the world of collaborative science works.

Based on the spirit of experimentation, inquiry and teamwork, this approach is implemented through resource based learning and scaffolding. Scaffolding takes place by dedicated scaffolds and tools that assist teachers in all aspects of the inquiry and design processes. Scaffolds include tools for data collection and visualization means to create intuitive and mathematical models of phenomena, as well as templates for the creation of reports and designs. All tools and scaffolds play a role in shaping of the missions that are assigned to the groups of teachers, implying that they can meaningfully process them. The overall goal is to allow teachers to effectively use the available digital resources of CERN in order to enhance their everyday educational practice.

Showcase 2: Discover the Cosmos Project

The Discover the Cosmos Coordination Action aims to demonstrate innovative ways to involve teachers and students in e-Science by the use of existing e-infrastructures for Particle Physics and Astronomy. This aims to spark young people's interest in science and in following scientific careers by: (1) demonstrating effective community building between researchers, teachers and students, (2) demonstrating effective integration of science education with e-infrastructures through a monitored-for-impact use of e-Science activities, and (3) developing a roadmap that will include guidelines for the design and implementation of effective educational and outreach activities. These activities could act as a reference to be adapted for stakeholders in both scientific research outreach and science education policy.

The CERN team coordinates the international implementation activities of this project by integrating the Discover the Cosmos Demonstrators in the High School Teacher Programs at CERN. The CERN team in collaboration with Discover the Cosmos partners, but also with the Education and Outreach Groups of the ATLAS and the CMS collaborations, has implemented successfully a series of local Masterclasses as well as e-Master classes. These Master classes provided high school students across Europe with the opportunity to perform measurements on real LHC data from the ATLAS and CMS experiments. Combined with virtual visits to CERN and the LHC experiments, these activities represent a showcase of how big ideas of and about science can be conveyed to students remotely in an efficient manner.