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Committee on Chemistry Education

Number: 2003-055-1-050

Title: Young Ambassadors for Chemistry (YAC)

Task Group
: Lida Schoen

Members: Anthony D. Ashmore, John Bradley, Mei-Hung Chiu, Keith Kelly, Charmaine Klein, Norma Nudelman, Jen Jang Sheu, and Natalia Tarasova

Completion Date: 2007 - project completed

> Final poster presented in Aug 2007
at the IUPAC Congress
in Torino, Italy [jpg - 361KB]

To enhance Public Understanding of Chemistry through teacher and student school audiences in target transition regions.

The project will be carried out in partnership with a successful global science education programme, to train teachers and provide resources to develop the communication skills of young people and teach them to be young ambassadors for chemistry. It includes an evaluation of the impact of the 'train the trainers' model in increasing public understanding.

Young Ambassadors for Chemistry (YAC) will be a partnership between IUPAC's CCE Public Understanding of Chemistry subcommittee and the Science Across the World Network to facilitate the flow of ideas between chemistry and society. This project will use the 'train the trainer' model to create public interest in chemistry in four transition areas with strong IUPAC CCE representatives: Taiwan, Russia and the Balkans, Argentina, and South Africa.

Science Across the World (SAW) is a successful schools educational programme encouraging communication and shared learning by young people (10-16 years) on important scientific issues of public interest in 90 countries. SAW's web site has an up-to-date database of schools and teachers and established methods for exchanging ideas and information between schools all over the world. As the school is very often at the hub of the community, opinions shared during learning may filter well beyond the student and the classroom. The present project builds on the highly successful collaboration between IUPAC and SAW in a 2003 global poster competition for children, featured on the cover of the Nov/Dec 2003 Chemistry International.

Building on successful SAW experiences, we will run workshops for teacher trainers and teachers based on two existing topics with a broad 'Chemistry in Society' basis: 'Chemistry in our Lives' and 'Talking about Genetics around the World' (chemistry being the basis of our knowledge about DNA and genetics). The trained teachers will carry out SAW projects including the exchanges with partner classrooms in other countries and prepare students for interaction with their local community. In carrying out the SAW projects students will research aspects of chemistry in the local context, which they will then as Young Ambassadors for Chemistry (YACs) present to the local public.

This programme will also utilize the networks of the British Council, and the FACT (Forum for the support and development of Content and language integrated Teaching) Network (1035 participants from 40 countries around the world) for communicating good practice among the teaching community around the world. The present project brings this IUPAC/SAW partnership to four important transition areas, equipping key people there to train more Science (and language) teachers to work with the programme and train Young Ambassadors for Chemistry in their classrooms.

Steps to deliver this programme will be:

  1. Translation of student and course materials in the national language (e.g. Mandarin, Russian) to be used in the four regions.
  2. Local workshop of trainers with local teachers; (train the trainers model), followed by local workshops where trained teachers train more teachers and YACs.
  3. YACs run local public awareness events.

Students will become ambassadors by first carrying out a SAW project with their teachers in schools and through the SAW website (www.scienceacross.org). The students will be trained in planning and running small-scale events such as 'constructing the largest 3D model of DNA from sweets in a supermarket for one day' as part of the SAW pack 'Talking About Genetics Around the World' or 'producing cosmetics in a national 'line' and marketing them' as part of 'Chemistry in our lives'. A key component is to actively encourage students to gather opinions from the local community. During the event students engage the public in activities such as partial construction of the DNA model, and talk to the public about their understanding of the importance of DNA discovery for today's world. Reponses and opinions will be gathered and recorded by the students. Thousands of members of the public could be reached during a single day event. Other public understanding outcomes come from the impact on schools, and local and national media coverage.

A final event can be a conference of YAC's as a follow up to regional events where YACs present their work, products and research to their peers.


The first of a series of four workshops for Science and Language teachers was held 22–26 November 2004 at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in Taipei. See report in Chem. Int. Mar/Apr 2005.

On 16-17 April 2005, during the 5th Arab Conference on Teaching and Learning held in Cairo, Egypt, Lida Schoen made a plenary presentation on YAC, outlining the aims of the project and format of the events organized as part of it. A Q&A session followed, and thoughts were put forward to coordinate an interactive discussion (using video conferencing) with more teachers, on how to consider possible YAC events in Egypt and/or Jordan.

This project was presented at a poster session at the IUPAC Congress/GA July 2005
>view pdf - 282KB<

A second YAC event was organized in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 9-15 May 2005. The workshop was hosted by ESSARP, the English Speaking Scholastic Association of the River Plate (www.essarp.org.ar) in the heart of Buenos Aires.

The third leg of the YAC project was Krasnoyarsk, Russia, where activities took place from 14-18 November 2005.
> see report in Chem. Int. Mar/Apr 2006.

In February 2006, an event was coordinated in Korea > see report in Chem. Int. Sep/Oct 2006.

In March 2007, an event was held in Grahamstown, South Africa > see report in Chem. Int. Jul/Aug 2007.

> Final report; 21 July 2007 [pdf - 1.35MB]

project completed

Last update: 26 July 2007

<project announcement published in Chem. Int. Sep-Oct 2004>


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