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Measured up to top prize in national research competition for children

This year marks the 25th annual Nysgjerrigper science contest for children. First prize in this jubilee competition went to the pupils in grade 6 at Haus school in Hordaland county, who were curious to discover what is really meant by pace as a measurement of stride length and how many steps people take in the course of a week.

A total of nine projects were awarded prizes at a large ceremony held recently at the Research Council of Norway’s offices near Oslo.

Pupils in grade 6 at Haus school in Hordaland county took top honours in this year’s Nysgjerrigper research contest. (Photo: Therese Farstad)

One million steps to reach results

The pupils started off their award-winning project by interviewing 88 adults. After this, they consulted the Norwegian Centre for Mathematics Education, the Norwegian Metrology Service and a physiotherapist, discovering in the process that the pace is not an official unit of length. Then they asked: How long is the average stride of an 11-year-old? To find out, they measured each other’s strides and used this as a basis to create a formula for calculating stride length in children their age. Collectively, the sixth graders took more than one million steps to find an answer to their question.

The pupils concluded that a stride can be measured as the distance from the heel of one foot to the point where the heel of the next touches the ground and that stride length depends on a person’s height. The class disseminated their research results through a letter to the editor published in the local newspaper and have also made an animated film depicting how the research was conducted.

Read about all nine prize-winners on the Nysgjerrigper website (in Norwegian).

Nysgjerrigper annual science contest

In 2015, 3 000 pupils from 73 schools participated in the annual contest with 167 different projects. Twenty-seven projects advanced to the national final and nine projects were honoured with ten prizes.

Nysgjerrigper annual science contest prizes

The projects vie for first prize as well as second and third prizes for pupils in primary and lower secondary school, respectively. Winners of the top prize receive a three-day dream excursion together with the Nysgjerriper team. Prize-winners receive NOK 20 000 for second place and NOK 10 000 for third.

In addition, special prizes valued at NOK 5 000 are awarded in five categories. These prizes are conferred in cooperation with NITO – The Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists (technology and design prize), the Norwegian Cancer Society (health prize), the Norwegian Centre for Science Education (natural science prize), the Norwegian Centre for Mathematics Education (mathematics prize) and the Language Council of Norway (language prize).

Administered by the Research Council

The Nysgjerrigper Science Knowledge Project is the Research Council’s initiative targeting pupils and teachers in primary and lower secondary school. The Nysgjerrigper project teaches about research and shows children how to carry out research on their own. The aim is to generate an understanding of what research entails and to promote recruitment to careers in research. The Nysgjerrigper project was established as a national project in 1990.

In addition to the annual science contest, the project also comprises a magazine, courses for teachers on the Nysgjerrigper scientific method, and the website nysgjerrigper.no.

 

 

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