A contribution by Hanna Liventseva

PhD in Geology, Chairman of the Board of PO UAG

I`d like to tell you about the interactive events for children in the frame of the education programme of the Ukrainian Association of Geologists. Our story will not touch on boring lectures or traditional lessons, but it will feature new interactive actions for children.

Our short narration begins with a series of presentations of a very interesting, modern book about geologists and geology by Rostyslav Furdui. During the presentations, we realise the children know nothing about the amazing, mysterious, and important profession of being a geologist. And we start acting!

At the first stage, we have organized lectures in a comfortable and spacious hall of the Kyiv Palace of Children and Youth. The topics of the lectures were very interesting, such as “Animals and Dinosaurs: An Evolutionary Arms Race for 200 million years (the problem of extinction of dinosaurs)”, “Fire-breathing mountains (volcanoes)”, “Geological research of Ukrainian scientists in the Antarctic”, etc.

During the lectures, bright presentations were used all the time, but it was not an easy job to keep the attention of students for 45-60 minutes. The lecturing hall worked for only one year and, according to polls of teachers, did not arouse much interest among children. Unfortunately, a simple solution to move the events to a more cosy, intimate and less formal format to the library did not help much.

The next stage – in 2014 – was a time of geological quizzes (foto 2). The teams of schoolchildren/students (8 persons) answered questions, completed practical tasks in geology, drew, sculpted, sang, and created living sculptures. And everything was by the geological direction.

A further step in our educational work was the transfer of geological competitions outdoor, to the field conditions. This did not imply an expeditionary regime; the conditions of the city park were quite sufficient. That location has greatly expanded our capabilities. Fortunately, within Kyiv city limits there are many open locations with good hills, rock outcrops, etc.

Students had good opportunities to operate with the map, collect samples of rocks, get acquainted with the geological compass, as well as some geophysical instruments, train in rock climbing and orienteering. And teachers and mentors were there with them!

The next new step was to take quests in the geological museums every year. There are ten thematic private, municipal and national museums in Kyiv.

Routine excursions do not envisage any work with exhibits. You have to stand quietly and listen. But this is not our format at all! Visiting museums is not static, but active. These events are especially appreciated by children because these actions are proactive and fun. The result is new information, which is imprinted in the memory because it was obtained in the process of independent search.

One of the most successful and interesting forms of the task to popularize the Earth sciences and the profession of a geologist is a geological holiday (festivals). All halls, corridors, rooms of the Kyiv Palace of Children and Youth are to be involved in the process of competition. We needed 10 locations at least! That was a prerequisite for the crowd of schoolchildren who is always in the process of competition, did not get bored, and did not stand still. At one location, students played chess with the samples of combustible minerals. In another place, a model of an oil and gas reservoir was created from different types of chocolate. At one more point, they made up the route from Kyiv to Vienna of the first cars that drove on kerosene from one pharmacy-filling station to another. There was a location dedicated to the history of oil production in Ukraine, too. Improvised firefighters and rescuers trained on the sports ground. In the art studio, children painted pictures with oil and coal, in the concert hall, they sang geological songs. These competitions and games were not only entertaining but also gave information about geology and geologists.

And last year, despite the quarantine, we held the Night of Explorers as part of Project ENGIE (Encouraging Girls to Study Geosciences and Engineering)!

  • ENGIE – Empowering girls to become the geoscientists of tomorrow
  • Open your eyes! Open your Earth!
  • What do Geologists do?
  • What is Geoscience?
  • Why does Geoscience matter to society?
  • Geoscience for the future
  • Career pathways
  • Engie´s CookBook – what is this?

These questions were discussed during the Night of Explorers.

The event took place at the school №13 in Kyiv. The main stakeholders of the event – schoolgirls aged 13 years (44 participants), school teachers, and researcher geologists. 

Since the event was designed for girls, our tasks were specific. It was necessary to make ‘meals’ from kaolin or quartz sand, of which you can find plenty in Ukraine! And go through all the stages of such a complex ‘cooking’, taking into account all the stages to develop a value chain, and so on. The girls did a great job!

Our work continues and there will be many more interesting new events, impressions and knowledge!

This article has been published in the April 2021 edition of the ENGIE Magazine.