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Ann Whent Agueda Gras-Velazquez

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Xperimania Winners announced: european students show how to make science fun

Brussels, 22 June 2009. Interest in their baby cousins’ nappies brings victory for Jack M and Nicola B from Glasgow, UK, in the Xperimania school competition. The 'Check out the property!' competition, run via the Xperimania website (, aimed to promote science education with easy and fun experiments on properties, materials and their impact on daily life.

In their winning work, Jack and Nicola investigated and tested the properties of disposable baby nappies, and found out the material – polyacrylate – which makes nappies water absorbent. The work is well structured, with a clear research question and answer, explaining a common, everyday material found all over the world.

Almost 900 secondary school students from 20 European countries participated, with 430 submissions in the Xperimania competition during the school year 2008/09. An international team of teachers made a pre-selection of finalists, while an expert panel selected the five overall winners. The panel consisted of top level representatives from the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), and European Schoolnet.

The jury was fascinated of the diversity and high-quality of the finalists’ works. This year one of the main criteria of evaluation was the clarity of the submissions - and the combination of fun with making science.
“A scientist needs to tell a good, entertaining story about what he/she is doing”, the jury pointed out. “Even a very complicated subject can be made understandable and interesting with clear words, figures, and easy to follow research structure.”
Besides the five winners, the jury decided to give out two special mentions: The special mention for creativity went for a Hungarian team testing an exciting topic of liquid magnets, and the special mention of the best class project was given for three teams from a Portuguese school with excellent videos showing how to make science education fun.
The five winners are:
1st prize 2000€ (to be spent in scientific resources for the classroom):

The Water Absorbent Property of the Disposable Nappy
School: Smithycroft Secondary School, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Property: Binding agent
Students (age): Jack M (13) and Nicola B (13)
Teacher: Linda McCusker
2nd prize 1500€ (to be spent in scientific resources for the classroom):

The Beauty of Polymer Clay
School: Tartu Karlova Gymnasium, Tartu, Estonia
Property: Heat resistance

Students (age): Margred K. (16), Meriliis K. (17), Indrek V. (18)

Teacher: Anneli Lukason
3rd prize 1200€ (to be spent in scientific resources for the classroom):

Researching air and cold protection qualities of different fibers
School: Kachalov Gymnasium, Vilnius, Lithuania
Property: Air and cold protection
Students (age): Artur S. (15), Aleksandr I. (15), Jekaterina S. (15)
Teacher: Natalija Romanenkova
4th prize 1000€ (to be spent in scientific resources for the classroom):

Resistance to the traction of textile fibres
School: IES Castelló d'Empúries, Castelló d'Empúries, Spain
Property: Toughness
Students (age): Èlia C. (13), Elisabet D. (14),
Teacher: Juan Bodi
5th prize 800€ (to be spent in scientific resources for the classroom):

Investigating plastics capacity for soundproofing
School: Escola Salesiana "Mare de Déu dels Dolors", Sant Boi, Barcelona, Spain
Property: Insulation
Students (age): Marta B. (13), Gemma C. (12)
Teacher: Ivan Nadal

Special mentions:

Special mention for creativity (albeit out of the scope of the exercise):
Folyadék Mágnes (Liquid magnet)
School: SEK Budapest Óvoda, Általános Iskola És Gimnázium, Budapest, Hungary

Property: Oil resistant

Students (age): Annya C (14), Song Y.S. (14)
Teacher: Ildiko Goczi
Special mention for the best class project for showing three properties comparing different materials in a simple and clear way:
School: Agrupamento de Escolas do Monte de Caparica, Caparica-Almada, Portugal
Teacher: Maria Vieira

O que conduz a corrente eléctrica? (What conducts electricity?)
Property: Electrical insulation

Students: Teresa R. (11), Maria S. (10)

- A densidade dos materiais e dos líquidos (The density of materials and liquids)
Property: Lightweight

Students: Nuno S.(11), Alexandre V. (10)

- Combustão - Como ardem os Materiais? (Combustion - How do different materials burn?)
Property: Heat resistance

Students: David S. (11), João R. (10)

A booklet (pdf) of the top 50 entries is available on the website:

About Xperimania

Xperimania is organised by the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (Appe), and coordinated by European Schoolnet on their behalf. All schools in the European Union, candidate countries and EFTA countries are invited to join in. Participating students must be aged 10-20 years old. It is free to participate. Visit and find all the background information and resources needed to get started.


The Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe – Appe ( – is the voice of the European petrochemical industry and brings together about 70 member companies. Appe is part of Cefic (, the European Chemical Industry Council representing about 29,000 large, medium and small chemical companies which employ about 1.3 million people, and accounting for nearly a third of world chemical production. It is based in Brussels, Belgium.

European Schoolnet
European Schoolnet (EUN) is a unique not-for-profit consortium of 31 ministries of education in Europe created in 1997. EUN provides major European education portals for teaching, learning and collaboration and leads the way in bringing about change in schooling through the use of new technology (see

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