a “Newton room” in a college in Angers to give a taste for science

Faced with criticism linked to the high school reform, the Ministry of National Education had decided to offer 1h30 more of mathematics to students who did not take the specialty at the start of the 2022 school year. But this remains optional and some deplore a lack of interest. young people for this subject. To give students a taste for science, the educational teams are trying to innovate with the Newton Room. This extraordinary room has just opened at the Félix Landreau college, in Angers, in Maine-et-Loire.

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Please take off your shoes, the course is done in socks and a white coat on the shoulders. “We try to make the robot work”, launches a teenager. These sixth-grade students are discovering the Newton Room, a concept that originated in Norway. “The idea is to immerse them a bit in a laboratory atmosphereexplains Stanislas Gabrovsek, the referent professor, by making them work barefoot, because we will be working a lot on the ground and in white coats to put them in the shoes of a scientist. It’s psychological but it’s important.”

The Newton room at the Félix Landreau college in Angers is financed by the Boeing company, June 2022. (BORIS HALLIER / RADIO FRANCE)

In this old classic classroom, there is a large touch screen, a platform and robots that the students must program. “It works with software, we have to calculate how many rotations the wheels have to make to be as close as possible to the track”, explains a student. This state-of-the-art equipment was financed by the Boeing company and is available to all college students in the department. “We have a site where interested teachers come to book a slotexplains Stanislas Gabrovsek. All the material we have there is material that we could not acquire in a normal college. Each robot box is worth 500 euros, so we have fourteen.”

In the Newton Room at the Félix Landreau college in Angers, students from Maine-et-Loire are invited to discover science in a fun way, June 2022. (BORIS HALLIER / RADIO FRANCE)

“What is the difference between the distance traveled and the one you had calculated?”asks a teacher. “We are going to put 18.4 minus 17.8”, answers the student with the approval of the teacher. In a report submitted to the Ministry of Education in March 2022, experts noted scientific teaching ill-suited to the future life of students. For mathematics teacher Romain Alfandari, today’s session completes his lessons: “When I see what I struggled to teach them in a year, we see that finally, maybe that’s it, they would retain better with the concrete side.”

In addition, it does not necessarily always work with the same students. Students who are not necessarily good will find themselves good on the practical side and will have self-confidence: ‘Oh I succeeded, it’s for all the math!’ But it’s hard to find an application that can be used on a daily basis.”

Romain Alfandari, professor of mathematics

at franceinfo

A practical workshop that seems to please the students. “We have fun, we do things like scientists”concludes one of them.

A “Newton room” in a college in Angers to give a taste for science – A report by Boris Hallier

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