Spring in Iceland means that the University of Iceland Knowledge Train has left the station! The train has three destinations on its 10th anniversary organising fun courses and workshops for both students and teachers.
The University Knowledge Train has toured since the University of Iceland's centennial in 2011 with the aim to communicate science to young people in a vibrant and diverse manner, support the work in Icelandic primary schools, and strengthen the ties to people of all ages around Iceland. On board the train are, among others, University scientists, lecturers and graduate students, who also work as facilitators at the University's Science Centre and University of Youth.
The University Knowledge Train has received the Rannís Science communication awards, has stopped at over forty municipalities all over Iceland, and has been warmly received in each and every location. It is thus always exciting to embark on the journey each year as the programme is always organised in close collaboration with the municipalities and their schools.
The train has not escaped the great pandemic Last spring the train was grounded entirely but this year the organisation is framed for the most part by the pandemic. Every precaution to prevent infection will be made and the crew is scheduled to have a COVID test before each journey and a part of the traditional programme of previous years is currently not on the schedule. However, there is no lack of ambitious and extremely interesting courses on offer in each location.
The Knowledge Train offers a novelty this year as teachers' workshops will be offered in addition to courses for the pupils. The University's Science Centre has in recent years offered diverse workshops to teachers emphasising practical education and experiments. There has been a great demand for continuing education of this kind and now selected workshops will be offered to teachers in other municipalities. This is a new but hopefully permanent addition to the Knowledge Train.
There will be three stops this spring: Húnaþing vestra (13- 14 May), Strandabyggð (20 - 21 May) and Fjarðabyggð (27 - 28 May). Students who are 12 to 16 can take courses on most things between heaven and earth, as the subjects are on the planets and volcanoes, archaeology and innovation, social issues and communications, the magic of light and colours, DNA and climate change, energy exchange, windmills, chemistry, programming and unusually sassy nutrition.
Students will put themselves in the shoes of Nobel laureates and learn about the mysteries of DNA - the key to life, find out what detectives and archaeologists have in common, learn how to make fake blood for next Halloween, get to know the insides of volcanoes and the electrolysis of water, seek solutions for today's challenges, and deliberate over the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and more!
So you can truly say that the University's Knowledge Train celebrates its ten years as it should, with diverse education in the excellent company of Icelandic youth.