“Nature has millions of answers waiting for a good question.” With this phrase, inspired by the thoughts of the beloved Jorge Wagensberg, we received on May 17th about 200 students of ESO (the equivalent to High School Education in Spain) who came to the NAT, the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona, to participate in the IV Congress of Young Scientists of Catalonia, organized by the Institute of Education Sciences. This initiative not only aims to wake the interest for knowledge and scientific curiosity but also emphasizes in gender parity in a sector that endemically drags a clear deficit of women.
Nervousness, mixed with numbness (some participants from Tarragona were awake since 5 in the morning), made way for curiosity when we talked about the 2,400 liters of water needed to produce a hamburger and the immense water footprint that people generate with the daily consumption, diet, and way of life. For the most part, it was the first time they heard about biomimetics and that there were beetles such as Stenocara, able to survive in the desert while capturing the minimum humidity of the air and inspiring giant “fog catcher” that provide drinking water for to humans.
During two hours, the five groups of researchers went to the library and the different exhibition spaces of the museum in search of clues on various aspects of water, accompanied at all times by the scientific coaches of the Biomimetic Sciences Institute. With a condition that shocked some of these digital natives: it was necessary to pass the tests without access to any electronic device with Internet connection.
From an experience like this, students learn how to collaborate with colleagues and friends that they just met a few minutes ago. Students from five centers that were distributed in the work teams: La Salle Bonanova, Escola Virolai, INS La Garrotxa, INS Montsuar, Col·legi Oms i de Prat and INS Joaquín Bau.