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Pupils in the UK win Native Awards 2021

Every year, Native Scientist Awards recognise the creativity of pupils who participate in the Native Schools programme.

The growing number of pupils that participate in the Native Awards challenge, highlight the success of the initiative, after 9 years of running it.

Pupils attending to Native Schools workshops are requested to draw what they think of a scientist and complete the sentence of “If I were a scientist….”. At the end of the school year, all the drawings and sentences are reviewed by the Native Awards Manager and the Native Scientist Director and the most original ones are selected to enter a contest in which the Native Scientist team and collaborators vote for the winner.

This year, the drawings represented 56% women scientists and 25% men scientists. Moreover, the sentences focused either on hot topics (20%, e.g. COVID-19), diseases and cures (50%, e.g. blindness, vaccines) or had a fun tone (30%, e.g. invent a time machine).

Unprecedentedly, the Native Awards 2021 recognised 3 winners; two for the “Best Sentence” (vote tie) and one for the “Best Drawing” awards.

Francisco, 11 years old, who participated in a Portuguese workshop in Cambridge, UK won the “Best Sentence” Award.

The jury voted for him as Francisco’s sentence is fun and focuses on what is an everyday issue for kids: the dislike for certain vegetable’s taste even if they are good for them. Francisco’s answer to this issue? …A scientist could make these super healthy vegetables taste really good, just like a slice of cake does!

The Director of the Camões Institute in the UK and the Channel Islands, Dr Regina dos Santos Duarte congratulated Francisco and further commented:

“It is with great honour that we see Francisco winning the “Best Sentence” award. Francisco combines a good command of the Portuguese language with strong practical thinking when he wishes to find solutions that can make vegetables more appetizing!”

“É com grande orgulho que vemos o Francisco ser vencedor do Prémio "Melhor Frase". O Francisco alia um bom domínio da língua portuguesa a um forte espírito prático, ao querer encontrar soluções para tornar os legumes mais apetitosos!”

Alessandro, 9 years old, participated in an Italian workshop in London, UK and also co-won the “Best Sentence” Award.

Alessandro’s interest lies in palaeontology with a great focus on dinosaurs and how he can recreate them. Alessandro’s sentence is not only fun, but also an indicator of his understanding of biology. We all congratulate Alessandro for his work.

The “Best Drawing” Native Awards winner for 2021 is Mira, 8 years old, who participated in a German workshop in London, UK.

Mira’s drawing captures a present-day popular matter: the coronavirus pandemic. Mira, who enjoys drawing a lot, identified the crucial question every scientist around the world, and especially virologists, had in mind since the beginning of the pandemic: “How can I outsmart viruses?”. Mira depicts a woman scientist experimenting and working towards solutions to understand the viruses and answer scientific questions. Using vibrant colours, Mira sketched a happy scientist working in a lab environment to advance research and help humanity in every way she can. Mira loved the workshop, as it gave her the unique opportunity to meet scientists and look at the equipment and materials they use. Although Mira has not yet decided on her future career, it is possible that it will involve “art and writing, animals and science”. Needless to say that her talent is clearly shown in her drawing.

The Chair of Vereinigung Deutschsprachiger Samstagsschulen UK (VDSS UK), Dr Charlotte Schultze said:

“Congratulations, Mira! Has the scientist already found a solution to fight the virus? It looks as though she is close to a breakthrough discovery. A wonderful picture from the lab with great German writing – well done!”

“Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Mira! Hat die Wissenschaftlerin schon eine Lӧsung zur Bekӓmpfung der Viren gefunden? Es sieht so aus, als sei sie kurz davor. Ein wunderschӧnes Bild aus dem Labor mit hervorragender deutscher Beschriftung – toll gemacht!“

The winners receive a copy of the book “Outside”, autographed by the author Maria Ana Peixe Dias and Inês Teixeira do Rosario. Native Scientist Director Joana Moscoso says that: "The moment of looking at the entries for the Native Awards is one of my favourite at Native Scientist. It’s both enlightening and fun. I would like to congratulate the winners and acknowledge everyone involved in this endeavour, especially the Awards Manager, the coordinators, the teachers, and the students and their parents.”

About Native Scientist

Native Scientist connects children and scientists to promote science literacy and reduce inequalities. In the classroom or beyond, Native Scientist actively engages with 250+ scientists every year, inspiring over 1,200 pupils to consider science and higher education. With the Native Schools programme, scientists and children with a common cultural background are connected to talk about science in their heritage language.


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