Arctic.PRO-2018 Winter School: Nornickel nurtures teenage creativity

From 15 January to 21 January, Ekaterinburg hosted the 4th Arctic.PRO-2018 R&D Winter School. It marked the third final stage of the R&D marathon for teenagers held by NornickelPublic Joint Stock Company "Mining and Metallurgical Company "Norilsk Nickel” and its subsidiariesGo to the glossary under the World of New Opportunities charitable programme.

The first stage of the marathon involved online quizzes, while the second one featured quests, where the participants were evaluated by a group of experts against various criteria. The two stages helped to shortlist 25 out of 1,300 participants from Norilsk and the Taimyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky Municipal District of the Krasnoyarsk Region, as well as Monchegorsk and the Pechengsky District of the Murmansk Region. This year’s marathon was the first to welcome participants from Chita.

In 2018, the shortlisted participants enrolled in the Winter School in Ekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth major industrial city and marathon’s host city since its launch. In the previous years, students taking interest in science and technology were brought together in St Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk and Kazan.

The event was organised in such a way as to boost teenagers’ research and inventive potential. During the first module of the Winter School, they learned to do physics and chemistry experiments on their own to be able to teach others back in their home regions showing them how much fun these school subjects can be. All children got a special experiment kit to conduct their own open lessons in their home towns and cities.

The second module was about ideas and inventions. The participants attended a presentation given by Dmitry Mamontov, Science Editor at the Polytechnic Museum, who talked about the most unusual, yet simple inventions in the world, and also advised the children on their own projects.

In addition, the Winter School participants were given an exclusive workshop on public speaking by Svetlana Fominykh, Russia’s main TED expert. The children learned to effectively present their ideas in the best tradition of the TED Talks speakers. Following the workshop, they prepared 24 unique presentations of their own inventions.

The marathon participants also visited the world’s northernmost skyscraper, the Vysotsky business centre, the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station (the only one in Russia boasting different types of reactors), the Urals Pipe Works and its innovative training centre, as well as the copper electrolysis plant at Uralelektromed.

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The Arctic.PRO marathon seeks to foster the R&D potential of teenagers in the regions of Nornickel’s operations.

The project has been running since 2014 as part of Nornickel’s World of New Opportunities charitable programme and is aimed at promoting scientific ways of thinking in children and teenagers.

The Arctic.PRO marathon comprises three stages: an online quiz, Polar Technodrome and the R&D Winter School. During the first stage, the children took a quiz involving inventive problem solving at the website. The second stage featured a session of business games, with participants evaluated by a group of experts against various criteria. The final stage was the R&D Winter School seeking to strengthen teenagers’ interest in science and inspiring them to make their own research and inventions.