Original Research By Young Twinkle Students (ORBYTS): when can students start performing original research?
Involving students in state-of-the-art research from an early age eliminates the idea that science is only for the scientists and empowers young people to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. It is also a great opportunity to dispel harmful stereotypes about who is suitable for STEM careers, while leaving students feeling engaged in modern science and the scientific method. As part of the Twinkle Space Mission's educational programme, EduTwinkle, students between the ages of 15 and 18 have been performing original research associated with the exploration of space since January 2016. The student groups have each been led by junior researchers—PhD and post-doctoral scientists—who themselves benefit substantially from the opportunity to supervise and manage a research project. This research aims to meet a standard for publication in peer-reviewed journals. At present the research of two ORBYTS teams have been published, one in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series and another in JQSRT; we expect more papers to follow. Here we outline the necessary steps for a productive scientific collaboration with school children, generalising from the successes and downfalls of the pilot ORBYTS projects.
Sousa-Silva, C., McKemmish, L. K., Chubb, K. L., Gorman, M. N., Baker, J. S., Barton, E. J., Rivlin, T., & Tennyson, J. (2017). Original Research By Young Twinkle Students (ORBYTS): When can students start performing original research? Physics Education,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research | University College London, Department of Physics and Astronomy | University of New South Wales, School of Chemistry | Centre for Ecology and Hydrology | Aberystwyth University, Department of Physics