Meet our Nordic Fellow Hanne Finstad
Hanne is broadening intellectual curiosity by creating a new generation of scientists and a culture of critical thinking through the Scientist Factory (Forskerfabrikken).
Her Changemaker journey
Hanne, a cancer researcher and biochemist, created Forskerfabrikken to fill the gap in Norwegian science education and provide the experiment-based education that makes science come alive. Hanne has crafted a strategy that targets young people and the larger education system to change the culture of science. Her strategy intervenes with children, young people, the academic system and the media to create new ways of thinking, new human potential and to dramatically expand passion in science.
During her courses, co-designed and taught by practicing scientists, students learn the scientific method and get to practice the technical skills of science including safety and measurement. In addition, students are also provided with experiments and supplies to do their own projects at home. Hanne aims at making science as natural for children to do after school as sports.
In the past, Hanne realized that many of her scientific colleagues pointed to a time in their youth, roughly at age 8 or 10, when their interest in science was sparked. Initially beginning with a focus on that age group, Hanne has since then expanded her offerings to include longer courses for high school kids, shorter courses for children in aged 6 to 8, and weekend activities for families.
Hanne is operating on the realization that students must actively participate in science to understand it.
With Forskerfabrikken, Hanne seeks to replicate those experiences to “open up minds to the invisible world". Forskerfabrikken, develops a multi-pronged strategy to integrate in-depth, experiential science into classrooms. To do so, it offers inexpensive two-hour science courses after school to “train young brains”, enrich and speed learning and position science as something fun and interesting. Besides, a corps of specialized teachers are drawn from scientific researchers and engineers to inspire, teach, and engage students around experiential learning.
Hanne is integrating this experiential approach into the curriculum, offering modules for teacher lessons, textbooks, and extensive teacher training, which has raised test scores as well as offer consulting for schools to determine how to improve their equipment and build centers for science.
Her work is building a new social landscape for science, based on an understanding of how people learn while transforming science education into something compelling and accessible to all.