CERN Education: Prepare, Visit, Follow up

The CERN Education group offers help and resources to prepare your students for a trip to CERN

Students from Ellimogermaniki Agogi High School in Pallini, Greece, visit CERN (Video: CERN Education group). Editor's note: At 03.58 in the video, the orange accelerator is mislabeled as the Proton Synchrotron. It is actually Linear Accelerator 2, the first machine in CERN's accelerator chain

Every year, CERN welcomes more than 1000 physics teachers to the laboratory. This month more than 50 teachers from all over the world are taking part in CERN's High School Physics Teacher Programme. In this intensive three-week course at CERN, they will learn about the laboratory, particle physics and the applications and societal benefits of CERN research.

Many more physics teachers want to bring CERN closer to their students. The video above shows how Thanos Leontios, Marianna Potsidi and Konstantinos Tassis, physics teachers at Ellinogermaniki Agogi High School in Pallini, Greece, got on preparing their students for an educational trip to CERN.

"Preparing your students for a visit can take many forms," says Angelos Alexopoulos of the CERN Education Group. "You could have them search for Higgs bosons in public data from the CMS experiment, for example, or use tools developed by ATLAS to examine cosmic-ray data." Alexopoulos also points to virtual tours of the laboratory, where students get the chance to speak to CERN researchers in their native tongue. “Virtual tours can nicely be combined with mini-masterclasses at high schools," he says. "The visit itself is really the cherry on the cake."

In the video, Greek-speaking researchers guide students around the CMS experimental cavern and the SM18 facility at CERN, where engineers test the superconducting magnets that guide particle beams around the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Other highlights of the tour include the Low-Energy Ion Ring (LEIR), which prepares beams of heavy ions for acceleration in the LHC, and Linear Accelerator 2, the source of protons for the whole of CERN's accelerator complex

"[The visit] was valuable for the students, for sure, in terms of inspiring them about physics and scientific research in general," says Leontios. But the real work comes afterwards, with follow-up assignments and exercises for students, and passing on experience gained to teachers and colleagues back at school.

Alexopoulos and his colleagues in the Education group are pushing his message of "Prepare, Visit, Follow up". So get in touch with CERN Education and Outreach to arrange a visit to CERN for you and your students.

Can’t make it to CERN? Why not organize a virtual visit to the CMS and ATLAS experiments. 

The video in this post was co-produced by the CERN Education Group and Ellionogermaniki Agogi. It was supported by the Go-Lab and Inspiring Science Education Projects, co-funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme.