A nationwide search has been launched for six curious and inventive children to join a Wonder Panel which will help create a new generation of science books. UCD Research and Innovation are looking for ‘stretchy thinkers’, children full of wonder who enjoy figuring things out, to take part in a unique gathering that will help create the 2018 series of Science Apprentice books.

In the weekly Science Apprentice series, published by University College Dublin (UCD) and supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), readers are brought on an interactive journey from how things are made, super bodies, virtual and augmented reality to clean cities and all topics to do with the air.

Throughout the books, distributed with the Irish Independent, Irish experts are on hand to explain concepts and answer questions as we uncover some of the big ideas that are changing our lives.

“We are now looking for six children aged between 8-12 to contribute to the 2018 series of Science Apprentice books,” said Alex Boyd, Project Manager, Public Engagement and Outreach, UCD Research and Innovation.

“In 2016, our highly-successful Science Apprentice series of five fun books were a hit with readers, and encouraged children and adults of all ages to explore the science, technology, engineering and mathematics of the world around us.”

“Our UCD and Irish Independent Wonder Panel advisors will meet a number of times to tease out the ideas in the books in a fun way, with their parents and teachers being offered an opportunity to join in.”

Participation will involve three trips to UCD on Friday afternoons, April 20, May 18 and June 22.

Alex Boyd added, “The Wonder Panel will meet the scientists involved in the project and work with them in figuring out how to create the best books possible. The panel will also help the writer develop our stories and help our designer with the page and character design.”

Two of the Wonder Kids will become characters themselves in the books, joining established characters Phil, Izzy and Rover the dog on their exploration though Irish STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“We can learn a lot from stretchy thinkers. They help us to stretch our understanding of the world, by asking more questions and trying new things,” said Sorcha Browne, a PhD student at the UCD School of Education who is developing a set of workshops and teacher resources as part of the Science Apprentice project.

If your child would like to be involved in this creative adventure, simply go to www.independent.ie/wonderpanel. Closing date for applications is Friday, 16 March.

The four 2018 Science Apprentice Books will be available weekly with the Irish Independent from 3 November.

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