Pasteur for boys and girls, a novel project. Kickoff of a competition on fake information circulated over the internet and how to recognise it.

Presented at a press conference held at Rome La SapienzaUniversity on October 20, 2016, Pasteur for boys and girls is a novel project designed to help young people learn and recognise true science through a proactive and creative approach. The project is for middle-school and high-school kids and features a series of books and a nationwide competition titled Misinformation on the internet: learning to recognise it!. The deadline for entering the competition is January 31, 2017 and winners will be announced on the websites of the promoters (www.istitutopasteur.it and www.ibsafoundation.org) within February 28, 2017.
Promoted by the IBSA Foundation for scientific research and the Pasteur Institute Italy, the project received commendations from Italy’s Minister for Education, Universities and Research Stefania Giannini and  Italy’s Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin. The nationwide competition titled Misinformation on the internet: learning to recognise it!

The competition is for middle-school and high-school studentswho will participate in two separate sections, and entails submission by students of comic panels on the theme of fake information, especially fake science, circulated on the internet and how to recognise it. The goal is  educating young people to critically assess information they come across on the internetand helping them distinguish sites providing true science information from those peddling fake science. Students can enter the competition either as a team or individually and can submit up to six black-and-white or colour comic panels.

Competition: the judging panel and prizes
The judging panel will be composed of representatives from the IBSA Foundation for scientific research, the Pasteur Institute Italy, the Rome School of Comics and Carocci publishing house.
The schools submitting the best comics will win a cash prize for purchases of science materials and for setting up or boosting their science lab  – as well as optical (light) microscopes for their lab. The schools achieving one of the first three places in each section of the competition will also win a special one-day class featuring a session with a Pasteur Institute scientist opening the doors to his/her lab for students to perform experiments and participate in other hands-on activities, and a session with a Rome School of Comics professor teaching kids how to create comics, from writing the storyline to drawing panels.

Pasteur for boys and girls: the book series
Pasteur for boys and girls is also the title of a series of books (published by the Italian publishing house Carocci) that will be distributed for free in most Italian middle and high schools.Designed to make young people learn science in a playful way, each book features  scientific content authored by an expert in the given science field followed by comics on the same themein the second part of the book. The comics were drawn by people from the Rome School of Comics based on a story written by students. In the first book, titled Stem cell stories,  scientific content was written by Antonio Musarò, Professor of Histology and Embryology at Rome La Sapienza University, while the story for the comics was written by students from Poggiardo Middle School, Lecce. In the second book, titled Cops and robbers. Immunology and immunisation, the scientific part was authored by Professor Alberto Mantovani and Professor Angela Santoni, while the story for the comics was written by students from a comprehensive school located in a suburb of Rome.

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