ConnActions: Education and Industry to improve Science among Youth


The project has been developed for 80 students – 16-year-olds – from the Secondary School Santorre di Santarosa (Turin). It has seen the collaboration of the University of Turin (degree course in Pharmacy), Municipal Pharmacies of the City of Turin, and private companies: Procemsa, Candioli Pharmaceuticals, Abc Farmaceutici, Reynaldi Pharmaceuticals.

It  was inspired by the OSOS Open Schooling Model: “to provide a powerful framework for school leaders to engage, discuss and explore how their schools need to evolve, transform and reinvent; how schools will facilitate open, more effective and efficient co-design, co-creation, and use of educational content (both from formal and informal providers), tools and services for personalized science learning and teaching; how schools can become innovation incubators and accelerators”.

The specific aims of the project was to increase the students’ motivation and interest in science, to promote collaboration between schools and local stakeholders and to improve the co-division of experience in teaching science.

The involvement of the territory in the educational path have been obtained through the following actions:

  • Planning and definition of internships in collaboration with company tutors
  • Comparison with parents and sharing of paths
  • Testimonials from external professionals
  • Involvement of parents who make themselves available to present their professional activity
  • Training course on workplace safety
  • Training course on company organization
  • Principles of science communication and dissemination
  • Company visits
  • Disclosure of experience through multimedia

During the year of developing the project, students have been involved in different activities inside and outside the school:

  • Courses concerning safety at work
  • Lessons by the university experts about production, use and classification of pharmaceutic and cosmetic products
  • Preliminary meetings with experts to explore the path in the company
  • Visits to companies
  • Inquiry-based learning in the school laboratories on the extraction of essential oils, synthesis of salicylic acid, production of syrup
  • 2 weeks of internships in private companies, public bodies, laboratories involved in pharmaceutical production or commerce.

According to the STEM-Alliance indication, business partners support the school to:

  • Project the learning units to be carried out by students during the internship activities
  • Monitor student activity by identifying business tutors
  • Complete an internship booklet and final evaluation of the students

In students’ words:

“This was my first working experience and I think it was amazing. I met great people that explained to me lots of interesting things. I loved the atmosphere that my colleagues created so much. I liked seeing that a chemist is not only a person who reads a prescription and sells medicinal products but a chemist has to listen to the patient and find the best treatment for his/her problems.”

“I found the first week tiring because I was not used to standing for so many hours. Thanks to this experience I have my first approach to the world of work and I understand that it is necessary to respect the schedules of job. I realized how hard it is to work so many hours a day, but it was a very positive experience, interesting and educational. In my opinion this experience was useful and inherent to the course of study that I am doing.”

“In this period I understood a lot of things about drugs and about the world of work. I enjoyed in this experience because I found funny and nice doctors.”

“My experience of alternating school and work was fun and challenging. The first day I arrived and I was entrusted to one of the two warehouse keepers. Nobody explained me how the pharmacy worked or what the various tasks were. Initially it was difficult to integrate and settle, but with the passing of the days everything went better. I think the fun part was working with the celiac department manager. She was very nice and very friendly, she had just arrived like me so I helped her to arrange the department and the products. During the two weeks I did a lot of items like recording the products that were coming, take the products in stock and those exposed to the public, measuring the pressure to customers and other small tasks. From this experience I learned more than anything else how to approaching with new people in a field of work out, at the scholastic and pharmacological level it has left me no signs or new knowledge.”





Video by students


Link to the OSOS Project


This article is based on a poster, presented at the 3rd Scientix conference. It is available here:


The pictures belong to the author.

Author: Maria Zambrotta

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