Finnish teachers chosen through StarT at Science on Stage festival 2019 – honorable mention to “Kalevala goes science”

Teachers from all around Europe travelled to Portugal last week to share their best educational practices with their European colleagues at the Science on Stage festival 2019. The teachers participating from Finland were chosen through the StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland. One of the Finnish teacher teams placed among the top best practices of Europe at the festival: the best educational practice “Kalevala goes science” by Johanna Eskelinen and Päivi Mustalampi received the jury’s “highly commended” honorable mention. 

450 European teachers gathered together at the Science on Stage festival 2019 between 31st of October and 3rd of November. Teachers presented over 200 best educational practices related to science, technology and mathematics. From all these 200 best practices the Finnish “Kalevala goes science” ranked among the best in Europe. The best practice was awarded with the “highly commended” honorable mention by the festival jury. Receiving the honorable mention is an impressive achievement, as the festival featured only teachers who had qualified through a selection organised in their country. In Finland, the selection of festival participants was made through StarT during the season of 2018-2019.


The best educational practice “Kalevala goes science” was represented by teachers Johanna Eskelinen and Päivi Mustalampi. In the picture they are presenting their work for a full hall on the main stage.

This year the festival was held in Cascais, Portugal, and teachers from 36 countries took part in it. Teijo Koljonen, Counsellor of Education from the Finnish National Agency for Education visited the festival and summarized its nature well:

”Science on Stage 2019 festival provides a variety of inspiring ideas for science projects, the demonstration of different phenomena and collaboration between different subjects for students of all ages. The event also gives teachers the opportunity to make new contacts and plan collaboration with teachers from different countries. I am glad that Finland participated at the festival with great projects again this year!”

Teijo Koljonen, Finnish National Agency for Education
“Kalevala goes science” was among of top best educational practices in Europe. The festival jury awarded the teaching practice with a “highly commended” honorable mention.

Mother tongue teachers joined to represent Finland at the science festival – interdisciplinarity was at the core of Finnish best educational practices 

The best educational practices of the Finnish representatives provided excellent models for the implementation of interdisciplinary teaching. For example, the inquiries carried out in “Kalevala goes science” started off from the Finnish national epic “Kalevala”, the myths of which were broken by the pupils by using science. The audience was amused by the unique research questions such as “Can lingonberries get you pregnant”, and the presentation inspired other teachers to consider collaboration between teachers of mother tongue or literature and science.

“Our project can serve as an opening for collaboration between science teachers and humanists. Many teachers came to tell us afterwards that collaboration between such different subjects has seemed like a difficult task, but that now they have an idea of where to start. We got good feedback for how easily our best practice can be adapted to different countries, and it sounded like it was easy for everyone to come up with a similar literary piece to start working with. ”

Johanna Eskelinen, Mother Tongue and Literature Teacher, Joutsa secondary school

Also another Finnish best practice, “Young people learning statistics” from Keminmaa comprehensive school, represented by Aira Karassaari and Hanna Littow, combined languages and ICT for statistical research. “Young people learning statistics” was also awarded with the “International LUMA StarT Education Award 2019” the StarT Gala 2019. Aira commented on the festival as follows:

“A tremendously inspiring event! So many like-minded people and new ideas. This festival is full of ideas, from which everyone can develop projects in their own style. It was also great to meet new international colleagues.”

Aira Karassaari, Keminmaa comprehensive school

Watch the video of “Young people learning statistics” here.

Aira Karassaari and Hanna Littow from Keminmaa Keskuskoulu introducing their best educational practice “Young people learning statistics”, in which students conducted research that combined statistics with languages and information and communication technologies.

Early childhood education was represented in the best educational practices of Finnish teachers, too. In the best practice of kindergarten Piilometsä called “Play a role and learn”, children play in different roles whilst carrying out inquiries in the surroundings of the kindergarten.

Watch Piilometsä’s video here.


Photo: Kindergarten Piilometsä

Finland was represented also by Kirsti Koski, Hannu Moilanen and Tom Nevanpää from the teacher training of school of the University of Jyväskylä. In their best practice called “Exercise, Well-Being and Measuring Course in Teacher Training School”, high school students explored conductivity, heart rate variability, breathing and acceleration by taking self-measurements. Check out the course here.

Jyväskylän normaalikoulu “Exercise, well-being and measuring course in teacher training school”. In the photo from left to right: Kirsti Koski, Hannu Moilanen ja Tom Nevanpää.
The whole Finnish team. Top row from left to right: Kirsti Koski, Hannu Moilanen, Teijo Koljonen (Opetushallitus), Kalle Vähä-Heikkilä, Tom Nevanpää, Aira Karassaari, Anette Markula. Middle row: Irma Hannula, Anniina Vimpari, Hanna Littow, Kaisu Pöyskö, Johanna Eskelinen ja Päivi Mustalampi. In the bottom row are children from kindergarten Piilometsä.

Networking with European colleagues 

“Networking plays a very important role at these festivals. The personal contacts created at the festivals are crucial, as they enable international collaboration between teachers. ”

Irma Hannula, Science on Stage Finland

The main purpose of the festival was to bring teachers together to share their good ideas and to create new things together. Finnish representatives were able to network with their European counterparts at the festivals, and much interest was shown towards their best practices.

Teacher collaboration is promoted in SonS also with a category called “Joint Projects”, where teachers from different countries can collaborate on joint projects. One of the Finnish representatives, Kalle Vähä-Heikkilä, was chosen to the festival through this selection. At the festival, Kalle presented a good teaching practice called “Physical properties of snow” in collaboration with his project partner, Iveta Štefancínová from Slovakia.

Kalle Vähä-Heikkilä from Finland and Iveta Štefancínová from Slovakia presenting their good teaching practice “Physical properties of snow”.

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