On the 20th of may, several of our BM Ugr team members (Alejandra Marful, Antonio Iniesta, Melodie Bellegarda, Marta Rivera, Marta Reyes and Cristina López-Rojas) paid a virtual visit to Gómez Moreno Elementary School. This elementary school is located in the historic Albaicín neighborhood and is especially relevant to our project due the multiculturality of the students who walk its halls. It is possibly one of the elementary schools in Granada with the most bilingual and multilingual children. In addition, this elementary school brings together many different nationalities.

We gave talks to 1st grade, 3rd grade and 6th grade students, and our topics of focus were the scientific method, “what is bilingualism?”, the importance of all languages within the bilingual spectrum, and the truths and myths about bilinguals. In addition, we were able to do some experiment demos that we usually do in our laboratory, which showed the students some bilingual mechanisms and phenomenons, such as language co-activation and switching costs. We didn’t forget our project’s transversal objective in which we highlight the importance of women and girls in science. Finally, the students were able to see some of the techniques we use in our laboratory through videos about magnetic resonance and EEG and well as a live demo with an EEG cap.

The class with the younger students listened to a fun story in various languages (Spanish, English, and Arabic) to emphasize the importance of all languages and explain how languages reorganize and restructure the brain of people they know. At the end of the session, we knew we had established a strong and enriching connection with the students because they were very active in a round of questions and a debate. We received many interesting questions about how the brain works and how to become a scientist.

As a thank you and to help with our dissemination purpose, all the boys and girls received a little gift. We gave them a light up pen and a pen with four different ink colors with a message printed on the side #iambilingual

After the session, we challenged the 1st graders to a drawing competition where they had to represent the talk we gave them with a drawing. We wanted these drawings to decorate our laboratory and disseminate on social media. There was lots of enthusiasm and participation. With the drawings we received, we’ve created a mural in our laboratory, so now the students from Gómez Moreno form part of our lab! The 3rd and 5th graders participated in a writing competition, where they had to write a short story about “The city of languages”. We selected the 3 best stories for each class and the winners were awarded prizes for their creative work: a notebook with a pencil-case from Bilingualism Matters Ugr.

t was a beautiful day and it was exciting to be able to bring science to young people who are the future of the world, and be able to awaken in them curiosity for languages and research. We won’t forget this experience and we hope that we have planted a scientific seed in the boys and girls from this school.