Out of the classroom to learn about water and life
It is no surprise that pupils love the idea of trading a day of study in the classroom for a theme day at Olkiluoto.
However, the water theme days for seventh-graders from the Eurajoki lower secondary school were about more than just having fun as guests of TVO and Posiva. The pupils learned a lot about water purification, taking and analysing water samples and the daily work of various professions.
All four seventh-grade classes took their turn to visit Olkiluoto during October and November. In the morning, the programme included taking various water samples, guided by TVO staff, and in the afternoon, analysing them as instructed by Posiva employees.
Among other things, the pH, conductivity, temperature, and amounts of oxygen and chlorine dissolved in the water were measured in the samples at Posiva's research laboratory. The results clearly showed the differences between, for instance, water taken from the Olkiluoto plant and water lifted from deep inside the bedrock.
“In addition to analysing water samples, it is great that young pupils get to see genuine work outside school and to familiarise themselves with the work of different professions. One goal of the school curriculum is to bring young people into contact with working life and the society around them”, comments Pirjo Niemensivu, a teacher at the Eurajoki school.
Study natural sciences and apply for a job at Olkiluoto!
In addition to the seventh-graders, eighth-grade pupils visit Olkiluoto every year on the radiation theme day, and ninth-grade pupils on the energy production theme day.
Cooperation between TVO, Posiva and the Eurajoki school has been going on for a long time in terms of theme days. The activities started years ago as class sponsorship, which has been extended into theme days for all grades.
“With the help of Posiva, we want to increase cooperation between companies and schools so that pupils can familiarise themselves with working life. This kind of ‘learning by doing’ method is quite rewarding for both parties”, says Merja Heinonen, TVO's visits manager.
Pauliina Alho, Posiva's research coordinator, directed the analysis of water samples and took the pupils to Posiva's rock hall to see drill core samples. In addition, pupils received an information package on the underground research facility ONKALO.
“The pupils were very interested in the environment and working conditions inside ONKALO. Anyone interested in this kind of work in the future should study geology and natural sciences”, Alho said.
Niemensivu supports the school's close cooperation with TVO and Posiva in the future as well. She says that the theme days at Olkiluoto are quite popular among the school's personnel and pupils.
“I was very happy myself to see how excited the pupils were during the water theme day.”