The upper secondary schools in Lahti

Cultures meet among science

Read a student’s thoughts about the course, written by Satu Göös.

We participated in the Science 2 –course that consisted of two study modules lasting four days each. The first study module (7.9. – 10.9.2015) was held here in Lahti, our hometown. The second study module (16.11. – 19.11.2015) was held in St. Petersburg. The idea of the course was to give an introduction to aquatic ecosystems and environmental problems, including the means to prevent them. Fifteen Finnish and fifteen Russian students participated in the course.

Our first day together with the Russians was spent in playing introductory games in order for us to get to know each other. On the second day we traveled to Rautakankare cottage in Jalkaranta. There we were split into small groups consisting of both Russians and Finnish people. Each group was given a different area of study. For example, one of the groups went to Vesijärvi to measure water temperatures at different depths and another group was collecting benthic organisms. The benthic organisms and plankton collected by the groups were gathered for a research that was conducted the next day by the Department of Biosciences of the University of Helsinki. Some of the groups, for example the group studying the nutrients in the lake, were already conducting their own research in Rautakankare. Their subjects were, among others, the levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the lake.

On the next day we went to the Department of Bioscience and visited Heureka on the way. In Heureka we got to know to different types of rock and mining. The most memorable thing in Heureka for us, the students of Lyseo, was a movie called Pimeä Maailmankaikkeus (A Dark Universe) that was playing in the planetarium. The movie addressed space and the structure of it in the past and in the future. An interesting new thing for us was the dark matter. We learned that our universe is consists mostly of an unknown dark matter. When we got to the Department of Bioscience we attended a lecture by Petriina Köngäs about water systems and oxygen deficiency in them. After that we were allowed to examine the samples we had collected from Vesijärvi with the microscopes of the university under the guidance of Köngäs.

Our last day together here in Finland was more casual. We went to Pirunpesä (“The Devil’s Nest”) in Hollola. There we attended a tour led by Noora Kivikko. On the tour we got to hear about the past of Pirunpesä. It was formed from magma 2000 million years ago. Later the melting of a nearby ice lake had shaped the rock into a gorge. We were also told a bit more about the history of rocks. We left Pirunpesä to visit Sibeliustalo in the centre of Lahti. There we got to know more about the culture of Lahti than science.

 

The second study module was held in St. Petersburg. On the first day we visited the Youth Environmental Centre and water museum. In the water museum we learned what water is and where it is used. The museum also had a separate part that dealt with the passage of water. The idea was to follow the route of the water by walking during which we were told about the different steps the water goes through in the water network of St. Petersburg. Those included, for example, sewers, apartment buildings, and the way to a water purification plant.

Our second day went by visiting the Russian school and giving presentations about various topics including Vesijärvi. On the third day we visited the Southwest water purification plant. There we got to know how sewage is purified before it is released to sea. We were shown different phases of water purification, for example how ultraviolet rays were used to assist on the water purification and how crabs were used to measure the purity of the water. From the purification plant we headed back to the Youth Environmental Centre where we conducted various tests associated with water and its purity.

Attractions played a big part in our trip to Russia. We visited, for example, The State Hermitage, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Peter and Paul Fortress, and one of the deepest subway tunnels in the world. The attractions were unbelievably great, you cannot find buildings like those from Finland!

The course was a great experience to us all. On the course we also learned a lot more than mentioned above. In a short time period we learned how to get along with new and different people. The course provided us all new friends from Russia and Finland. Because of the international character of the course we were able to practice our English too. We, the students of Lyseo, recommend courses like this warmly! We also want to thank Julia Kurhinen and Saija Tillgren from Lahti Region Development LADEC Ltd and teachers Hanna Alhonmäki and Petri Ojala for making this trip possible!