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Report about the Szabó Szabolcs Natural Sciences Challenge Cup of 2019

The Szabó Szabolcs Natural Sciences Challenge Cup took place in Veszprém, on November 15-16, 2019.


In spring 2018, Veszprém Kossuth Lajos Primary School was the best team from the countryside at the Kis Kavics Cup (, and they received a study trip special prize from our Foundation then. We have made the decision that time that we would jointly launch the Szabó Szabolcs Natural Sciences Challenge Cup, to be hosted by the Veszprém school for the first time by providing the venue and local organizing, while the Foundation undertakes the other part of organization and financing. We also found it essential that students from last year’s team should lead the preparation of tasks for this year’s competition, and we provided support to it.

This year, teams of 7th and 8th grade pupils from Batthyány Lajos Secondary School of Nagykanizsa, Tiszaparti Roman Catholic Primary and Secondary School of Szolnok, Pestszentimre Ady Endre Primary School, Ady Endre Secondary School of Nagyvárad (as returning team) participated at the competition, beside the team of the host Veszprém Kossuth Lajos Primary School.

The teams were expected to prepare and send a poster as the preliminary task, and they presented it during the competition. They also solved a test of five questions (problems and answers here, in Hungarian), then a kahoot of quick quiz questions (here, in Hungarian) and a tangram, based on animal figures to be constructed from plane figures closed the competition of Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

The Challenge Cup at Pestszentimre Ady Endre Primary School

The competition was full of excitement, and the order was very tight and changing during the day. Finally, with a minimal, one point difference, the team of Pestszentimre Ady Endre Primary School won the Challenge Cup, the study tour special prize, and the opportunity to organize the next competition in cooperation with the Foundation. Members of the team were: Tóth Anna, Remsei Gergely, Orbán Dominika, Konnerth Péter, coaching teacher Kabály Adrien.

The second place went to the host Veszprém Kossuth Lajos Primary School, members: Falus Eszter, Széplaki Zéta Zoltán, Nagy Flóra, Németh Levente, coaching teachers Zsámár Gyöngyi and Mészöly János. Third, still only a few points behind, was Tiszaparti Roman Catholic Primary and Secondary School of Szolnok, members: Juhász Csenge, Földi Albert, Győri Hanna Boróka, Zahola Kázmér, coaching teacher Tóth Imola. Fourth place went to Batthyány Lajos Secondary School of Nagykanizsa, members: Szél Petra, Lakner Tamás, Kerek Gréta, Bátorfi Balázs, coaching teacher Martonné Pálfalvi Katalin. Fifth was Ady Endre Secondary School of Nagyvárad, members: Forró Borbála, Halász Kristóf, Bimbó Zorka, Bihari Dániel Gergő, coaching teacher Bődi János.

Congratulations to the winner and to all teams, students and teachers. We hope we meet them, and others, next time in the 18th district of Budapest (the school of the winning team). We are grateful to Veszprém Kossuth Lajos Primary School that they were the host of the Challenge Cup and worked a lot on the preparation and realization, and a special great thank you to Nagyné Czaun Mariann, headmaster of the school, with whom we had a very good and successful cooperation in organizing the event – and who had been the coaching teacher of the team at the 2018 Kis Kavics Cup. We are also grateful to the sponsors who helped make this event possible: the Municipality of Veszprém, the Secondary School Dormitory of Veszprém and the Főnix Apartman House, and the Veszprém School District Center. We also thank Bambek Dávid, artist, and former student of Szabó Szabolcs, for the preparation of the challenge cup in its physical form.

The Chemistry Mobile Lab restarts!

In October 2019 we restarted the Chemistry Mobile Lab initiative, which was previously taken by Szabolcs to many rural school. Thanks to our sponsors and the participating Chemistry teachers who take the demonstrations to the schools, we are planning to present experiments in 100 smaller schools, mainly in rural areas, in the first year of the program re-launch (the 2019-20 school year). This would reach approx. 3000 students who would otherwise have little chance of seeing such presentations and learning from them. In some places, schools do not even have Chemistry teachers left.

“They expected me with great affection, the seventh and eighth graders were there. There is no chemistry teacher, the kids did not even see lab equipment before. They were a little scared at first, and then they warmed up nicely.”

“The presentation was very successful, the kids really enjoyed it, and they wish they had it another time again! This is a disadvantaged settlement, and unfortunately the 72-year-old colleague visiting the school from another place does not show any experiments. So I thought today that these children may not have seen experiments before other than these, and even that they may not see much experimentation in their further education, especially if they do not have chemistry education in their school. So I think this presentation has reached a very adequate place! Since this was my first occasion, I was really excited until my first experiment! Then I calmed down and had a great time, it was good to see the joy of the kids! Thank you so much for receiving the opportunity to do this!”

“I gave the presentation in a tiny village school, in eighth grade, one pupil was missing so there were nine kids. Because there were only a few pupils, they could make many experiments themselves. Their room did not allow for classroom experimentation, so it was a great pleasure for them that we took it to them. It was a real experience for me again!”

 “I gave the first presentation at my school. I presented it to my own students who are not disadvantaged in terms of chemistry because they have special biology orientation, with one additional chemistry class too. I was curious about their views. The preparation was very careful, thank you for that, a great thank you!! The students said that if I present these experiments at their former schools, the students there will have their mouths wide open, and even those agreed who had plenty of experiments in elementary school.”

“It is a very good initiative, the kids are literally hungry for experimentation. I involve students in some experiments, even non-explicit student-experiments. Unfortunately, many schools have a problem with the lack of specialized teachers. I arrived to a real host community. My small desk made during the break, which I made for better visibility and will take it with me for presentations, was now debuting.”

“Being a small school, the 7th and 8th grade kids (26 altogether) could watch the Mobile Lab presentation together. The school received me in the morning during school hours, I got one lesson and a break. There was no tap water in the classroom, so I carried it in a bottle with me. There was very little space available for preparing materials and tools and for the presentation. I had a really good time, and my conclusion from the kids’ activity was that they went to the next lesson with similar feelings.”

“I first presented the experiments at my own school, and the goal was to practice the experiments I had not done before during chemistry classes. For fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students, it was a three-hour ‘practice’ for myself to gain experience with new experiments. By the third hour of the afternoon, I had to specially request my colleagues to let the advanced math students come due to the level of their interest… In front of my students, I dared to “experiment”, that is, first to try the materials and descriptions of experiments I received. I did not want to make failures at external presentations later. Because of the finite amount of chemicals, I undertook to gain experience in front of my students. My students were eager to watch and experiment. The school headmaster (a chemistry teacher) also watched one of the presentations. Thinking of you, I have used and will use the chemicals and glassware I myself have available so as to help more colleagues to new tools later. The Bunsen burner is worth gold! I am grateful for the new ideas which I will use to promote the subject, as well as to promote physics.”

“The students were very enthusiastic and could be guided about the lessons and explanations of the experiments. Unfortunately, here also a travelling chemistry teacher colleague provides the classes, although the classroom is nice, well equipped, and ideal for holding chemistry classes.”

“Whichever experiment allows and if there are students applying, I call on them. They may be a bit timid at the beginning (lack of routine, having to stand in front of their peers), but they are skillful and proud that it was them who have done (a part of) the experiment and that they did it well. They are very excited about the student experiments.”

“The teacher turned to me asking me to come back to them next year, if possible. It was a great experience for all of us.”

“During the colleague’s well-structured lesson, talent development was present as well as catching up. The biggest challenge during the class is to raise and maintain the children’s attention, interest and motivation, which has been fully realized.”

“I set the duration of the session to two hours (the physics teacher didn’t go home for this reason). The secretary, a chemistry and physics colleague also attended the session. I set up four student experimenting groups, and made the smoke detector already covered. During the presentation I experienced again that I did not get (at all relevant) answers to my questions or problems. My loose, humorous style, accepting attitude was unusual, and they realized during the session that they could freely talk, ask, and have no fear.”

“They were very pleased with the presentation at the school, because they are not experimenting during chemistry classes here (the colleague teaches chemistry with agricultural engineering background). They welcomed the opportunity! They wish many supporters for the Foundation and expect to see us again next year! They also made videos and photos and will put it on the school’s website.”

“The room is not equipped for experimentation (neither gas nor water tap was available). However, the enthusiastic students were disciplined. A tenth-grader helped me in the framework of community service.”

“This mobile lab is a fantastic thing!!! Thanks for the opportunity of being a part. The children, and last but not least, the teachers, call us back with great affection and ask us to continue.”

“I used to travel and teach three classes a week in this school a few years ago because they didn’t have a chemistry teacher colleague, so I knew the local conditions. There are indeed disadvantaged students there, and there are not many job opportunities. The headmistress organized the session, 26 interested students came, but unfortunately no more could fit into the classroom. The travelling colleague who teaches chemistry from another settlement was absent due to other commitments, but two local teachers were present. Aside from the fact that I could hardly rely on subject knowledge (although I was expecting it), the session was successful, enjoyed by students and colleagues alike, and they didn’t want to go for a snack break, so I ended the session after an hour and forty minutes. By the way, I enjoyed it too. The next day, the school’s community site featured photos taken by colleagues on their own phones. I assume it’s not a problem if I take the opportunity to mention physics aspects as well.”

Teachers participating in the program will use the manual provided here (in Hungarian) for presentations. Naturally, the ideas and descriptions in the material are free to use.

We are grateful for the generous financial support from Richter Gedeon Plc., Bau-Haus Ltd., Japonica Holding Ltd. and 77 Elektronika Ltd., donations from private individuals, discounts received from Szkarabeusz Ltd. at procurement, and the help from several pharmacies. We are currently in talks with other donors. We are counting on the assistance of additional collaborating partners for the sustainability and expansion of the program and its delivery to even more regions.

Between October 2019 and March 2020, the initiative reached schools at 68 towns and villages: Karancsság, Pacsa, Kétsoprony, Endrefalva, Pécs, Ságújfalu, Bócsa, Tokod, Tát, Tázlár, Eger, Zirc, Vásárosnamény, Zalakomár, Kisláng, Leányvár, Lenti, Kisnána, Gérce, Zalaegerszeg, Nagykanizsa, Káloz, Bogád, Nagyesztergár, Salgótarján, Nagyszénás, Komló, Pusztadobos, Somogyvár, Fonyód, Veszprém, Pincehely, Kelebia, Őriszentpéter, Besenyőtelek, Keszthely, Kunágota, Csaroda, Balatonszentgyörgy, Balatonfenyves, Gyöngyösfalu, Balatonszemes, Dég, Nagyrécse, Csapi, Páhi, Jánosháza, Sóskút, Galambok, Cered, Nagysáp, Nyírmada, Bagod, Dorog, Karancskeszi, Vatta, Herceghalom, Piliscsév, Balatonlelle, Lengyeltóti, Becsehely, Szentgotthárd, Ilk, Kömpöc, Sorkifalud, Bükkösd, Szabadszentkirály and Lepsény. You can find some reports on the webpages or facebook pages of the host schools too, for example hereherehere, or here. The program has reached approximately 2000 pupils since its launch in October.

We are going to continuously report about the program, the schools covered and the experience gathered.

„Kis Kavics” Cup

The Veszprém Team

Our Foundation supports students from rural areas to get to the “Kis Kavics” Cup, and gives out a special prize at the Cup. This is a complex natural sciences and mathematics competition for teams comprising students of 7th and 8th grade (13-14 years), organized every March by the Budapest Fazekas Mihály Elementary and High School. Károly Kőváry (“Kavics”) was a definitive teacher of mathematics of Fazekas for decades, and his name is remembered through the “Kavics” Cup for older students and the “Kis (Small) Kavics” Cup for those in elementary school.

Our Foundation strives to help raise attention of teams of talented students from outside Budapest and to support their access to the competition. Therefore, we pay travel expenses to teams from the rural areas so that this should not create an obstacle for them.

The Foundation gives out a special prize (study trip) at the Cup. We take the students of the age of 13-14 years to such places in the country dealing with chemistry, physics, biology and geography, which may give them further motivation to study. Chemical plants, observatories, laboratories, research institutes and similar organizations may be visited. The Foundation arranges the trip and covers travel and other expenses.

Teams supported and awarded at the 2018 „Kis Kavics” Cup The team from Veszprém

Workshop about the future of Natural Sciences education

On October 4, 2019, we had a discussion at the Hungarian Natural History Museum about the future of Natural Sciences education, with the main question: who will teach children Natural Sciences in schools in 10-15 years. The theme of the workshop can be found here.

Nearly sixty people participated in the conversation. Elementary and high school teachers, university professors and education researchers, graduate students for teaching profession, high school students, representatives of companies from the for profit sector, and other interested people came along. This provided an opportunity for the different groups to talk, debate and build relationships within each group and with other sectors.

The participants at the end of the day left with some tangible action points, and they begin to work on implementation:

  • Develop and spread practices where student is mentoring another student. The best chance the school has to orient students towards the teaching profession is with those pupils who equally like the subject matter and the activity of explaining to and helping their fellow students. Schools themselves and in cooperation (even primary and secondary schools) can continue to think, move, develop and share good practices.
  • High school students should receive more guidance for the teaching profession. This is a task for both high schools and teacher training universities.
  • More scholarship programs may be needed for high school students considering the teaching profession, for graduate students preparing to become a teacher, and for already active teachers too. Such an incentive can help starting a career, staying in the profession, and avoiding burnout. It was agreed that while nobody could take charge of the necessary financial circumstances instead of the state, but representatives of the for profit sector can take coordinating and exemplary action.

The above (and other emerging ideas) require the cooperation of different stakeholders. During the workshop, it became clear that there was determination and expectation from all sides. Schoolteachers and students, representatives of teacher training universities and the business community left at the end of the day with the resolve to look for and actively work on specific collaborative opportunities. In addition to its supporting and coordinating role, our Foundation may also be tasked with making a map of everything – programs, finished materials, initiatives, newsletters, etc. – exist already. Sharing access to these can be beneficial to all parties. In addition, we have already received some ideas for improvement of the Mobile Lab project just starting.

Report about the Learning and Teaching Methods and Knowledge Technology Section of the 34th Nationwide Conference of Scientific Student Associations in 2019

The Learning and Teaching Methods and Knowledge Technology Section of the 34th Nationwide Conference of Scientific Student Associations was held between April 15th and 17th, 2019 in Esztergom, at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

During the opening ceremony of the Conference, Bereczky-Zámbó Csilla, Muzsnay Anna és Szeibert Janka, students at Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Science, prize winners from our Foundation in 2018, received the opportunity to report about their participation and experience at the 42nd Annual Meeting of Psychology of Mathematics Education held in Umea, Sweden, in July 2018. You can see the presentation here (PDF, PPTX). The report provided the participants of the Conference with relevant and interesting information about the details of a high level international conference.

At the Learning and Teaching Methods and Knowledge Technology Section of Nationwide Conference of Scientific Student Associations, 158 students participated and presented their work, altogether 149 lectures were held in 22 divisions. Our Foundation offered a special prize again this year to support participation and holding a lecture at an international conference of teaching methodology or education technology in natural sciences or mathematics. The decision about the winner was made by the Professional Committee of the Learning and Teaching Methods and Knowledge Technology Section.

Last year’s awardees of the Foundation, Bereczky-Zámbó Csilla, Muzsnay Anna és Szeibert Janka, have again come up with an outstanding performance. In four divisions (Theory and practice of developing study materials in teaching special subjects; Methodology of mathematics teaching; Learning and support in higher education; Integration of learning areas), they held five lectures, and gained two first prizes, one second prize, and two special prizes (in one of the papers, together with Török Tímea, also of Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Science). The Professional Committee could hardly have made any other decision but awarding the Foundation’s prize to support the international conference participation to them.

Congratulations to all of them and their supervisor, Dr. Szabó Csaba, Professor of the Department of Algebra and Number Theory of Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Science, Institute of Mathematics. We hope that our support may contribute to their successful career of teaching and research, and we will be very interested to hear their insights about another international experience.

Annual Reports

Annual reports:

Szabó Szabolcs Natural Sciences Challenge Cup

Criteria for evaluating preliminary task and poster presentation

Criteria for evaluating a preliminary task

  • Science: the scientific accuracy of texts and figures
    • points to be awarded: 0-10 points
  • Wholeness, interdisciplinarity: completeness of the introduction of the phenomenon, how much it approaches the question from several branches of science
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points
  • Clarity: how transparent is the poster, how easy it is to find the main messages
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points
  • Structure: the extent to which the presentation of the phenomenon is traceable, logically structured, coherent
    • points to be awarded: 0-10 points
  • Visual appearance: quantity and relevance of pictures and charts, referencing in the text, readability of text; creativity and aesthetics
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points
  • Curiosity: exciting presentation of the phenomenon and arousing interest in the topic
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points
  • Language: correct language, expressiveness, style
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points

Criteria for evaluating the poster presentation

During the presentation of the posters, the jury will evaluate only the performance according to the following criteria:

1. Content Considerations

  • Science: the scientific accuracy and correctness of the texts and illustrations in the presentation
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points
  • Comprehensibility: the extent to which the phenomenon under study can be understood based on the presentation
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points
  • Correlation with the poster: the factual material is the same as the poster material, serves as an extract
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points

2. Rhetoric

  • The structure of the performance: divided into logical units, among which there is a connection
    • points to be awarded: 0-10 points
  • Language, Stylistics: Applying scientific style, understanding and correct use of terms
    • points to be awarded: 0-5 points
  • Volume, speaker stance, speech rate
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points
  • Elaboration of the presentation: the speaker not only reads it, but talks about it in a coherent way
    • points to be awarded: 0-3 points

Download the evaluation document as PDF.

Preliminary Task

Exercise: Make A0 posters on a given complex Natural Sciences topic.

The stated theme of the 2019-2020’s academic year:

Realization of physical laws in the movement of living things (changing places and position)

We provide some specific topic suggestions, but we are of course very pleased if the contestants come up with a topic themselves:

  • Gekko on the wall
  • Birds
  • Fish swimming, sinking and rising
  • Nautiloids
  • Basiliscus
  • Gorgon
  • Common Water Strider
  • Flying squirrel
  • Kangaroo, grasshopper jump
  • Snake crawling
  • Movement of plants (upward growth, growth towards light, contraction by touch, etc.)
  • Poplar leaf vibration
  • Flight of plant fruits

The most important goal is that the teams present the realization, characteristics and particularities of these organisms in terms of movement from the perspective of multiple natural sciences branches (interdisciplinary processing).

The poster should correspond the following double expectation:

  • raise attention (be well illustrated with pictures and other visuals, text should be short, concise, to the point and readable);
  • informative (not just figures but full textual description of the phenomenon processed and presented).

Formal requirements:

  • Size A0
  • The poster can be made by hand (glued, handmade illustrations, handwritten but legible text), or edited and printed on a computer.
  • The poster should have a title, followed by the name of the creators and the school!
  • Include the literature used

In evaluating the posters, the jury will consider the following aspects:

  • science: the scientific accuracy of texts and figures;
  • wholeness, interdisciplinarity: completeness of the introduction of the phenomenon, how much it approaches the question from several branches of science;
  • clarity: how transparent is the poster, how easy it is to find the main messages;
  • structure :the extent to which the presentation of the phenomenon is traceable, logically structured, coherent;
  • visual appearance: quantity and relevance of pictures and charts, referencing in the text, readability of text; creativity and aesthetics
  • curiosity: exciting presentation of the phenomenon and arousing interest in the topic
  • language: correct language, expressiveness, style

Submitting the poster:

  • The poster must be sent electronically (by sending a photo is acceptable) by the teams by 6 November 2019 to;
  • The poster must be brought to the competition and suspended at the space provided, and presented orally within a 5 minute time frame. At this point, the jury will only judge the performance.

Recommended literature for preparation:


Preliminary Announcement

Announced by: Foundation for Natural Sciences Education in Memoriam Szabó Szabolcs (

Objectives of the competition: Primary school pupils primarily from the countryside and across the border would compete in solving natural sciences problems and challenges.

Participants: Teams of four members, coming from 7th and 8th grade of Hungarian and trans- border schools (Teams must have two seventh and eighth graders and two boys and girls each).

Time: November 15-16, 2019 (Friday and Saturday)

Venue: Kossuth Lajos Primary School, Veszprém (8200 Veszprém, Budapest út 11.)


  • no registration fee
  • expenses of accommodation and meals will be paid by the Foundation
  • with the involvement of sponsors
  • support to travel expenses may be requested

Expected challenges: Students are expected to solve different kinds of problems so that they can amply demonstrate their skills and knowledge.

1. Preliminary challenge: To produce a poster in an interdisciplinary natural sciences topic, which this year is: “manifestation of the laws of physics in the movement of living creatures”. We will provide ideas on the webpage of the competition (, but the teams are welcome to develop their own ideas.
The size of the poster should be A0 and prepared by hand or computer. The poster should include the names and school of the authors, and the applied forms. The digital version of the poster (which may also be a photo) will have to be sent by November 6 to e-mail address. The posters will have to be brought to the competition. Criterion for the assessment of the posters will be published at , based on which the jury will evaluate the products.

2. Poster presentation: Teams will present their posters at the venue. This time the jury will only evaluate the mode of presentation, based on pre-announced criterion (

3. Written round: Teams will solve problems linked to experiments and interdisciplinary topics, in 90 minutes. Only calculators and periodic tables may be used.

4. Oral round: Students will answer questions in a quiz set-up. In this round, speed is also essential.

We will recommend literature (articles, textbooks) for the preparation on the competition’s webpage (

Preliminary agenda:
November 15, 2019, Friday afternoon and evening: arrival, registration, written round, evening cultural program and fun.
November 16, 2019, Saturday morning: poster presentation, quiz, oral round, announcement of results

We provide accommodation, meals (dinner, breakfast, and lunch), and free time program, for the students and one accompanying teacher.

Awards: The best team will win the Cup until the next round of the Challenge Cup, and the members will receive a prize of a study trip. We will strive to give out awards for each round separately too. Participants may receive gifts of our sponsors. The winner team receives the right to organize the next round of the Szabó Szabolcs Challenge Cup. This is not an obligation, and schools may apply if they are unable to undertake this. However, we would encourage them and give all help and support in organizing the next event.

Preliminary declaration of intent: Applications for the competition will take place in September 2019. We would like to receive preliminary declarations of intent by April 15, 2019, from schools that plan to nominate a team. These can be sent to:

Further information: Will be available on the webpage of the Challenge Cup (

The complete announcement can be downloaded as a PDF file.

What We Took and What We Brought

Report on participating at international conferences

The Foundation for Natural Sciences Education in Memoriam Szabó Szabolcs published a tender in March 2018 to support participation and holding a lecture at an international conference. We awarded stipends to four young researchers. The students reported about their work presented at the conferences and their experience at an event of the “Methodology Tales” series, organized by the Scientific Student Association of Eötvös Loránd University Natural Sciences Faculty on November 8, 2018. The title of the event was „What We Took and What We Brought”.

The “Methodology Tales” series operates within the framework of the Learning and Teaching Methods and Knowledge Technology Section of the National Council of Scientific Student Associations, and is organized by the Mathematics Knowledge Theory and Psychology Research Group. Its aim is to provide a permanent scientific forum for those in teacher education. Its success is underlined by the fact that several projects initiated by the „Tales” received awards at Nationwide Conferences of Scientific Student Associations.

Presentation were held by:

Edina Malmos (Debrecen University, participant at the 6th Teaching & Education Conference of the International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences in Vienna, Austria,

Csilla Bereczky-Zámbó, Anna Muzsnay and Janka Szeibert (Eötvös Loránd University, participants at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education in Umea, Sweden,

Malmos Edina

First, Edina Malmos presented her research titled „THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE PROBLEM-SOLVING BEHAVIOUR AND PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE OF BIOLOGY STUDENTS”, which she presented at the International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences6th Teaching & Education Conference in Vienna, Austria, in October 2018. The main topic of the research is the question of link between problem solving skills and lexical knowledge. Edina’s presentation covered not only the research but, more generally, her experience at the conference, including facultative programs.

Bereczky-Zámbó Csilla, Muzsnay Anna és Szeibert Janka

As regards the second conference report, here we supported a joint participation of a team of three students. At the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education 42th Annual Meeting in Umea, Sweden, in July 2018, 627 presentations of approximately 1000 authors took place, which covered a broad spectrum of mathematics education presently and in the future and new trends. Detailed presentations of individual research areas were held as well as discussions of more specific, shorter topics. Poster presentations and personal consultations were also used in presenting research results. The team we provided financial support to had the opportunity to hold one lecture presentation and have two poster presentations, the topic of which, with the title „Testing is the mother of knowledge”, was considered as a novelty among the conference topics.

Based on the reports, the most important takeaway from the conferences is that methodology research in Hungary is behind the international elite to a significant extent, both as regards volume and coverage of methodology. It is very important therefore that we can share the topics and experience of similar conferences in Hungarian education, and raise attention and interest among further students in methodology research.  This way, we can help develop education standards by adjusting the structure and methodology of education to the demand of a fast changing world. Based on what we have heard, there are good topics and interested students, so it is essential that the importance of methodology research gain more acceptance.

Our Foundation would like to help and support university students interested in education methodology, in order to secure an international audience to present their research and for them to gain experience and inspiration for further work. Therefore, the Foundation has published its next offer for a special prize among participating students at the Learning and Teaching Methods and Knowledge Technology Section of the Nationwide Conference of Scientific Student Associations in 2019, to support again participation and holding a lecture at an international conference of teaching methodology or education technology in natural sciences or mathematics:

Finally, this is what Anna, Csilla and Janka wrote to us:“We have experienced that if we want to fully take advantage of the possibility of participating at such a large conference, then it is very tiring but at the same time provides such a depth and breadth of information and new knowledge which is simply unavailable at university courses. So we are especially helpful for the possibility and support.”

Memories by Ildikó Hobinka

Szabolcs Szabó (1966–2017)

Szabolcs Szabó, our friend and colleague who died at a shockingly young age in February 2017, was a chemistry teacher at the Budapest Fazekas Mihály and then at Városmajori High School, and the recipient of the Prize for Hungarian Chemistry Education.

I got to know Szabolcs in 1981, at his age of 14 as a freshman at Fazekas High School, at that time as his teacher. From then on, we worked a lot together until almost to his death. He was a talented and diligent student who liked to make experiments in our school lab in preparation for competitions. Already as a freshman, he reached the national finals of Irinyi János Chemistry Competition in Győr. Then he gained 3rd prize in his senior year at the National High School Competition in chemistry, while also being successful in mathematics and physics. He was also an active sportsman and made friendships here for a lifetime too. He understandably ended up as a natural sciences teacher, and graduated at Eötvös Loránd University as a chemistry-mathematics-physics teacher. The management of Fazekas was glad to have him back immediately to teach at his alma mater, as we well knew that his professional qualification was excellent while the science and art of teaching was in his blood. Szabolcs was my direct colleague for 17 years.

In line with one of the main profiles of the school, he recognized and supported in every possible way the students to deploy their talent. He got involved in the extracurricular chemistry activities at once in his first year, and five of his students reached the national final of Irinyi János Chemistry Competition. He had students in the Irinyi finals every year; more than 40 students altogether participated successfully during his Fazekas years. Also during these years, more than 30 of his students reached the finals at the National High School Competition in chemistry, 17 of whom were among the top 10 finalists. One of his students got a golden and a silver medal at the International Chemistry Olympics in two consecutive years. All these successes made him even more enthusiastic. With his students, he got also involved into project competitions of environmental protection – they received the bronze medal at the International Environmental Project Olympiad in 1999 and gained the possibility to participate at the environmental protection world competition in Hanover in 2000. His students received first prizes at the Nationwide Conference of Scientific Student Associations in 1999 and 2004.

He continuously followed the latest literature in chemistry, tried all new experiments, and learned all new information. He was perhaps the first to learn all details of the Obendrauf syringe experimental techniques, which he then introduced into the everyday practice of his teaching, and educated his teacher colleagues as well. We led the continuative training of chemistry teachers in Budapest for long years together, and we passed on our knowledge about new chemistry pedagogical methods also in regional education in the country. We started the “mobile lab” concept, driving around the country (in our own car), carrying chemistry tools and reagents, so that the joy of experimenting could reach remote, more disadvantaged places. Szabolcs even got to Csíkszereda (Transsylvania, Romania) to the Bolyai Summer Academy, to present low cost experimentation to teacher colleagues of that region. All in all, he was an excellent teacher and a superb colleague. To award his successful activities, he received the Prize for Hungarian Chemistry Education in 2005.

At a later stage, the requirements of his family and his search for new challenges drove him to applied informatics for a short period of time. This did not turn out to be a lucky choice, as he did not find his place as well in his new environment at an insurance company as previously at school with students. Although he found the joy of being a chemistry teacher again for a short time at Városmajori High School, problems in his family life led to bouts of mental and physical illness. And now he unexpectedly left his family, friends, colleagues, and his ever-passionate students.

On behalf of all my chemistry teacher colleagues, I must say farewell to my kind student and colleague with a broken heart.

Ildikó Hobinka Published in: Középiskolai Kémiai Lapok, 44. évf. (2017) 3. sz. 181–182.

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