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The Educational Role of Geology Olympiads in Spain: Promotion of Geological Heritage and Geoconservation in Youngsters


The aim of this study is to analyse the evolution of and educational interest in the Spanish Geology Olympiads after ten editions of this initiative. The primary purpose of Geology Olympiads is to encourage students to acquire earth sciences knowledge by highlighting its importance in the current world. Geology Olympiads have been one of the initiatives to encourage a slow but steady recovery in the number of students interested in pursuing earth sciences degrees. In addition, this initiative puts university teachers and students in contact with those from pre-university levels, improving the exchange of ideas and teaching materials related to geology. This also motivates students and promotes the value of geological heritage and the importance of geodiversity conservation. The results show an increase in the number of participants; more male than female students gained access to the national phase, with boys being those who occupied the winning positions. In this way, in all editions, the highest score in the individual phase was obtained by one of the participating male students. Males also always obtain an average score higher than the average obtained by participating females. Other results show a greater number of questions about the internal and external geodynamics of the planet in the tests as well as a progressive increase in focus on issues related to geological heritage and regional geology in group tests. Finally, the total average has been less than 50 points in only one edition, so it can be assumed that, in general, the knowledge of the participants is acceptable.

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The authors would like to thank the efforts of all the people who have been involved in the organisation of the Spanish Geology Olympiads during these first ten editions. The financial support for this investigation in the frame of project CGL2015-69805-P, the Spanish Association for the Teaching of Earth Sciences (AEPECT) and the research group of the University of Alcalá: Teaching of Earth Sciences (CCEE2008/R02) are gratefully acknowledged. We would like to thank Dr. Manuel Megías for the English style and grammar review and two anonymous reviewers for their comments, which helped improve this paper.

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Correspondence to Omid Fesharaki.

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Fesharaki, O., Calonge, A. & López Carrillo, M.D. The Educational Role of Geology Olympiads in Spain: Promotion of Geological Heritage and Geoconservation in Youngsters. Geoheritage 12, 96 (2020).

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  • Earth sciences
  • Education
  • Gender differences
  • Geodiversity
  • Geology
  • Secondary school