For pupils

What is the Sci-napse project?
The Sci-napse project is a study of whether uncertain rewards in science make teaching more interesting and learning more effective.

What are uncertain rewards?
With uncertain rewards we are not sure of the outcome, such as in games of chance. Typically in school, teachers use consistent rewards where students receive consistent benefits (e.g. praise, marks) for achievement. However, recent neuroscience research suggests that uncertain rewards – where the rewards given do not necessarily relate to what you have achieved – may have benefits for learning.

Is it fair?
We think that using this approach may improve how you learn. Uncertain reward in the project is based on a team-based quiz game where you will be able to take a chance on doubling your points (or losing them) once you have a correct answer. The points only apply within the learning game.

How will it affect me?
Some science classes in your school will be taught normally, in others students will answer questions in teams, and others will work in teams any also have the opportunity to win or lose points by taking a chance. Classes will be allocated randomly to each type of teaching.

Why should I take part?
The science classes are part of your normal school work, which you have to do. However, you are contributing to research that will increase our understanding of the ways in which people learning and might make learning easier for lots of other young people.

What if I want to know more about the study?
You can talk to your teacher about the project and he or she should be able to answer your questions, or you can contact the research team here.