Boosting science education at school Erasmus Project

General information for the Boosting science education at school Erasmus Project

Boosting science education at school Erasmus Project
July 7, 2020 12:00 am

Project Title

Boosting science education at school

Project Key Action

This project related with these key action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices

Project Action Type

This project related with this action type : Strategic Partnerships for school education

Project Call Year

This project’s Call Year is 2017

Project Topics

This project is related with these Project Topics: Key Competences (incl. mathematics and literacy) – basic skills; Natural sciences; Pedagogy and didactics

Project Summary

Project partners believe that it is crucial to bridge the gap between schools and science. It is widely known that across EU countries the achievements in science are low, with more than 20% of young Europeans not reaching a minimum level of basic skills (source: latest OECD PISA survey 2012). Another relevant data is that “a large proportion of primary teachers appear to have had little training in teaching science and may sometimes lack confidence in teaching the subject”. Due to the shortage of prepared teachers, many schools do not include in their educational paths experimental phases and inquiry-based methods. As a result, school staff needs to be trained in order to adopt inquiry-based and other proven methods for more effective science teaching. This could help teachers in better preparing their pupils, involving them in different scientific activities and making science more attractive.
The project aimed at developing an exchange of best practices between schools and organizations active in the field of promoting science for all, and in particular, among schools, in order to create synergies between the education and scientific world. The project intended to promote excellence in teaching and learning science in schools through the introduction of non-formal methods and the reform of traditional curricula.
The project aimed also at encouraging communication between teachers, scientists, and association involved in different ways in the European science education, and supporting teachers in modernizing their methodologies and activities carried out in classrooms.
The overall objectives of the projects were: 1) support the EU in achieving the benchmark target by 2020, e.g. the share of 15-year-olds with insufficient abilities in reading, mathematics and science should be less than 15 % and 2) bridge the gap between science and school, but also between school and the labour market.
The partnership was composed by 9 members, 5 associations working in EU projects and in the scientific field and 4 schools coming from 4 EU countries.
The activities consisted in training sessions for the school teachers, set-up by the scientific organizations in order to share their methodologies and practices within and for schools, with experimental phases to be carried out in the selected school. The schools joined training activities, and hosted also “the science day @ school”, an open-to-public event during which students and teachers worked together in preparing and showing science experiments. During the training sessions, video tutorials were recorded to show how motivating can be teaching science in different ways and how these experiments can be repeated in class, both by teachers and students.
The methodology we applied during the training activities was a mix of enquiry-based and hand-on methods. It included practical sessions during which the partners explained and leart from each other’s methods for making lectures more effective and ways to encourage student participation in class, and to make it in practice with the involvement of the schools, teachers and students. Many examples of effective laboratory practices were carried out, involving also other schools than the ones formally included in the project, through the open-session “the science day @ school”. In addition, the training sessions included also discussions and debate moments on how effectively bridge the gap between science and school, presentations of the state of play of science education in each country and the main obstacles to popularize science, as well as simulations and interactive situations.
Moreover, the activities and reflections deriving from the training sessions ended up in a report on “Best practices to design training courses for scientific activities at school”, drafted by the partner organizations, in which each association described the experiments, the tools necessary to implement them and the methodology used.
The project was thought to have a multilevel impact:
– Participating organizations improved their international dimension and their knowledge regarding scientific activities and practices carried out in other contexts.
– Teachers and professionals (more than 300) active in the education field were supported in introducing scientific activities in their daily work at school and benefited by practically testing such methodologies. The teachers, indeed, increased their awareness for the need for updating their methodologies.
– Students benefited from more talented and committed teachers. In fact, the learners are still benefiting from the project results since it gave teachers some tools to improve the quality of their teaching/learning environment. In particular, through science students now are expected to develop the skills such as hypothesizing, manipulating the physical world and reasoning from data, observing, inferring, measuring and being able to conduct experiments.

EU Grant (Eur)

Funding of the project from EU: 150620 Eur

Project Coordinator

Associazione Euphoria & Country: IT

Project Partners

  • Tartu Tamme Gümnaasium
  • SC Ludor Engineering SRL
  • The Science Zone Associazione di Divulgazione Scientifica
  • Istituto Comprensivo Maria Montessori