Welcome Spooners !


You are on the Open Note Book of the European project SPOON. You will find here all informations related to the whole project but also resources, medias, reports etc. of transnational meetings related to our common problematic: how to approach STEM at school ! ♀♀

Interesting activities for teachers to work on critical thinking with their student

Resource 1: Trust me

Link: https://www.childnet.com/resources/trust-me 

Description: lesson plans for primary and secondary level that aim to empower students to discuss how to think critically around the areas of content, contact, and propaganda material that may seek to persuade or change their views.

It includes a set of teachers guidance which contains the appropriate background documents for schools and additional content to help the teacher to deliver this resource to pupils. It gives an overview of the relevant laws online and definitions to support the teacher answering any questions which may arise during these sessions. 

Examples of use:

Author and license: Developed by Childnet in partnership with the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) Safeguarding Board. Teachers can adapt these packs to suit their pupils.

Trust Me by Childnet International is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Resource 2:  The Online-Zoo’

Link: https://www.ispa.at/wissenspool/broschueren/broschueren-detailseite/broschuere/detailansicht/the-online-zoo-english.html

Description: 60-page online book teaches young kids (aged 3-6) digital competences and media literacy in a playful, age-appropriate way. In the book, Zoo Director Elsa tries to help all her animals who encounter some difficulties when using digital media and the internet. For example, Ape Moritz gets addicted to his Smartphone, Panda bear Paul is being cyberbullied and Penguin Fridolin wants to take a picture in his new swimwear. It is available in German as a hardcopy and in these ten languages as an electronic version: German, English, Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish, Farsi, Chinese, Czech, Portuguese

Education stage: Kindergarten

Examples of use:

Author: Austrian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) 

SPOONERS Travel Report: Lets go to Summer Science Factory 2/3

Day 2:

The big day!

It runs from everywhere, between SpOOners we try not to disturb too much, between two installations mentors catch a coffee from time to time before welcoming small scientists eager to present their production to their parents. With Annabelle we are responsible for not letting parents in before 10am to let students settle.

During this time the places are completely invested, in the room of meetings, conferences, walls, windows, corridors. At 10.am impatient parents invade MedILs (http://www.medils.org) , curious to learn more about STEM projects of students. Annabelle launches herself at the stand of apprentice cardiologists who take her blood pressure. She is in great shape ! After strafing the party of photos and enjoy all these beautiful projects, a surprise is prepared outside the building. Everybody goes out to discover a detonating chemical experiment or an ash snake appears as if by magic from a small pile of burning sand, but also the graceful and technical flight of a remotely controlled cardboard airplane above the sea.
But the best moment of the show was the physics explained by an air silk performance, performed by one of the “mentor” and commented by Bojan to the public a gracious exercise to explain different principles of physics such as strengths, gravity, periods etc.

They talk about us ! –> “In the days of the Storm, everyone celebrates the past. These kids in Split are looking to the future”U danima Oluje svi slave pro禳lost. Ovi klinci u Splitu gledaju u budunost index.hr/clanak.aspx?id via @indexhr

Evaluation on the impact of the SPOON trainings in Bilbao (Report in Spanish)

As part of SPOON project, we (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC) are evaluating the impact of the trainings on teachers capabilities and competences as well as exploring their appreciation and confidence towards the methods used in SPOON. We do this mainly through surveys with participant teachers, applied before and after SPOON workshops.

This document (in Spanish) presents the main results of the survey delivered in Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain) during the Science Fair conducted by our partner Elhuyar.

The document first introduces the profile of the participant teachers answering the survey and their motivations to participate in the Science Fair and their expectations of it. Then, teachers perceived impact of the trainings is reported, together with their capacity and willingness to replicate (or not) the methodologies proposed. Having teachers feedback and evaluation is essential for SPOON consortium to improve the trainings developed within the project. We thank all the teachers for their enthusiastic participation and time devoted to share their impressions of the training!

SPOONERS Travel Report: Let’s go to Summer Science Factory 1/3

The weather is good and the sky is blue, we have an appointment for a new immersion week to new educational horizons in Split in Croatia. I take with me all my curiosity and the most adventurous of my colleagues of the Maison pour la science en Alsace !
It is always a personal and professional pleasure to discover how other countries manage to boost their science practices and the contribution of partners is a valuable toolbox that we must build together and share.
This is how our consortium get together again, in the idyllic setting of Dalmatia, a mild weather, a culture of extreme richness that abounds everything : architecture history, its inhabitants and also its education actors that we are about to meet.

Day 1 :

In the Dalmatian heat, we are the shadows of the summer camp

Every year, during the summer holidays, Tvornica Znanosti trains motivated teams of “mentors” of all ages, of all kinds and of all nationalities, from the worlds of research, teaching or scientific communication. Temporary mediation team takes care of a week, a little less than a hundred students from 9 to 18 years volunteers. A form of scientific camp consisting of preparing STEM activities in a friendly and informal setting, under the attentive and caring eyes of “mentors”. The highlight of this week being the one we had the chance to attend on day two: the final presentation in the form of small stands animated by the students, with the arrival of their parents, animations, and a ceremony of presentation of degrees. Each day begins with an “energizer”, activities created to welcome students, these activities are very common among our Croatian partners, we have already experimented some, like that which consists of a collective movement, holding the hands in a random way, and to “untie” the arm and hand knot, then try to reform the initial position. A little acrobatic and destabilizing ! We start moving, we touch, we cooperate, but above all we talk about science, because it’s actually a metaphor for the folding of proteins (image and description of the animation)

In the anthill and the general excitement of tomorrow’s preparation we tried an observation and some interactions with students and educators. It was very pleasant to see that often fun discipline and motivation went hand in hand.
The craze is such that most children return from year to year, voluntarily on their holidays, and even some of them, postulate and become “mentors” in their turn ! We can speak of a success!

During this immersion and discussion with each other, we learned that the STEM topics for each group of students were chosen directly by the mentors, who must first submit their project and their motivation to coordinate the event. .
This is a bit the opposite of our Basque partners, who leave the choice of STEM topics to students for the preparation of science fair.

The topics are nevertheless very diverse: a little medicine, introduction to microbiology, history of science, mathematics, biology, video game creation, physics and technology. All this little world fignole its productions, experiment and flutters in search of material. The days are exhausting for the organizers, and as the end approaches, the moments of fakja and pomalo, peculiar to the region, come at the right time to debrief, breathe and exchange. The TZ team is happy, everything is ready for the big day tomorrow!

That same evening, Danel and Aitziber, our Croatian partner, proposed an activity for mentors, we are not here only to observe, the exchanges are always bilateral, and we want to contribute also to import our ideas.
Our two Basque colleagues have therefore proposed a “Play decided” activity , specially designed for the actors of the scientific mediation “Let’s Organized a Summer Camp”. The interest of Play Decide games is to catalyze and initiate debates. We can create and rehabilitate for many uses, in class, in teams, with friends In France for example we use it to talk about GMOs in training.
This game here was very interesting, because we were able to discover the global vision of everyone on the importance of creating events promoting science but also its approach and its citizen utility.

Summer Science Factory: offering to youngsters an opportunity to realise that they ARE scientists

Each year, around 90 youngsters, aged between 9 and 18, meet in the facilities of the Mediterranean Institute for Life Science (MEDILS) in Split to join STEM-related activities guided by scientists during six days.

This year the SPOON project partners have visited the 13th edition, organised in the coast of Croatia with an unparalleled scientific atmosphere, where we could be in contact with experts in different fields. The MEDILS facilities offered to youngsters an engaging context to take the role of a STEM professional.

The organisation crew, formed by five passionated persons in STEM Education, started preparing the new edition on January with the selection of the mentors. First, they meet personally with all the appliers, and after the interviews, those with more potential were selected. In the next weeks, the mentors prepared a proposal for a workshop, based on their expertise and interests, with the SSF crew support. Finally, the SSF organisation selected the workshops for the new edition, and they spent a weekend polishing the details of the summer camp and counseling the mentors about pedagogy, about how to adapt to the target group age, etc. The involved mentors are motivated because the summer camp offers them the opportunity to practice their teaching, and they feel engaged trying to explain difficult content and procedures to the kids.

For example, two students in the first year of Medicine taught the kids what are the basic procedures of a general practitioner, and the youngsters had the opportunity to apply what they learned on the visitors the last days science fair: they measured blood pressure and lung capacity, identified blood types, etc. And that is one of the strengths of the science camp: the kids have opportunities to experience both real-world science and captivating simulations about science and technology.

The content for the workshops are designed with preciseness, but they are very playful too. Moreover, playfulness is one of the cornerstones of the camps. During the day the kids are fostered to participate in amusing games to get involved and make relationships among them, so the camps offer them opportunities not only to develop STEM skills but other vital skills too: soft skills, interpersonal skills to build relations, know people with the same interests, consider failure as a part of the process, etc.

In 2019 SSF received 136 applications to participate in the SSF, 91 of them were selected. Usually, youngsters are required to send a motivational letter that is taken partially into consideration for the selection, and grades are not important because the organisers want motivated kids more than any other thing. Furthermore, the youngsters that participated in the previous edition do not have a preference to attend the next edition, because SSF aims to reach as many young people as possible.

The Spoon partners have really enjoyed the opportunity to experience on first hand the superb opportunity offered to the youngsters by SSF, and we all got very inspired with ideas to take to our countries.

Vidimo se idue godine!

See you next year!

Bilbao travel diary : Visit of science fair

That’s it, we’re finally here! The first meeting in field immersion of our European colleagues as part of the Erasmus + SPOON ! Its always energizing to concretely undertake a project on which we have been thinking for several years, I was looking forward to getting to work for real by discovering the work of my Spanish colleagues.

With the MPLS Alsace we went to two people, myself, responsible for the project, and my colleague chemistry-physics teacher in secondary school and also trainer Jean-Daniel Hihi.

After a few hours of bus, transit and plane, we well arrive in Bilbao, well disposed to take a “spoonful” of science, with Basque sauce!

The welcome started in the presence of all our Croatian, Dutch, and Barcelona colleagues and of course with the kindness and the smile of Danel and Aitziber, our hosts of the Elhuyar Foundation of Bilbao.

We first receive the guidelines, established by Maria Heras Lopes from UOC Barcelona, built to allow to analyze the different interactions between teachers, students, organizers, and public during the Science fair. These indications make it possible to have the most constructive view possible on the subject that interests us in the context of this project : About how to create the best conditions and the most suitable environment for the development of transversal skills among teachers and students via science projects.

The first part of this visit took place autonomously, with the only referral, the recommendations of our Catalan colleague.

The stands installed inside Plaza Berria, it must be said, enjoyed a rather sublime and conducive to the opening to the general public, because beyond its beautiful architecture, and thanks to many pintxos teems happily with people, thats make live together for a day, locals of all ages, tourists, journalists, and little scientists.

Plaza Berria

We first do a tour of the stands in the gallery of the place, held by the students, and after we went to the heart of the place of larger projects, as well as press space and institutional stands.

Despite the language barrier (most students speak Basque), we try contact ! We want to talk with the students, see their project and understand how they implemented it in class, chose their theme etc. Shyness is quickly defeated and almost all groups were able to tell us their project very clearly ! Many topics are addressed by students: ergonomics solutions for people with disabilities, food in space, antibiotic resistance, spectrometric tools to help color-blind people choose their tomatoes, useful robots, the preoccupation of increase in asthma cases, and many others.

We play the game, and participate in student demonstrations as needed.

The second part of the day, we returned to the fair, but this time we are put in groups of two, a Spooner / a local teacher who worked on a class project. This is an opportunity to deepen with them, the project management dimension, and to know more and share about the overall process for this kind of school project.

We meet a group of teachers who are more motivated than ever ! Miren, Inge and Garazi, from La Salle Beasain School, explained us that 4 hours / week are dedicated to the realization of this project for the fair. Students work in groups of 2 to 5 students of different levels. Thematics are chosen by students and validated by the teachers, the only constraint was to approach questions of science and society

Elena from SPOON, Miren, Jean- Daniel, Garazi, and Inge from La Salle Beasain School

The roles of the Elhuyar Foundation are to provide skills and networks of scientists and industries and laboratories available to the classes to help them to develop their projects. The implications of these professionals can be diverse: donation of materials, email exchanges, recommendations, advices about scientific methodology or site visits. Elhuyar also takes care of training for 2 days the teachers candidates to Science Fair upstream to give them the right project management tools, and insights on the scientific approach.

Miren admits to being completely thrilled to be part of this kind of initiative that puts students in action, as it helps to foster teamwork, initiative and collaboration among student groups as well as students. teachers between them. There is also naturally, at the end of the way, a sense of accomplishment, and pride in school projects and it is very important. 

But they dont hide the fact that all this remains the result of hard work throughout the year, because we must ensure order and responsibility and all year until May! It must be made clear to students that involvement and concentration must be from beginning to end, because its a project that engages everyone.

In general, even if sometimes the scientific accuracy is a little put aside, we noted that there is no doubt that the students developed with this fair, fundamental transversal skills to learning, in critical mind but also to everyday life in general, to name but a few I will emphasize the commitment, the faculty of adaptation, the spirit of initiative, the collaborative work, the solidarity, and especially the communication and opening to others. To be able to communicate, to present, to make envy, to make understand, to be friendly and to adapt to his public, to repeat again and again, to pass the word and take it again, to be self-managed, to be tenacious and persevering. We could cite others but this list already shows how much this type of experience is worth living, and that science and its approach are a pretext quite suitable and efficient for learning contents but also behaviors useful to build as a citizen in general, and the role of framing these meetings by Elhuyar is very important. Thank you again for this work and this welcome!

Focus on the “observation tool” #SPOONBilbao19

One of the major challenges of this first SPOON meeting was to discover how the Elhuyar Foundation and the teachers coordinate to carry out the projects presented at the local science fair. To better help the SPOON delegation to make good observations during the fair visit, Maria and Isabel from the UOC have prepared a guidelines tool, in order to ask the right questions on the spot and to identify the strengths and best practices of our colleagues from the Basque country.

By Maria Heras Lopes & Elena Iuliani

The main evaluation tools implemented by UOC this year in Bilbao are two surveys handed in to participant teachers before and after Elhuyars science fair. Complementary to that, we also took advantage of our visit to Bilbao to create an observation tool for all SPOON participants. Its goal was to structure spooners observations of the fair around the evaluation interests of Bilbaos case study and provide insights for the analysis and design of the surveys.

The observation tool contained several observation questions organised around three sections:

1) Teachers interactions during the fair;

2) The presence of moments of critical reflection during students presentations; and

3) Other observations relevant for understanding the involvement of the teachers in the fair. Together with this observation tool, we also had the chance to talk directly with teachers, as we had a guided tour through the fair with one teacher during the afternoon.

Observing the fair and talking to teachers allowed us to think more accurately about our evaluation design and the questions to include in our survey. We were positively surprised by students autonomy during the fair and their capacity and enthusiasm to communicate their research and discuss about it with the public. Teachers guidance and support during the previous months was essential to this. As one teacher mentioned, the science fair was only the tip of the iceberg. Another teacher defined her participation in the science fair as a shared journey with the students, in which all of them learnt together through their research. All in all, motivation, both from teachers and students, was something we could all notice through our observations and conversations during the fair.

Isabel Ruiz Mallen & Maria heras Lopes from Universitat Obertade Catalunya (Barcelona)

Remember : Receiving the Elhuyar partners @ the 5th year celebration of the Maison pour la science en Alsace (MSA)

By Isabel Guedes 06/2017

When Aitziber and Danel arrived on the morning of the 19 of May, they had a fresh curious look we can detect in people engaged in science education. For them, as for us at MSA, science education is a true passion.

They are partners in an ERASMUS + project which is part of MSA global project to open up to Europe. This aims at enriching our experience together with our European counterparts. In the May 19th event they were also invited to make a presentation about the Elhuyarfoundation.

Our Basque parteners, Danel Solabarrieta and Altziber Lasa with Elena Iuliani

During the anniversary day I had the opportunity to meet these partners and understand the science education projects they are carrying on in Bilbao.

To better understand their work we must be aware of their context. Bilbao is the capital of the region Basque country, Euskal Herria. As Alsace, the Basque country has his own language. There, the language is learned by everybody at home and is a mandatory subject in most schools. There are many groups and associations, supporting the Basque language and culture, and Elhuyar, the foundation where Aitziber and Danel work, is one of them. Together with this goal, it also promotes science outreach, with several activities that put together university researchers and high school students. Their main event is the annual science fair, involving 100 researchers and 1155 students.

As I learnt more about their work I happily invited them to get to know the philosophy behind the MSA project. In the hall, before the conference room, there was a display of the most meaningful objects from the MSA tutoring sessions of latest f years. As we walked through the hallway we talked with some of the tutors, that explained their work. What a joy! I was really happy to introduce these amazing people, all working in this super interesting project, to our special guests.

Danel, me and Annabelle Kremer during the coffee break.

People passionate about their work, I find, are always the best. And there, at the 5th year celebration of the MSA at the Palais de lUniversit矇, I found myself surrounded by passionate people working together to a better school. Our guests, Aitziber and Danel, seemed to share my opinion and enthusiasm, as they kept posing questions as the day went by.

Not only we talked with our tutors but we also met some of the speakers. The day was clearly too short to talk with all the interesting people there. But, then again, all the good days are too short!

Altziber Lasa during their presentation.

Thank you Aitziber and Danel for what weve learned from you, for your sympathy and for sharing with us this important day.

See you soon!

Source : https://dynamiques.hypotheses.org/1476

Spooners visiting Elhuyar Science Fair: an opportunity to foster STEAM education life-experiences and community relationships

Where and when was the idea of the Science Fair born?

Elhuyar Fundazioa, a partner in the Spoon project, organises the Elhuyar Science fair that will be visited by all Spoon project partners next 11th of May in Bilbao. The Science Fair was born in 2004 as an idea-contest, with the name of “Nanoskopioa”. In 2014 it took the science fair format and the initiative that until then was itinerant was established in Bilbao for reasons of sponsorship and organization. When it became a science fair, we try to improve it thanks to the previous years’ experience and with what we had learned abroad. We decided to prioritise the life-experiences of young people instead of fostering competition, to increase the participation of the whole community, to engage more professional researchers, etc. As the initiative is organized each year, we always have proposals about how to improve the fair, e.g. how to help more to students, the inclusion of the Research and Responsible Innovation paradigm (RRI), the awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 of the United Nations or how to engage more professional and educational worlds.

2018 Elhuyar Zientzia Azoka eguna_20180421678730

Why bring young people to science?

Todays young people will need science and technology competencies, regardless of which profession they will choose. Besides, scientific literacy should be given to all citizens, so that they have solid bases to make decisions in their daily lives. From this point of view, we should achieve an open and critical attitude towards science form society. Furthermore, more real and comprehensive vision of science and technology studies should be given to young people so their career decisions were been grounded in solid and realistic pieces of evidence. For example, they should understand that learning chemistry opens many doors to work in different jobs, not only to work in a laboratory.

2018 Elhuyar Zientzia Azoka eguna_20180421678727

How many students participate? How many centers? How many researchers? How many associations / entities collaborate?

In the last science fair, we counted on the participation of 256 groups of 33 schools, 911 youngsters (452 girls, 449 boys and 10 non-binary). We have 248 researchers from all universities willing to help young people (139 women and 109 men), while the participating researchers have been 146, of which 82 are women. We have several collaborating entities: Universities (University of the Basque Country, Mondragon Unibertsitatea, University of Deusto, Public University of Navarre, Basque Summer University, Ikerbasque, and Digipen) and non-profit organizations (Unesco Etxea, Bizkaia Talent). More information can be found on the Science Fair website. In general, we are very happy with its excellent reception.

What kind of projects do the students present?

They can present research projects and technology projects, based on STEAM fields (science, technology, art, engineering, and mathematics). Most usual topics are those related to the environment, health and technology. One of the biggest difficulties for students is choosing the topic; we always suggest them to choose a challenge that is feasible, as difficulties always appear along the way. In this sense, the experience of young people and teachers is vital: the more experience they have, the easier is to finish the project and present it in the science fair. One of our roles is to help about it directly or with professional researchers.

2018 Elhuyar Zientzia Azoka eguna_20180421678713

How is the science fair event?

The students present their projects in stands show the projects, two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. The Plaza Nueva of Bilbao is always crowded, so the young people have to explain their projects on several occasions; Thanks to that, the students gain in their confidence and communication skills.

In addition, there are several activities to enhance the engagement of the public during the fair event: science experiments for children, researchers presenting their works in universities, etc. At the end of the day, there are some prizes, trying not to be too competitive; therefore, all prizes are scientific experiences: stays, opportunities to go to other fairs, scholarships, courses, etc., and the philosophy is that the prizes are as distributed as possible among the schools.

At what level does the collaboration in this project refer?

“Experiences and community” is the motto of the Elhuyar STEAM Education area, so the collaboration is at the base of the project. From the philosophy that the education requires the participation of the whole community, we make a bridge to create and strengthen the relationships between different social actors: schools, families, citizens, companies, research groups, etc. The awareness of people towards education in recent years has grown, but it is often difficult to determine the possibilities of collaboration, although there is a willingness to do so. With the Science Fair, we respond to this need.

What challenges do you have in the future?

We are clear that Elhuyar Zientzia Azoka is an educational project, that is to say, that the goal is the development of competencies by students: internalize knowledge, develop skills, awaken curiosity, form a team, bring the real models closer, spread research of young people … more than receiving brilliant projects. Therefore, we often want to emphasize that it is better to learn a lot with a simple project or to present a project that has not come up well than to present a project that has received too much help.

On the other hand, we have made an effort to measure the impact of the Science Fair on young people, teachers and researchers in the last two years, from the point of view of the Responsible Research and Innovation paradigm (RRI). In this sense, we want to continue to improve the project with this philosophy, by strengthening relations with volunteer researchers.

Feedback on Kickoff meeting

Partners from SPOON Erasmus + project gathered on January 24thand 25th, for the transnational kickoff meeting. The main goal was to outline the forthcoming events and activities of the project but there was also a little time to socialize and share many ideas.

By Isabel Guedes, MPLS Alsace


Day 1 : Thursday 24/01/2019

  • 9h-10hIntroduction and updates – Fran癟ois Bernier et Elena and financial / communication rules/ Handbook FAQ Camille Dieudonn矇 ofDirection of International relations
  • 10h -11h BB beta and Bojan presentation about Utrecht activity
  • 11h-12h00 UOC propositions about SPOON assessment
  • 13h30-17h00 Workshops: Define the format of each activity in each host country / workshop leading to the description of the SPOONactivities included in the local event of each partner
  • 17h00-18h00Free visit of Zoological museum of Strasbourg
  • 18h00-20h00Rest break or little touristic walk in the city center of Strasbourg 20h : Dinner

Day 2 : Friday 25/01/2019

  • 8h30-10h Workshops: Define the format of each activity in each host country / workshop leading to the description of the SPOONactivities included in the local event of each partner
  • 10h-11hUOC propositions about SPOON assessment
  • 11h-12h Meetings with the trainers of the House for Science
  • 13h30-14h30 Kahoot ! by Danel

As hosts we were happy to welcome intervenients from Spain from Fundacio per a la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and Elhuyar Fundazioa, the Netherlands from Boswell-B矇ta and, last but not least, Croatia, from Tvornica Znanosti.

The meeting started with an early welcome coffee where all the participants were happy to meet again. Then, asseveral times during these two days, Bojan Marklcevic, fromTvornica Znanosti,proposed a game about science to start the works. In addition to a clue of an activity that one could use in training sessions this game allows the intervenient to get together and break the ice with some very dynamic and stimulating activities.

During these 2 days meeting we could untangle bureaucratic questions with the help from lovely Camille Dieudonne from Strasbourgs university International relations department.Freek Pools, fromBoswell-B矇ta, showed us a little of the training he does and draw our attention to the importance of objectivity when treating scientific data with some compelling exercises.Maria Heras Lopez, from UOC, led the group to build the subjects of the outcomes and the evaluation tools of the project with impressive efficacy and synthesis capacity. Danel Solabarrieta Arrizabalaga, fromElhuyar Fundazioa, presented us a fun practical app to make classes and trainings more interactive.

Other than that we had some stimulating and fruitful brainstorming around the creation of the 12 workshops and the next events of this Erasmus + SPOON project. Next meeting will take place in Bilbao in may with the objectives of developing soft skills through events like science fairs.As to the convivial part we could gather around some snacks that each partner kindly bought from home and taste a little of each country.

As hosts we tried to make the most of our time together carefully organizing this two days transnational meeting but also presenting all the trainers team from Maison pour la Science so our partners could get more of an idea of who we are as a whole, inviting the partners to visit the museum next door, temptingour invites with a Choucroute, the Alsatian typical food, and, despites the cold and the snow, making a small city center tour so they would not leave without knowing the famous Strasbourg cathedral .


2018 WND conference: warming up the SPOON project

In december 2018 we had the great opportunity to test some of the SPOON workshops at the national physics didactics conference of the Netherlands. The workshops, which were conducted in English, were well visited by Dutch physics teachers. The WND conference was combined with a work visit to Boswell-B癡ta and the city of Utrecht by Bojan Markicevic of Tvornica Znanosti.

By Tessa Verboven

Bojan arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday December 13th and would stay in Utrecht for three nights. Since it was over a year ago that our organisations had met to set up the SPOON project, we met again to discuss the content and goals of the workshops. This involved a lot of brainstorming about the goals of STEM education in each country as well as the differences in educational systems and educational culture. For part of the brainstorming sessions we were joined by Ralph Meulenbroeks of the Freudenthal Institute: the department of Utrecht University that oversees the STEM curriculum for secondary education in the Netherlands.

Bojan & Ralph in a brainstorm session at Boswell-B癡ta

On Friday we gathered a small group of physics and math teachers for a challenging session with Bojan. They were given several assignments all in the same setup: a set of rules, some simple material and a very shortly stated task. After that the group had to find the solutions working together as a team or individually, always with very little input from the workshop leader. Of course these teachers did not mind a challenge and got to work eagerly. Without stating any spoilers, let us say that the assignments were not resolved easily. In the end each assignment had a deeper message about traps in the methods of scientific thinking that can happen to everybody: even as teachers we are not sacred!

Participants of the workshop at the WND conference

The next day, Saturday December 15th, we travelled to Woudschoten for the annual Dutch national Physics Didactics conference for teachers in secondary education. In the morning Freek Pols from Boswell-B癡ta/Delft University of Technology conducted his workshop  ‘A teaching sequence on scientific inquiry’, followed by Bojan Markicevic in the afternoon with his workshop titled ‘Interactive introduction to error analysis’. From the evaluations of the workshops we were able to conclude that the participants were pleasantly surprised by the content and left highly motivated. We received some constructive feedback about the description and the duration of the workshop, and we hope to offer an extended version in the future.

Freek at his WND workshop
Bojan during his WND workshop