Distant student research projects and the values of science

It was a big challenge to engage with your learners in an on-line environment caused by a pandemic. As it is important to share the content of scientific topics it is as well important to share the things behind the content. SPOON project adapted its main focus from classroom hands-on activities to online hands-on activities while at the same time enriching the teaching with values of science. Development of experimental set up, allowing the students to phrase their own research question, define variables and above all distinguish facts from opinions was introduced through a video by our partner from Croatia. Bojan Markicevic made short research proposals without telling explicitly what the students should investigate. By choosing this approach he managed to boost their creativity in questioning the world around them while introducing them with a low budget and Do-It-Yourself approach in teaching. Check out the videos our partner made and be sure to watch them until the end to see how science teaching is not only about the content. Subtitles in english are there as well for those who do not speak croatian. We hope you will be inspired by them in your classrooms, face-to-face or on-line. 

Video 1: Work and energy relation: Pull it – Pull it
Exploration of power, work and energy.
https://youtu.be/VMMQOOq-TEM (4 min 03 sec)

Video 2: The law of energy conservation project proposal: Up is up
Exploration of height and gravitational potential energy dependence.
https://youtu.be/ReE1SZJ5Jmw (2 min 07 sec)

Video 3: The law of energy conservation: The swing

Exploration of kinetic energy effects:
https://youtu.be/x9Hbkxu9uhY (2 min 35 sec)

Video 4: The law of energy conservation on an inclined plane: The slippery coin

Exploration of energy conservation law on an inclined plane:
https://youtu.be/5D4YLcIV6lY (2 min 31 sec)

Video 5: Energy transformations: Weird can

Exploration of energy transfers from elastic to kinetic form:
https://youtu.be/wIktGRNoR7c (3 min 24 sec)

The students were given guidelines on how to write scientific research project and offered 5 research proposals for those who did not manage to create their own investigation from scratch. It was the idea to engage students on experiments while working distantly during the lockdown and enable them with some inquiries away from the computer screens. Clarity of variable definition, variable control and error analysis was one of the key assessment points. 

From a teacher perspective this was an extremely challenging process. In order to step outside of the classroom environment and to think of approaches on how to engage students to become active contributors in their own build up of knowledge, values and skills at the same time. The experiments were inspired by Arvind Gupta toys, Indian toy inventor and science communicator.

Why is it SPOON compatible?
Because it is a partners questioning of its own practices, disrupted by the pandemic and distance learning. By exploring different ways of sharing the key message behind the project how science teaching is not only about the content.


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