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-Bèta 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.
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!
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-Bèta/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.