SETAC: Science Education as a Tool for Active Citizenship


By bringing together science museums and educational institutions, SETAC aims to improve science education, which it sees as a fundamental tool for developing active citizens in today's knowledge society.

Science and technology are important school curriculum subjects but also directly linked to our everyday lives, very often requiring engagement and informed decisions by all citizens. Science education is therefore not only a subject to be delivered by teachers and learned by students, but should be seen as a lifelong-relevant tool for developing informed and active citizens.

In this context, SETAC sees cooperation between formal and informal institutions as an important asset for improving the existing situation. Museums are widely recognised as capable of making a difference in science education and active citizenship, especially when collaborating with other education institutions. They are complementary resources for school education and play a socially responsible role in engaging citizens with science and technology.

SETAC aims to improve students’ motivation by investing in their education and in teachers’ education. The project brings together formal and informal educators at European level to work together to connect the expertise of schools, universities and science museums.

Besides improving students’ engagement and motivation for learning in science and technology – not only in school but throughout life – SETAC also focuses on supporting teachers and students in becoming socially responsible citizens by improving skills and abilities to engage with socio-scientific issues.

Basic information

Country: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy

Coordinator: National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci,

Programme: LLP

Project Acronym:

Target groups: policy makers, primary school students, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, other

Topic: Energy, Environmental sciences, Other

Start year: 2008

End year: 2010


Contact person: Maria Xanthoudaki, setac (at)

The development of a new pedagogy was one of the most important parts of SETAC. The partners worked to create the context within which all SETAC activities and materials were devised; but also to contribute specific arguments on science education seen as both the aim and the tool for understanding contemporary science and for developing social responsibility and participation.

The pedagogy suggested by SETAC draws on various fields (psychology, museum education, scientific research, civic responsibility) and methods (observation, inquiry, experimentation, children’s misconceptions, authentic questions, dialogue and debate) and considers museums and science centres as fundamental resources.

The SETAC partners devised a series of activities for schools focusing on health, energy and climate change and using inquiry, debate and direct participation in experiments. The activities aim at developing contents, awareness of the role of science in contemporary society, and stimulating the engagement of young people in dialogue about science.

SETAC also developed a European in-service training course for primary and secondary school teachers based on the project contents, methods and objectives. See the training schedule at

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