Science with Sense, Sensors and Sensations (Sensociencia).
The Sensociencia project is developed by the Department of Science Education at the University of Almería, the University of Granada and the Parque de las Ciencias, Granada. It intends to incentivise the use of laboratories and the development of science and mathematics competences at every educational level by carrying out short Model-Based Inquiry sequences (called Sensopíldoras/Senspills).
Coordinator: University of Almería, Spain http://www.ual.es/
Target groups: college students, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university students
Topic: Applied sciences, Computer science, Energy, Materials science, Maths, Microtechnology, Physics, Education
Start year: 2013
End year: 2017
Contact person: María Rut Jiménez Liso, Email mrjimene (at) ual.es
The project seeks to promote scientific learning, namely perspectives on "Scientific Literacy" and "Science for all" which emphasise the importance of learning scientific concepts, and to build scientific knowledge, as well as the significance of emotions related to science learning. Based on these requirements, researchers and the project coordinators agreed that Model-Based Inquiry would be the most suitable approach to achieve those goals because of its advantages for science learning, its usefulness in motivating and involving students in scientifically-oriented questioning and its interpretation, which is based on argumentation and the collection of evidence. Unlike other projects which use the Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) approach, in Model-Based Inquiry, Sensociencia prefers to focus on the development, testing and revision of scientific models and recommendations on how to create scientific knowledge.
This project has three main activities for reaching in-service teachers, pre-service teachers and school students.
Here’s what has been done so far in these three different areas:
- In-Service Teachers: courses at teacher-training schools and teacher training courses.
- Pre-Service Teachers: introduction of a pro-active method in study for a Secondary Teaching Master’s Degree at the University of Almería.
- School students: implementation of different “Sensopills” (little objects with important content inside) at a number of primary and secondary schools in Almería, enabling students to learn following a new methodology, and teachers to observe how this methodology should be implemented in a real classroom environment.
Various tools for evaluation have been developed and used in order to monitor the project’s effectiveness. They are:
- An Evolution in Teaching Conceptions Questionnaire.
- A Scientific Knowledge Questionnaire.
- An Emotions Questionnaire.
- A Satisfaction Questionnaire.
It is an essential component of the project to supply evidence to teachers so that they can promote the use of minds-on activities in their classes. To achieve this, the Sensociencia project promotes the implementation, development and assessment of Inquiry Model Based sequences for teaching and learning in the science classroom, through:
- Scientific content from real contexts.
- The use of sensors.
- Short-term implementation.
- Awareness of the emotions felt in this process.
These different types of sequences are referred to as “Sensopills” because, just like a pill, they are little “objects” with an important content inside. Sensopills are adaptable to different school levels, thus depending more or less on them, while always being sensitive to students’ needs.
Although the materials can be used regardless of the content studied in a classroom, it is recommended that the sequence is implemented based on previous work. This will ease the process for learning new content and clarifying alternative self-created models.