LITTLE SCIENTISTS FOR LARGE DISCOVERIES: AN EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH TO SURVEY THE WORLD WITH CLASSES II OF THE PRIMARY SCHOOL - THE OBSERVATION AND STUDY OF PLANT LIFE
The goal of this work is "Educating science through the experimental method" and the topic covered concerns the life cycle of plants.
Scientific education aims to encourage cognitive development in children that leads to the development of a critical sense and a rational thought: we look more at acquiring the method than storing information. In primary schooling it is therefore necessary to provide students with the appropriate stimuli to develop an attitude of curiosity towards the natural world, learning to master the techniques of elementary investigation and making own the fundamental operative sequence of "thinking - doing - rethinking".
The didactic intervention of the present project used the model for the competences and the didactic methodology adopted for the development of the intervention was mainly that of the experimentation in the laboratory.
It was carried out in parallel in two classes of the primary school within the usual school timetable for the scientific discipline, for a total of 42 students. The educative-didactic path took place in 9 two-hour meetings, as well as in a last one-hour meeting.
The idea of the training path was born from the study of international surveys, which show that Italian students are below the European average regarding the mastery of scientific skills, demonstrating, moreover, a slow decrease during the school year of interest and motivation to the study of science.
The object of study concerned the life cycle of plants
The main learning objectives, sought in a continuous and profound way, were:
- motivate the study of the sciences, arousing curiosity and interest
- encourage the exploration of reality, learning to observe and describe
- to encourage the reasoning and the formulation of the hypothesis
- to promote experimentation
After an initial brainstorming, a group work was carried out to observe the seeds, the experiments carried out, to examine the variables of earth, water, time, air, light and temperature.
The educational path started from seeds and their germination, to follow the development and growth of new seedlings. To the gradual appearance of the elements of the plant, such as the stem, roots and leaves, are followed by various experimental experiments aimed at investigating the characteristics and modalities of life of the plants, thus learning to know the ways in which they grow, develop, they feed and reproduce. Subsequently, the study of the flower and the fruit was addressed, finally recognizing the presence of seeds in this and thus closing, in a coherent and logical way, the life cycle of a plant.
Although the intervention was brief, there have been important positive results, since the little scientists have proved to be involved and passionate in scientific activities and have shown themselves able to investigate the phenomena in an increasingly autonomous way, showing a good command of the experimental method and of the knowledge and good skills during the experience.