FEEL WITH THE SKIN. A DIDACTIC RESEARCH TO INTRODUCE THE INTEGUMENTARY SYSTEM AND SENSORY PERCEPTION IN PRIMARY SCHOOL
University of Padua (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:This research focuses on presenting to primary school students the integumentary system with an in-depth analysis of the concepts of thermoception and sensory perception in order to verify the effectiveness of the integration of this topic into science teaching. The research involved two fifth grade classes where the topic was taught using two different didactic approaches. The first one was mainly traditional but still interactive; the second one was based on laboratorial and experimental teaching. Both groups were taught the same disciplinary content but different materials and technologies were used, differing both in quality and quantity. The two approaches, therefore, aimed to achieve the same learning goals by using different methods in order to highlight the factors which facilitate meaningful learning. The purpose was not to carry out a qualitative comparison between the two approaches, but to verify their positive influence in science teaching. The research was carried out in collaboration with the Istituto Comprensivo “Parolari” in Venice and was designed on a competence-based teaching framework called “Progettazione per competenze” and the National guidelines. The TPACK model was the framework within which it was possible to integrate technologies in the activities. Moreover, the distinction proposed by Mayr between “functional” and “evolutive” biology and between “experimental” and “observational-comparative” methods acted as a background to the activities. The insights were more significant within the experimental group employing the scientific method (laboratorial approach), but the results of the final test highlighted an excellent and active participation by both groups. Although both methodologies have reported excellent results, the laboratorial approach has been more meaningful for the development of transversal skills, such as greater awareness of the functioning of the body and metacognitive skills. The success of the traditional approach was due to the focus put on interaction in each lesson. The integration of technologies in the activities, such as the materials created by the teacher, the design of concept maps, and the digitalisation of the data and videos, increased the participation and the interest of the pupils and facilitated the reprocessing of the content learned. The effectiveness of the laboratorial approach in science teaching, including the use of technologies, also emerged from a survey administered to parents and teachers. However, the most meaningful feedback was given by the students who participated with enthusiasm and motivation in the activities, proving how even a complex or unusual topic can be taught if presented through a stimulating, fun and engaging approach.
Keywords: Integumentary system, life sciences, physiology, primary school, sensory perception, scientific method.