1 Centro de Química Universidade Minho (PORTUGAL)
2 CEIA - Centro de Estudos e Investigação Aplicada (PORTUGAL)
3 Instituto Superior de Educação e Ciências, Alameda das Linhas de Torres (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 4886-4889
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
The most recent investigation on science didactics shows the necessity to develop scientific skills on children in the early stages of development aiming at a gradual involvement with experimental sciences (Harlen, 2011; OECD, 2009; Osborne e Dillon, 2008; Davies, 2013).

The Junior Science Project is a didactic strategy that aims to slowly introduce children into the scientific methodology starting by the age of 6 years old and started to be implemented on an urban private educational institution in Luso-French College in Oporto, Portugal, in a 1st grade classroom of eighteen children between January-June of 2013. In this academic year it is also being implemented on an urban private educational institution in Oporto, Horizonte College, in a 1st grade classroom of eleven children. The maximum number of children on each Junior Science class is of twelve and this was a conclusion we have taken from the previous experience on Luso-French College. In this institution we’ll start to work on a new 1st grade classroom on January of 2014. The project will take four years to be fully implemented. The skills selected to be worked in the 1st grade are: attention, curiosity, concentration, team work, accuracy and resilience.

Main investigation question – At what extent the development of skills on 6 years old children such as - curiosity, attention, concentration, accuracy, resilience and team work, stimulate the learning process of the scientific methodology?
We start to methodically develop attention and concentration in order to prepare their future systematic study of the experimental sciences because these skills are on the basis of any intellectual work and are two of the most important intellectual habits that can power motivation and hence the ability to learn.

The Junior Science Plan – Interventions (Costa, 2012) have been designed having two guiding principles: a) Simplicity – There is no need for special materials, too complicated or expensive. The instructional activities written for teachers or instructors are very easy to understand by the instructor and very easy to explain to the children. The instructional activities are adapted to the cognitive development of the intervened children. b) Repetition – The number of interventions for each skill/ability is varied and with smooth growing complexity.
We would like to explain in more detail this methodology.

[1] Davies D., Jindal-Snape D., Collier C. et al. (2013). Creative learning environments in education: A systematic literature review. Thinking Skills and Creativity, vol. 8, pp 80-91.
[2] Costa Flora, Pratas, H., Estrada, Rita (2012). Junior Science – Nurturing children’s natural interest in scientific knowledge. ARSA, Advanced Research in Scientific Areas, 1st Virtual International Conference, Slovakia.
[3] Harlen, W. (2011). Why is learning science important in primary schools? In - W. Harlen (Ed.), ASE Guide to Primary Science Education (pp. 2-9). Hatfield: Assoc. for Science Education. Arial, 10-point, left alignment, upper and lower case]
[4] Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. (OECD) (2009). PISA 2009. Assessment Framework - Key competencies in reading, mathematics and science. Paris: Author in
[5] Osborne, J. & Dillon, J. (2008). Science Education in Europe: Critical Reflections. London: The Nuffield Foundation.
Teaching Science in Elementary School, Science Didactics in Elementary School, Didatics of Trasferable skills.