University of Padova (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 8337-8342
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.2135
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
This research is born from a simple question: "Can a direct and involved educational experience increase children's curiosity about animals, thus succeeding in improving and amplifying their perception, representation and respect for them?" This research, considering the important relevance that is given nowadays to environmental issues, aimed to demonstrate that the sensitization towards Nature, in particular animals, increases students' respect for Nature itself. Two first and two second classes of the Duca d'Aosta Primary School have observed, first in class and then at the local non-profit organization Il Gheppio, different fauna typical of the area. Throughout the course were proposed laboratory activities aimed at the development of lifelong learning, have been stimulated processes and attitudes such as learning by doing and peer tutoring. The use of the scientific method has provided students with a modus operandi that has been consolidated using observational tables deliberately always the same. The tables, completed by the students, served to monitor the progress made during the lessons; in addition to these materials, drawings, personal notes, and photographs were essential. The involvement of the families in the compilation of important final questionnaires and the collaboration with the local organization gave the research great uniqueness and totally positive feedback. The data collected gave rise to graphs that allowed objective and interesting reflections on the research conducted. The contact with the animals (which favoured the active involvement of the students), the direct experience guided by the scientific method and the emotional factor, have shown a clear improvement in the perception, knowledge, respect, and sensitivity that children have developed towards animals and the environment that surrounds them. This educational path took place during the Covid-19 and, like every activity proposed in those three years, it was a continuous challenge because the ability to readapt and resilience were two essential factors for all teachers and students; this is because many aspects (above all regulatory) have changed rapidly and repeatedly distorting, often at the last moment, even the teaching and planned activities, thus forcing the decision to be made in uncertainty and to act in urgency. People have begun to observe what was around them again and have begun to rediscover Nature. Throughout the world, over the months, we have marvelled at seeing wild animals wandering around the cities and surroundings such as wild boars in Rome, jellyfish, and swans in the canals of Venice, dolphins in various Italian ports, kangaroos in Adelaide (Australia), ducks in Parisian squares and many other animals. These episodes have underlined how, when Man puts himself aside, Nature re-appropriates the space that has been taken away from her due to urbanization.
Primary school, climate change, IBSE, active learning, educational project.