About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 9664-9667
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0787

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

IS AN APPLE ALIVE? PHILOSOPHICAL DIALOGUE IN THE SCIENCE CLASS

J. De Schrijver, J. Sermeus, A. Pil, E. Cornelissen

University College Odisee (BELGIUM)
The science class is a place where children can learn to think scientifically. This entails reflecting about the inquiry process, formulating questions and thinking about the implications of new ideas. However, in Flanders children score relatively low on the motivation for science, the ability to think about inquiry and formulate questions.

To overcome these challenges we introduced the use of philosophical dialogue in the science class for 9 to 12 year olds. The use of philosophical questions such as “Is a zebra without stripes still a zebra?” or “Can we measure clouds?” stimulates children to explore their own scientific ideas and inspire new inquiries. Thus children discuss:
(1) science as an enterprise to obtain reliable knowledge,
(2) big science ideas such as life, matter or species and
(3) ethical issues related to science such as the responsibility of the scientist or the relevance of sustainability.

To scaffold the thinking process of children a method was developed which is called PhiloZoo (in Dutch ‘FiloZoo’ – www.filozoo.be). This method stimulates five distinct thinking skills: asking questions, doubting, inquiring, thinking about what you (don’t) know and giving arguments. The use of thinking animals, such as the doubting sheep or the reasoning bear, help children to identify with these different thinking perspectives.

PhiloZoo was developed in a design-based research process allowing sequential evaluation and adaptation of the method by using research interventions such as expert interviews, observations, and group interviews of children and teachers. This approach allows us to discuss the design principles of introducing philosophical dialogue in the science class and the impact of the method on children’s motivation, thinking skills and the teacher’s skill to apply this method.

PhiloZoo was introduced during one year in 7 different primary school classes, reaching around 120 children. Once every week the PhiloZoo animals were introduced in the context of nature and technology education. Preliminary findings suggest the approach created a lot of enthusiasm among both teachers and children for science. The method sparkled many questions that were explored in the science class and lead into further inquiry through experiment or dialogue. Class observations show an increase in children’s use of different thinking skills. We will further discuss these findings during the presentation at the conference.
@InProceedings{DESCHRIJVER2018ISA,
author = {De Schrijver, J. and Sermeus, J. and Pil, A. and Cornelissen, E.},
title = {IS AN APPLE ALIVE? PHILOSOPHICAL DIALOGUE IN THE SCIENCE CLASS},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.0787},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.0787},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {9664-9667}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. De Schrijver AU - J. Sermeus AU - A. Pil AU - E. Cornelissen
TI - IS AN APPLE ALIVE? PHILOSOPHICAL DIALOGUE IN THE SCIENCE CLASS
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.0787
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 9664
EP - 9667
ER -
J. De Schrijver, J. Sermeus, A. Pil, E. Cornelissen (2018) IS AN APPLE ALIVE? PHILOSOPHICAL DIALOGUE IN THE SCIENCE CLASS, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 9664-9667.
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