Università degli Studi di Padova (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 6604-6611
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1573
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
The educational project presented here consists of a scientific education proposal aimed at involving the children of a second class of primary school to explore some characteristics of living beings. Specifically, the thematic core focuses on citrus plants. The choice of the learning content is a very complex task as it involves the identification of those thematic nodes considered useful to be proposed to the student because they are considered indispensable for the activation of the skills that the students would acquire.

The entrance into the activities was transmitted through the senses, because the sensory experience could succeed in putting in place mechanisms of memory and recognition. It was considered essential to consider the importance of direct contact with phenomena, not mediated and predefined, in such a way that the promotion of scientific attitudes such as exploration, discovery, research, experience, control and verification, favored the gradual knowledge of one's own living environment, which can be translated into the acquisition of a scientific method useful for understanding reality. The latter was considered in relation to man.

For the didactic intervention a heuristic method was adopted in which the child is the protagonist of the process and learning takes place through the discovery. Among the heuristic methods the interrogative method and the active method were used. A special place was reserved for the conversation with the children, with the aim of encouraging discussion and working on the formulation of hypotheses that allow, thanks to the interaction between peers, to rectify or restructure the previous individual concepts.

It was important to consider the presence of preconceptions not as a detail or as an error, but as a strength of the child, a force that allows the path to competence. In fact, the preconceptions must not be considered wrong by definition, only because they are the result of spontaneous learning, but rather cognitive resources, the result of the application of interpretative mechanisms of reality that have the characteristic of resting on bases that are not scientific. If learning, in a very general sense, means ordering the experience in a meaningful and effective way, we can think of science as a specialized way of learning.

The child was guided to rediscover his spontaneous theories from the scientific point of view; curiosity was, at the same time, the purpose and the lever, thanks to which to build competence. Indeed, curiosity has supported the motivation and interest in mobilizing the internal resources of the pupils who have been encouraged and involved in the learning process.

Among the learning objectives was the identification, through the direct interaction, of the structure of citrus plants, describing them in their unity and in their parts, recognizing functions and ways of use.

The work was divided into two phases: the first one to observe the shape and function of citrus fruits (fruits, flowers and plants) and the second focused on the relationship between man and the environment, namely the differences between an orange juice and a packaged orange juice, as well as the creation of an ecological detergent.
Citrus fruits, senses, heuristic method, preconceptions.