"FRUIT AND VEGETABLES: DISCOVERING CONSCIOUS FOOD CHOICES": CREATION OF AN EDUCATIONAL PROJECT TO STIMULATE THE STUDY OF SCIENCE IN A CLASS II OF A LOWER SECONDARY 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:The goal of this educational project was to offer teenagers a different approach towards science through practical activities and by stimulating curiosity towards the subject. Sciences, especially when taught in a traditional way, are perceived by students as an intricate set of concepts detached from reality and, consequently, of little use.
The aim of this didactic project was therefore to describe an alternative teaching method to increase students' motivation and curiosity towards science subjects.
In this project, a teaching activity was proposed to the second class of a lower secondary school. The activity was welcomed by the class with great enthusiasm and desire to get involved. One of the mail goals of the project was to teach students how to choose the right foods, suitable for a healthy lifestyle and respecting the environment.
This educational project consisted of three different phases, and in each of them a macro-topic related to food and the environment was addressed.
The three arguments developed were:
- Seasonality of fruit and vegetables
- Sustainable agriculture
- Nutrients in fruit and vegetables
The teaching methodology used for the development of the project was that of project teaching.
In the first meeting, we focused on defining which seasonality is and in discovering which kind of fruit and vegetables are present during the year based on the season. The first step was to define the seasons; each student was asked to describe what spring, summer, autumn, and winter are. Once the meaning of each season was understood, various types of fruit and vegetables were examined. At the end of this work, each student was given a card explaining what seasonality was and why it is important to choose seasonal products to briefly summarize the various stages covered so far.
The subject of the second meeting was sustainable agriculture, where various sub-themes were addressed, such as: pesticides, guaranteed quality, zero kilometre and organic farming. In order to make this second meeting more “practical”, the scholars were given a challenge: to bring a sustainable snack the next day.
During the last meeting, the focus was on the nutrients of fruit and vegetables. Through the creation of a poster, a general definition of vitamin was given, it was discovered how many types of vitamins exist, where they can be found and for each of them the function they have within the body.
Two types of questionnaires were subjected to the students: 1) learning and 2) satisfaction. There were two learning questionnaires administered, identical to each other, but proposed one at the beginning and one at the end of the project with the aim of evaluating students' learning. The satisfaction questionnaire, on the other hand, was submitted to the students only at the end of the project, to verify whether the latter had been useful in terms of participation, personal involvement, involvement by the trainee, working method used and timing.
An educational project of this type can make the student "protagonist" of the studied subject and help him/her learn while having fun.
Keywords: Secondary school, scientific method, life sciences, nutrients of fruit and vegetables, seasonality.