IMPROVING SCIENCE EDUCATION IN PRIMARY SCHOOL
University of Deusto (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Science and technology play a crucial role in the development of society nowadays, and in order to have science conscious citizens, care must be taken in designing good science education curricula, and in making deliberate efforts to continuously improve them. If science and technology are meant to keep advancing and helping society, it is also important to promote vocations in science and technology careers.
In this paper, the importance of active learning in science is stressed, both regarding scientific knowledge and scientific procedures, although the main objective is not the activity itself, but the understanding and conceptual change that the learner should attain with it. An example of a science curriculum for primary school is given in which children attend science classes from the very first year of instruction. The approach in this curriculum is a cyclic one, in the sense that the same scientific topics are revisited regularly and explored in greater depth as children develop more skills and competences. The importance of taking into account the previous knowledge of the learners and the possible misconceptions is reminded, as well as the recommendation of designing multidisciplinary activities so that children can perceive the frequent interrelationships among many knowledge areas.
Finally, an initiative to promote science and technology vocations is described. This project called STEP (Science, Technology and Engineering Programme for Schools) was designed to help young students appreciate how science can help us make sense of the world and includes several activities and workshops dealing with science and technology issues such as forces or means of transportation. The evaluation of the outcomes of the STEP project shows that this type of initiatives can be very effective.
Keywords: Curriculum design, misconceptions, promotion of science.