G. Pereira Correia1, E. Ramos Pires2, C. Romualdo Gomes3, I. Abrantes4

1Centro de Investigação da Terra e do Espaço da Universidade de Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
2Departamento de Ciências da Terra, Universidade de Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
3Departamento de Ciências da Terra, Universidade de Coimbra. Centro de Investigação da Terra e do Espaço da Universidade de Coimbra.†Falecida jan/2016 (PORTUGAL)
4CEF, Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Universidade de Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
In the scope of Geosciences teaching, middle and high school students developed a wide range of small projects whose results were reported in nine editions of the Young Geoscientists Congress organized annually by the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. The main goals of this study were to disclose the participation in the Congress, to reveal the chosen themes, to assess and to highlight the importance of the participation in the Congress. A total of 31 projects were designed and developed with students from five schools in the northern and central areas of Portugal.

The methodology was based on a qualitative content analysis and six categories were established:
1) environment;
2) heritage;
3) history of Science;
4) impacts/disturbances;
5) life Earth evolution; and
6) natural resources.

After the analysis, the projects were included into the following categories: 11 in natural resources; 9 in impacts/disturbances; 4 in heritage; 4 in environment; 2 in life Earth evolution and 1 in history of Science. In the nine editions of the Congress 10 projects were selected to be presented in the oral sessions and 31 in the poster session. The project findings were also disseminated in school initiatives such as lectures, science fairs and school newspapers, as well as in the press of the region and in a national broadcast radio. The development of projects of this type, taking into account the curriculum and the potentialities of the region, where the schools are inserted, is considered an innovative and motivating strategy to be implemented in middle and high schools, in Science Education in general and Geosciences in particular.