1 University of Padova (ITALY)
2 Ca' Foscari University of Venice (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2024 Proceedings
Publication year: 2024
Pages: 7850-7859
ISBN: 978-84-09-59215-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2024.2120
Conference name: 18th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-6 March, 2024
Location: Valencia, Spain
The present research had a double aim. First, we wanted to prove the possibility of effectively introducing biology education from kindergarten through laboratory methodologies and active proposals. The investigation concerns the branch of entomology, which is often absent from school curricula. The second objective was to verify if better knowledge about insects could remove or modify the typical stereotypes of these animals.

The didactic research involved two groups of children aged 5-6 years, and they tried two different approaches to the world of insects. We wanted to observe which of the two provided a more significant increase in scientific knowledge and more extensive changes on a psychological level. In fact, with the first one, we experimented with a predominantly scientific approach based on the observation of these animals (larvae of Oxythyrea funesta, Bombyx mori and Bacillus rossius) on the knowledge of their morphology and their life cycle. The second group took part more emotionally; we involved them in looking after the insects and observing them. In both cases, the teaching was based on active and laboratory methodology and the scientific method, according to the observation-comparative approach, starting from backward planning. Meanwhile, Italian preschool teachers were invited to complete a questionnaire to share opinions and experiences about teaching biology and entomology. We also involved the pupils' families through a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the didactic experimentation to study if our teachings could change the children’s and their families’ behaviours.

At the educational level, the research highlighted a general and consistent increase in scientific knowledge for both groups of students. Positive changes were also observed in the relationship between the pupils and the insects, a common outcome in both experiments. The questionnaires provided to the families highlighted a general improvement in children's relationship with insects and a widespread greater openness of parents. Finally, the data collected among kindergarten schoolteachers confirmed this kind's limited diffusion of experiences, mainly due to the scarcity of suitable equipment and the lack of teachers’ biological preparation.

With this research, we can confirm that biology education can be introduced intelligently and effectively, even from kindergarten. Through both approaches, children were motivated, interested and stimulated, and they reached excellent results.
Experimental method, insects, kindergarten, laboratory didactics, stereotypes.