1 CITEUC - Earth and Space Research Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
2 CITEUC - Earth and Space Research Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Coimbra, †Deceased Jan.2016 (PORTUGAL)
3 CFE - Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
4 Department of Earth Sciences, University of Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 4232-4238
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1911
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Practical activities (PA) are a privileged strategy, from the perspective of the current science education, to improve the cognitive, procedural and attitudinal skills and core values, for the increase of scientific literacy, which is essential to “build” more active, informed and responsible citizens in Education for sustainability (ES). Since PA and textbooks are very important in pedagogical practice, evaluation studies on these two aspects of teaching and learning processes have been widely developed in science education research. The focus of this study was the assessment of the PA cognitive level in the Natural Sciences textbooks of the 8th grade, of Portuguese middle school, in the theme "Sustainable management of resources”.

The main goals established were:
1) to identify the textbooks with the highest number of high cognitive level PA; and
2) to analyse and compare the distribution of the PA in the 2007 and 2014 textbooks, according to the cognitive level and the publishing house.

The sample consists of ten textbooks, five of each edition (2007 and 2014), and from four publishers. The selection of the textbooks was based on data provided by the Ministry of Education and correspond to the most used in Portuguese schools in 2013/2014 and 2016/2017 school years. The PA considered, besides being the ones proposed throughout the text and at the end of each subtopic/subdomain, are those that have been carried out, more often, in the classes. The procedure involved a content and quantitative analysis. The results revealed an increase in the number of high cognitive level PA in the 2014 textbooks, particularly in the Evaluate and Create categories. However, any textbook incorporates a higher number of PA of a high cognitive level when compared to the low cognitive level. Regarding the PA typology, the diversity is low with a prevalence, in both editions, of pencil and paper PA. In the 2014 textbooks, compared with those of 2007, there are more proposals for project and research PA. Nevertheless, laboratory and fieldwork PA are reduced or none, respectively. In order to provide students learning with a higher cognitive involvement and being aware of the importance of PA, in general and particularly of the laboratory and fieldwork, for the students capacities upgrade related with the development of scientific literacy, in the scope of a ES, we recommend that, in future editions, a larger number of high cognitive level and laboratory/fieldwork PA should be included in the textbooks.
Bloom’s taxonomy, cognitive level, Natural Sciences, practical activities, textbooks.