A. Ribeiro1, A. Baptista1, P. Costa1, H. Moreira2, L. Souto2

1Inova+ S.A. (PORTUGAL)
2University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
According to the European Commission, around six million young people drop out of school each year – about 14% of the total students’ population. Besides the costs and negative consequences to individuals, this phenomenon hinders economic growth and competitiveness. To change this paradigm, it is crucial to improve the attractiveness of STEM-based subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to young students as an important contribution to generate a high skilled workforce capable of facing new technological changes that are/will challenge Europe.

This paper reflects the work that is being performed by the Euro4science project consortium team during the last three years. Forensic science activities in the classrooms are used to increase the young students interest in scientific and technical areas, stimulating their motivation and curiosity for science in general and promoting better performance results in STEM-based subjects. A Forensic Science Education Toolbox was developed, tested and implemented in 6 languages (Initially four - EN, PT, PL, BL, and in a second phase two more – GR and TK), containing more than 20 practical laboratory experiments. The toolbox includes all the materials needed for the implementation of the activities and specific guidance for each one. The teachers and the students have access to manuals with a detailed explanation on how to implement the activities in a safety and funny way.

After the development of the initial prototype, the toolbox and support materials were adjusted and improved, considering the results of the piloting test phase and feedback from external experts. After that phase, the toolbox and support materials were disseminated among teachers and schools in several countries through workshops, seminars, training sessions and conferences.

Besides detailing the outcomes of the experimentation of the toolbox in classrooms, this paper presents the most important communication and sustainability tools of the project to reach the highest possible number of schools and teachers across Europe: the European Network that is being developed and that aims to create the Euro4science HUBs and Hotspots to promote certified training for teachers and trainers all over Europe. This resource will enable teachers and trainers to use the Forensic Science Education Toolbox autonomously. These new certified teachers and trainers will be able to provide training to other peers in their schools or of other schools promoting the inter-disciplinary pedagogical approaches.