1 University of Coimbra, Faculty of Arts (PORTUGAL)
2 University of Coimbra, Botanic Garden (PORTUGAL)
3 University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 5757-5767
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
The Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) methodology is recognized nowadays as an efficient teaching method because it is more focused on the students’ knowledge needs and learning times of each one. "Learning by Research" is constructed through experimentation, discussing ideas between teachers, students and peers and by direct interaction with the scientific phenomenon, promoting the use of other resources beyond the formal ones, as outside spaces.

To reinvigorate, promote and improve this methodology, a three year Pan - European Union project was developed and applied through an international networking team. Coimbra Botanic Garden is one of the 17th partners of this project, having as mission to implement training courses to develop IBSE methodology engaging teachers and educators for this educative practice in spaces outside the classroom, as botanic gardens, producing new learning models and tools to apply in formal and informal education.

To assess the achievement of these objectives questionnaires were applied by the trainees at different courses’ stages, collecting information before the beginning and after the end of the training course.
Only focusing the questions about methodological aspects, as the trainees’ attitude/ relationship regarding the IBSE methodology, the students and the teaching of science, as well as the role of botanic gardens in teaching, namely the biodiversity and climate change subjects, a positive and significant evolution in these parameters was observed.

Through the content analysis of the 36 trainees’ answers of the two editions of Coimbra Botanic Garden’ Inquire courses we can conclude that these courses enabled them to reflect, improve and to diversify their teaching practices as well as developing their skills, especially about the knowledge acquisition and its consolidation. The trainees’ attitude regarding the IBSE methodology approach was much enhanced by sharing experiences, knowledge and ideas among all professionals.

The implementation of IBSE activities proved its effectiveness, confirmed by the projects developed and its execution with the students, as well as the recognition of the importance of outdoors green spaces, as botanic gardens, for teaching and learning science by inquiring, experiencing, making mistakes and try again, and not just only by an unidirectional knowledge transmission in a classical classroom. The student role and their work confidence have been reinforced; teachers and educators confirmed that after this formation and, by its projects development, their students become more motivated, autonomous, creative and responsible.

This trainees group admitted starting to use this methodology in a more systematic way, despite the difficulties to do that, recognizing the great improvement in the quality of teaching and learning that this methodology provides to all those involved in the educational community.
This paper intends to focus on the results and reflections about IBSE methodology effectiveness and of the Coimbra Inquire courses implementation.