B. Socas Rodríguez 1, A. Santana-Mayor2, R. Rodríguez-Ramos2, M.A. Rodríguez Delgado2

1Research Institute of Food Science (CIAL) (SPAIN)
2University of La Laguna (SPAIN)
Despite the fact that the study of experimental sciences such as chemistry, physics or biology involves, necessarily, learning research and critical thinking aspects, the current educational system in Spain makes difficult to develop these abilities in the students of secondary education. Rigid timetables, as well as a strict separation between subjects, hinder the possibility of carrying out enough experimental work and collaborative research experiences that allow improving such skills. These limitations to apply alternative strategies in the teaching-learning process bring about important problems in the correct academic development of students. In fact, it has been noticed that such shortages in the educational framework have negative consequences not only at this level but also in the subsequent university studies. For this reason, to develop novel approaches that led to include alternative modes of teaching, based on a research perspective in combination with other innovative tools, could be an interesting alternative to solve this problem.

In the last years, the introduction of new didactic strategies such as “flipped classroom”, in which the students become the center of the teaching-learning process, taking more responsibility, or teamwork, in which each student plays a specific role, have shown very good results in their motivation and interest. Indeed, it has been observed a clear improvement in the final marks and the independence and maturity of students to take decisions and solve problems. Apart from that, the increase of collaborative projects that involve the application of concepts and knowledge learnt from different subjects has also been widely applied at diverse levels of education with excellent results.

In this work, a novel approach based on the combination of alternative didactic strategies together with the application of a research perspective in the different projects developed in class was proposed for its implementation in the subject of physics and chemistry in the fourth course of the compulsory Spanish Secondary Education. The main objectives were to enhance the quality of the teaching-learning process under the guidelines of the current education system and to offer alternatives to solve the problems detected at this level of education over the last few years. The approach allowed teachers to encourage students to establish connections between the various traditional areas of study and the research field. Results showed an increase in the motivation of students and an enhancement of their interest in this subject.