SEISMOLABORATORIES - AN OPEN DOORS AND DIRECT LINKS FROM RESEARCH TO EARTH SCIENCE EDUCATION

D. Tataru, B. Zaharia, B. Grecu

National Institute for Earth Physics (ROMANIA)
More and more steps have been made by research to fulfill society needs. Among different science domains geoscience education community experience an increase in interest of getting more and more engaged in children formal and informal didactic roadmap. Not few are the spaces dedicated for undergoing didactic activities inside research institutes. Create through a research and outreach project (www.roeduseis.ro), the Seismolaboratory created inside the Romanian National Institute for Earth Physics serve the purpose of disseminating information about earth and earthquakes contextualized and adapted for pupils, students and also teachers. Laboratory space can be used both as a physical and virtual space for delivering a lesson.

Starting with 2014 many children, all ages, had the opportunity to visualize as well as experiment thinks that help them understand why earthquake occurs, what are seismic waves and how travel through the layer of the Earth, what “magic tricks” researchers use to precisely locate and measure the strength of such a natural phenomenon.

Firstly design as an outreach initiative, slowly the initiative was regarded and received by schools as a form of informal education for science. Theoretical facts presented side by side with hands-on-experiment, interactive games and support materials shift from informing about earthquakes to learning about geoscience. A natural follow up was to develop materials (books, brochures, information and activity sheets) to be also used in school classes. A collection of educational materials entitled“ Earthquakes and their effects” was trying to bring in one place, in a mix of theoretical introductory chapters followed by exercises and proposed experiments, the interdisciplinary characteristic of the subject (earthquakes). After being tested in couple of high school classes the educational materials had being proper “translated” in a an interdisciplinary school choice optional for secondary and high schools (physics-geography-ICT) and applied further in 10 more classes, mainly secondary and high school level.

Even if the triggering initiative ended, the impact go far beyond the lifetime of the project and is among the initiatives that bring closer research to school environment by exposing students to science-related topics and progressively advanced science education.