INQUIRE TRAINER’S COURSES: A POOL OF IBSE PROJECTS ON TEACHING NATURAL SCIENCE OUTDOORS
Respecting the INQUIRE pan-European project, the Coimbra Botanic Garden (COIBG) training courses developed the Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) methodology engaging teachers and educators for this educative practice in spaces outside the classroom. IBSE projects focusing the study of biodiversity and climate change were produced by trainees and new learning models and tools were applied in formal and informal education with 10-14 age students, fulfilling the Natural Sciences curricular program using an original and creative approach.
The two annual edition courses were completed by 36 participants from the north to the center of Portugal, including also one Brazilian trainee. All the participants achieved the main goals of the courses through the production of innovative and reproducible outdoors projects using IBSE methodology, with relevant curricular topics, reflected in the trainees’ portfolios and diverse thematic. All trainees felt their competence, participation, interest and motivation enhanced and will recommend this national accredited training course to other colleagues, so spreading the possibility for new outdoors IBSE projects implementation.
Based upon our experience, we have noticed that if on one hand the botanic gardens are fantastic living spaces for the development of teaching / learning actions, the direct confrontation with reality, nature and the scientific phenomena and the greatness and immensity of entities and educational approaches, can be intimidating, in a first contact, for teachers and educators and even for the students. We believe that these threatening feelings could be minimized by a prior training on the resources, collections and knowledge on botanic gardens, to be integrated in higher-level curriculum courses of Biology or related areas, thus supporting an advance preparation of the future educators, in a broad sense of the term.
In this paper we will present a reflection about the experience gained in the two INQUIRE courses implemented. Analyzing the structure, content and products of this training for the trainer’s course, a new design and recommendations for future courses will be underlined, in order to contribute for the importance of IBSE methodology implementation using outdoors spaces, in a consistent Biology teaching context.