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Young students as critical science detectives

Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Commission of European Communities
Funding entity code
36.780,00 €
Start date
End date
The idea to create the YOUNG STUDENTS AS CRITICAL SCIENCE DETECTIVES emerged from a number of Erasmus+ experimentations with open schooling and open science schooling. The lessons learned from this rich experimentation revealed that it is difficult, sometimes impossible, for secondary schools in Europe to implement and experiment with the full concept and methodology of what we understand as “open science schooling”. The challenge for many schools and science teachers are: when trying to implement the full open science schooling methodology, they experienced – not surprisingly – that the traditional school and science curricula made it almost impossible. Faced with these conditions in the Erasmus+ projects, many schools working with open science schooling limited the experimentation to more punctual out-of-school activities such as visit to science centers – or including technology to “modernize” the science teaching. However positive such activities might be to students with less interest in traditional science teaching, such punctual activity is very far from what is intended in the open science schooling methodology. The open science schooling methodology is about student teams’ long and immersive and full engagement in science activities and processes in the community – and this is quite demanding. Therefore a group of partners started creating the idea of open science schooling approaches that were more practically implementable for schools and science teachers in typical secondary schools. In other words: open science schooling that could be INTEGRATED in the normal science education or ADDED to normal science education without the need to change the curricula fundamentally – and sufficiently flexible to be implemented in different ways according to the schools’ capacity and resources.
As a result of renewed studies of the most important Commission science education innovation guidelines and recent critical science learning research, we recognized that one of the major components in science learning innovation was: to be attractive to 21st century students, science and science learning should recover and rediscover the links to NARRATIVE and make efforts to communicate the learning in narrative forms. These links to narrative forms includes for example: adventure, science fiction, exploration, detective work, curiosity – and the ability to take action in such narrative worlds: narrative and epic agency. The result was the YOUNG STUDENTS AS CRITICAL SCIENCE DETECTIVES concept, at the same time able to integrate (due to the term “critical”) important Commission science learning policies, such as “science with and for society” and “responsible science”, but also to integrate sharing the science engagement with the students’ families and with other citizens. The ultimate mission of the project is therefore to create a model of YOUNG STUDENTS AS CRITICAL SCIENCE DETECTIVES that is attractive to schools and science teachers from across Europe and appears realistic to engage in. The model will be co-created by the young students themselves, as this is credo for all true educational innovation in the 21st century. The project is coordinated by Danish ABSALON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE and the partnership includes 8 partners from 7 European countries. The partnership is extremely pan-European with participation from Finland to Spain and from Greece to Denmark. The project will produce a long line of process outcomes and the following major products: THE CRITICAL SCIENCE DETECTIVES MODEL A guidance collection for secondary schools and their science teachers on how to easily integrate the critical science detectives method in the science curricula I AM A SCIENCE DETECTIVE – R U? The student teams’ joint video movie explain how they changed their negative attitudes towards science through the critical science missions CRITICAL SCIENCE DETECTIVES AND THE OPEN SCIENCE SCHOOLING AGENDA A theoretical paper discussing state of the art of Open Science Schooling from the point of view of lessons learned in the Critical Science Detectives project THE FUTURE OF SCIENCE LEARNING INNOVATION A policy paper trying to identify the key challenges to science learning innovation, based on positive and negative experience from the Critical Science Detectives project; the policy paper wishes to identify key research and experimentation needs in the near future to make Open Science Schooling a reality.
Call year
Funding call
ERASMUS +. Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Grant institution
European Commission. Education Audiovisual And Culture Executive Agency (eacea)