Scientists warn that serious declines in the insect population can have devastating consequences for the life of humanity, recalling that we depend on insects for the foods we consume.If we imagine ecology as a machine, then each insect that buzzes, crawls and flies acts as a impeller in this machine. Small, individual efforts bring enormous benefits to the livability of the world.Ways to preserve nature and take advantage of it need to be learned from an early age.Early childhood education is the basis of life. Therefore, at this age, priority should be given to studies related to the love of nature and inspiration from nature.
Exploring the Topic
The students were first asked to investigate an insect of their choice.When we talk about forest fires in the classroom, students’ curiosity about this increases when we talk about the importance of insects for the revival of burning forests. After that, the teacher asks them to investigate a bug they want. Everyone chose their bug and they prepared their bug presentations at home under the guidance of their parents. They got ready for class with a picture of their bugs.
After making a presentation in the classroom, the teacher reads the story of Eric Carle’s Hungry Caterpillar to the students with the interactive book reading technique.After the story of the Hungry Caterpillar, a trip to the “Insect Workshop” was organized in the Tropika Butterfly District of the Seljuk Municipality to learn more about insects. During the trip, the expert introduces the children to the twig beetle after giving them information about the insects. Children who want to take the twig bug in their hands. With the butterfly garden trip, the part of learning about insects is completed.
Since the topic of insects came out of forest fires, the teacher specifically mentions the dung beetle, which takes an active part in the transportation of seeds. Videos about the dung beetle are viewed. They do rounding emulations like that. The bug rondu is played.
The prepared seed balls are then left to nature by the children.
How can you drop seed balls in places inaccessible to people in forest fires? The question will be asked. The answers that came in were usually airplanes, helicopters and robots. Information was given about the location of insects in robot design. Yavuz Özdoğan, Teacher of Information Technologies at our school, was invited to the class. Our guest told the children about the work of robots. He showed me how it works with the Arduino set.
The teacher then reads the children a story about setting up an electrical circuit. Set up a circuit i.in salt ceramics are kneaded and the design is made. The completion of the circuit is explained by lighting the LED lamp via the design. It’s time to design a robot insect. Children who draw their designs prepare parts for the teacher that they will make themselves in the design. The teacher supports the children in the difficult parts and the designs are completed.
At the end of the study, the children learned about the benefits of insects to nature. They learned the working systems of robots. They acquired skills, related to the installation and operation of electrical circuits.
For the third year, High School of Math and Science Kyustendil joins the STEM Discovery Campaign initiative. This year the focus is on student projects, which are an example of real application of what has been learnt in the field of mathematics, technology, science and engineering. We present in the form of a virtual demonstration/online lecture the best projects of students from our school. We used Google Site and thematically arranged projects, related to the tagline for this year’s campaign –Sustainability and Citizenship.
All projects are winners in different categories in the national competition “Looking for super STEM Bulgaria”, as well as other national competitions.
The resources from the Scientix Repository of resources helped us to implement the activity (online and in-class). We used the CODING IN STEM EDUCATION brochure, which can be found here: http://www.scientix.eu/resources/details?resourceId=23114. “What does a robot have to do with environmental protection?” “How do you remote control a model ship using a smartphone?” “How can you program a ‘pet’?” “IT is everywhere and coding offers many possibilities for exciting and relevant lessons” – just to name a few topics investigated in the brochure.
Dioramas: Any relative constructive material provided by the art teacher
Optional: Lego – Lego EV3 – Lego Spike prime
The specific learning scenario aims at introducing students to science, scientists and scientific thinking by using a different teaching approach. It attempts to dispel myths and stereotypes pertaining to the above-mentioned fields and create the conditions so that science becomes a familiar framework for all students. On understanding that science contributes to all kinds of human activities, the students will intuitively realize that scientific thinking and science have contributed and still do to the evolution of humanity and really define the cultural context of each era. To achieve these specific targets, the scenario uses the Nature of Science approach (NOS) and focuses on knowledge about science which includes “understanding the nature of science as a human activity and the power and limitations of scientific knowledge” (OECD 2012 – European Commission 2017).
The students are introduced to a very old, different era and start to understand human thinking by tracing the first steps taken by mankind. They are asked to go back in time to that era and not only offer solutions to problems of the time but also to compare their solutions to those given by the people living back then.
By taking part in activities, in an interdisciplinary context, the students cooperate using imagination, come to decisions or construct objects as a team and each member contributes creatively to the decisions or creations with his personal active participation (Cooperative Learning). During the different steps of the scenario, the students are asked to observe, gather, combine and analyze data from conditions given to them (Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE)). Furthermore, they are asked to solve open problems and answer real-life questions by applying divergent thinking, and using their knowledge, experiences, critical thinking and creative abilities (Problem Based Learning). They work in teams interacting with each other as well as with the content and the new information given to them which they gradually start acquiring (Content and Language Integrated Learning – CLIL).They collect information by themselves and by analyzing factors are led to group conclusions and findings that are announced in the plenary of the class (Flipped Classroom). Dealing with situations which demand better communication, interaction and critical thinking, the students gradually build on their previous personal knowledge and become increasingly better at solving problems (Project Based Learning).They build up their knowledge through constructions using analytic-synthetic thinking (DIY Science) and can then convey what they learned to the others (Collective Learning). A positive consequence is that they develop strategies which contribute to their learning how to learn (Metacognition).
During these procedures, the students intuitively comprehend (through comparison with early humans) that science constitutes a human endeavor, based on acquiring knowledge, its’ consequences are inextricably linked to technology and define the level of a civilization. A very important fact is that the students, resort to deeper thinking, set up their own scientific community, learn how to talk about scientific subjects using arguments and thus develop scientific literacy (OECD 2015). They acquire 21st century skills and can recall and use them in decision-making on everyday situations so that they become responsible citizens and can make informed decisions for the future of mankind.
Nature of Science (NOS): To dispel myths and stereotypes related to science, scientists and technology. To define science as human endeavour and process
Scientific Literacy: To explain phenomena scientifically. To recognize, offer and evaluate explanations for a range of natural and technological phenomena. To describe and appraise scientific investigations and propose ways of addressing questions. To analyze and evaluate data, claims and arguments in a variety of representations and draw appropriate scientific conclusions
Physics: To understand how weather conditions are formed and how they affect our living environment. To understand how friction brings about an increase in temperature
History: To become familiar with a certain period of prehistory called “Stone age” and its subdivisions. To realize how archaeologists interpret findings so as to reach conclusions.
Biology: To compare similarities and differences between human and animals with regard to their anatomy. To explain the important role that nutrition played in the evolution of the human body and in thinking
Technology: To realize that observation and application of processes (basic elements of science) produce and develop results those meet people’s needs (Technology – Tools). To also realize that the basic algorithmic process is the primary step in the case of coding. (Robotics – EV3 or Spike Prime)
Ecology: To understand that biodiversity is predominant in nature, in fauna and flora that it depends on certain conditions. To perceive that evolution of any species, including humans, depends on natural selection
Art History: To get to know that cave painting was the first attempt of humans to produce a symbolic language in their attempts to express and communicate their’ experiences. To also realize that the application of various techniques and colors indicates the evolution of thought itself
Art: To Imagine themselves as early humans painting landscapes. To design presentations and enrich them graphically. To use scale to construct dioramas about the stone age period.
Engineering: To analyze the reasons why the wheel wasn’t invented during that period despite the great need for relocation (limitation of science). To design and construct shelters as well as to design the most suitable proper location and topographical view of a stone-age city. To make constructions using Lego bricks following instructions
Natural Science: To become familiar with agricultural processes by extracting and planting seeds and growing edible products (flowers)
Mathematics: To apply analogies to manage plants use. To apply geometry and shape properties to construct shelters. To apply geometry and scales so as to design a city.
Τhe learning scenario was designed and implemented by the teachers and students of “Science Culture Educational Center “Aristotelio” – STEAM Academy”.
The design process of this learning scenario, time-consuming though it may be, has given us, the teachers, the unique opportunity to constructively cooperate on all levels. By delving into different educational methodologies and through the discovery of new educational approaches, we have creatively enriched and further developed the scenario. Above all, however, it helped us significantly with the positive feedback of our teaching practice as a whole.
The learning scenario has been implemented on and evaluated by students of different age groups and in particular from 6 to 12 years old. The purpose of the implementation was not only to accurately determine the age group which would more likely benefit from the scenario but also to possibly enrich it with more specialized activities.
During the implementation, it was concluded that students of all ages liked working collaboratively and each one of them was able to contribute to the produced work using his personal experiences, knowledge, abilities and skills. Furthermore, all the students liked the interdisciplinary approach to the subject as they understood the interdependence of learning and acquiring knowledge with the help of different fields. This multilevel approach was what helped them intuitively comprehend that solving open everyday problems asks for analysis, data processing and critical thinking.
What is more, it has been observed that young students (6-8 years-old), had difficulty understanding time sequence in the distant past. To this age group, the past is one and uniform and that is why they are not able to understand time sequence. This age group, together with the 8-10 year-olds, had trouble dealing with the nature of science and coming up with satisfactory answers to these specific issues. Some of the activities (shelter and settlement construction) were found to be quite demanding for them.
On the other hand, the 10-12 age groups managed to respond really well to all the demands of the scenario and achieved extremely high rates in solving the open problems. An equally important fact is that they worked collaboratively and developed the skills of scientific analysis, data processing as well as scientific argumentation, which have rendered them scientifically literate and have offered them the abilities needed to evolve into responsible citizens.
During 26 – 28 April 2021 the scenario implemented online with 10 – 12 years old students. Given the circumstances the original learning scenario had to be adapted as the activities related to constructions and the activity of robotics could not be carried out online by the students. However, the adaptation of the learning scenario did not make it difficult for the students to achieve the learning outcomes as the other activities were largely enriched with differentiated material which can be presented online.
Pollution is a kind of damage to the environment. Substances or wastes cause it. Some pollution breaks down quickly. However, some might take thousands or millions of years to break down. Therefore, food waste is a global problem. It is threatening environmental, social and economic sustainability.
In this learning scenario, we are planning to find solutions to prevent environmental pollution. For instance, we can use homemade waste. In addition, we will have a useful product. Firstly, students will learn a way of preventing environmental pollution. It will be by recycling food waste at school or in their household. They will use a simple method. Secondly, they will be simulating the worm’s role in nature. Worms are used to recycle food into valuable soil. Thirdly, students will produce fertilizer for planting. They will help to clean the environment. Moreover, the pollution will decrease with the help of recycling. As a result, students will discuss other solutions for pollution. Also, they will prepare a final presentation of their findings. Some will prepare posters in Turkish or English.