HSCI2008 Hands-on Science Formal and Informal Science Education Proceedings of the

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Proceedings of the
5 International Conference on
Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
October 13-17, 2008
Espaço Ciência, Olinda-Recife, Brazil
The Hands-on Science Network
Proceedings of the
International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
13rd - 17th October, 2008
Espaço Ciência, Olinda-Recife, Brazil
ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Online available on http://www.hsci.info
Manuel Filipe Pereira da Cunha Martins Costa (Portugal)
António Carlos Pavão (Brazil)
Mikiya Muramatsu (Brazil)
International Advisory Committee:
Abhay Kothari (India)
Anand Asundi (Singapore)
Clementina Timus (Romania)
Elina Jussila (Finland)
Eva Ramon Gallegos (Mexico)
Gita Senka (Latvia)
Hanna Tom (Estonia)
Horst (Germany)
Joaquim Carneiro (Portugal)
Karl Sarnow (Belgium)
Korado Korlevic (Croacia)
Manoj K. Patairiya (India)
Maria Conceição Abreu (Portugal)
Mario Belloni (USA)
Monica Landau (Argentina)
Pedro Membiela (Spain)
Roger Ferlet (France)
Srdjan Verbic (Serbia)
Vasco Teixeira (Portugal)
Adelina Sporea (Romania)
Andre Koch Torres (Brazil)
Daniel Gil Pérez (Spain)
Elsa Hogert (Argentina)
Francisco Esquembre (Spain)
Charlotte Holtermann (Denmark)
Hans Fibi (Austria)
Iryna Berezovska (Ukraine)
John Bartzis (Greece)
Kim Chew Ng (Australia)
Marki Lászlo ( Hungria)
Manuel Armando Pereira (Portugal)
Maria Odete Valente (Portugal)
Mariolina Tenchini (Italy)
Nestor Gaggioli (Argentina)
Peter Csermely (Hungary)
Sabry Abdel-Mottaleb (Egipt)
Svein Sjøberg (Norway)
Wolfgang Christian (USA)
Amparo Vilches (Spain)
Anna Pascucci (Italy)
Deidre Knox (Ireland)
Erik Johansson (Sweden)
François van Cuyck (France)
Hai-Ning Cui (China)
Hector Rabal (Argentina)
Ivan Gerlic (Slovenia)
Joseph Trna (Czech Republic)
Klaus Klein (Germany)
Lászlo Fuchcs (USA)
Marcelo Trivi (Argentina)
Marian Kires (Slovakia)
Marques Henriques(Portugal)
Nilgun Erentay (Turkey)
Radu Chisleag (Romania)
Senen Lanceros Mendez (Portugal)
Tina Overton (UK)
Yuri Senichenkov (Russia)
António Carlos Pavão (Brazil)
Jose Benito Vazquez Dorrio (Spain)
Dan Sporea (Romania)
Eleni Kiryaki (Belgium)
Hugh Cartwright (United Kingdom)
Cacilda Moura (Portugal)
Maria de Jesus Gomes (Portugal)
Klaus Klein (Germany)
Mikiya Muramatsu (Brazil)
Raquel Reis (Portugal)
Sasa Divjak (Slovenia)
Jose Miguel Zamarro (Spain)
Walburga Bannwarth (Germany)
Manoj K. Patairiya (India)
Mário Pereira (Portugal)
Program Committee:
Manuel Filipe Costa (Portugal)
Armando Tavares (Brazil)
Panagiotis Michaelides (Greece)
Costas Constantinou (Cyprus)
Suzanne Gatt (Malta)
George Kalkanis (Greece)
Abhay Kothari (India)
Fernando Ribeiro (Portugal)
Local organizing Commitee:
António Pavão
Mikiya Muramatsu
Aprígio Curvelo
Evandro Passos
Luisa Massarani
Roseli de Deus
Martha Marandino
Pedro Persechini
Ana Mae Barbosa
Sara Reis Costa
Joel Felizes
Luís Cunha
Rui Vila-Chã Batista
Madalena Lira
Francis Dupuis
Armando Tavares
Cassio Laranjeira
Fátima Brito
Luiz Scolari
Marcus Vale
Marta Montovanni
Manuel Filipe Costa
Rosa Ester Rossini
Cacilda Moura
Jose Benito Vázquez Dorrío
Maria de Jesus Gomes
Vicente Fonseca
Rosa Villar Quinteiro
Karina Maia
Adriana Cunha
Ernst Hamburger
José Ribamar Ferreira
Marcelo Knobel
Mario Domingos
Nelson Studart
Raquel Reis
Sonia Seixas
Carlos Filipe Lima
José Filipe Fernandes
Mário Pereira
Sandra Franco
Ramón Soto Costas
The Hands-on Science Network
© 2008 H-Sci
Proceedings of the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
13rd - 17th October, 2008
Espaço Ciência, Olinda-Recife, Brazil
Edited by
Manuel Filipe Pereira da Cunha Martins Costa (Universidade do Minho)
José Benito Vazquez Dorrío (Universidade de Vigo)
António Carlos Pavão (Espaço Ciência)
Mikiya Muramatsu (Universidade de São Paulo)
The Hands-on Science Network
Copyright © 2008 H-Sci
ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Printed by: Copissaurio Repro – Centro Imp. Unip. Lda. Campus de Gualtar, Reprografia
Complexo II, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
Number of copies: 200
First printing: September 2008
Distributed worldwide by The Hands-on Science Network - [email protected]
Full text available online at http://www.hsci.info
The papers published in this book compose the Proceedings of the 5th International
Conference on Hands-on Science. Papers were selected by the Conference Committees to
be presented in oral or poster format, and were subject to review by the editors and
program committee. They are exclusive responsibility of the authors and are published
herein as submitted, in interest of timely dissemination.
Please use the following format to cite material from this book:
Author (s). Title of Paper. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Hands-on
Science. Costa MF, Dorrío BV, Pavao AF and Muramatsu M (Eds.); 2008, 13-17 October;
Espaço Ciência, Olinda-Recife, Brazil. 2008. Page numbers.
The authors of this book, the Hands-on Science Network, the organizers and the
sponsors of the HSCI2008 Conference, none of them, accept any responsibility for any
use of the information contained in this book.
All rights reserved.
Permission to use is granted if appropriate reference to this source is made, the use is for
educational purposes and no fees or other income is charged.
The Organizers of the 5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
acknowledge the sponsorship cooperation and support of:
Universidade do Minho
Escola de Ciências
de Vigo
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
With a broad open understanding of the meaning and importance of Science to the
development of our societies, each individual and of the humankind, the main goal of the
Hands-on Science Network is the development and improvement of science education and
scientific literacy by an extended use of investigative hands-on experiments based learning
of Science and its applications.
Our activity extends to all subjects age levels, from pre-school basic secondary vocational
and special education schools to higher education and adult education. Approaching science
education from different angles and perspectives using different methods and teaching
strategies although always trying to promote active self committed, hands-on, learning in
formal and non-formal/ informal contexts.
Often considered isolated and unrelated contexts, the formative educational potential of
activities in non-formal and informal environments and approaches was clearly un-profited on
itself and to in-school formal learning. The recent extraordinary boom of science museums
and centres, all over the world, lead to a very positive development in approaching and
exploring the pedagogic usefulness of informal and non-formal educational approaches. The
benefits to formal in school education, that is will and should be the main educational ground
in our societies, of non-formal and informal activities should be further explored and the
relationship enhanced in both directions.
Our 5th International Conference on “Hands-on Science. Formal and informal science
education”, the first one to take place outside the European Union, will focus on discussing
and exploring new approaches to these subjects.
The environment of Brazil’ Pernambuco state main science centre “Espaço Ciência” in
the UNESCO World Heritage town of Olinda, Recife, will be the ideal nurturing ground for a
open friendly and productive exchange of experiences and ideas among the expected over
250 participants from all over Brazil and the world. The 140 communications received,
published in the conference’ proceedings book and later on, after peer-review, at our new
International Journal on Hands-on Science (http://ijhsci.aect.pt), will become an invaluable
tool to be freely used by teachers educators and all persons interested and involved in
science education
…towards a better Science Education…
As Chair of the conference and President of the International Association Hands-on
Science Network it is my pleasure to welcome you to HSCI2008 wishing you a wonderful
stay in Olinda!
Braga, September 22, 2008.
Manuel Filipe Pereira da Cunha Martins Costa
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Hands-on Sustainability:
How Can We Contribute to the Construction of a Sustainable Future?
A. Vilches, B.V. Dorrío and D. Gil-Pérez
The Debate Forums in the Learning Regime
F. Lopes dos Reis and A.E. Martins
Magical Numbers May Govern the Optimum Size of Curriculum Classes
I.R. Chisleag-Losada and R. Chisleag
E-Learning : A Way in Teaching / Learning
F. Lopes dos Reis and A.E. Martins
Solar-Recharged UPS as a Low Cost AC Power Supply for Electronics and
Environmental Education
J. Diz-Bugarín and M. Rodríguez-Paz
A Reflexion on the Importance of Web in Long-Distance Teaching
F. Lopes dos Reis and A.E. Martins
Mobile Phones in the Classroom
S. Divjak
Some Simple Experiments in Optics Using a Photo-Resistor
A. Dias Tavares and M. Muramatsu
Educational Exhibition about Flow of Renewable Energies in Traditional Maize
Culture in Galicia
M. Rodríguez Paz and J. Diz-Bugarín
Research Interpretation in University
B.V. Dorrío
Itinerant Museum of History Chemistry – Soap
J. Mesquita Contarini and W. Ruggeri Waldman
Nanotechnology Education on a Local Scale
N. Berchenko and I. Berezovska
Enhancing Women Presence in Science – from “De Jure” to “De Facto” Situation
C. Timus
Electronic Resources in Patient Education: Issues and Solutions
I. Berezovska, K.L. Buchinger and U. Chernyaha
Itinerant Chemistry History Museum - Discussions on “Biotechnology”
C. Miranda, D. Gossani, L.C. Passoni and W. Ruggeri Waldman
The Wonderful World of Crystals
E. Niculescu
Strategy for Innovation and Quality in Research
R.V. Medianu and C. Timus
Hands-on Activity as a Source of Motivational Effectiveness of Learning Tasks in
Science Education
J. Trna
Consequences of a Quadratic Law of the Lever
A.K.T. Assis and F.M.M. Ravanelli
Senses Built up the Students about Themselves as Learners
A.R. Goulart, J. Moraes and M.C.C. Magalhães
Comparison between Orientation of Kindergartens Students by Traditional Distance
Learning and e-Learning
S. Seixas
Appropriate Technology in Biological Sciences for Developing Countries – A Do It
Yourself Program
C. Peres da Costa
The Brazil Chemistry Discovery. Itinerant Museum of the History of Chemistry Approaching on “Food Conservation”
A. Morais de Sousa and W. Ruggeri Waldman
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Improving Pre-School Children Initial Ideas about Terrestrial Snails
R. Gaspar
Why are Crabs Disappearing from Recife? The Use of a Short Film in a Non-Formal
Context in Elementary School Teaching
K.M. Euzebio da Silva, A. Flora Pereira and F. Muniz Brayner Lopes
Continuous Formation for Teachers of the Initial Series of the Fundamental Teaching.
“Projeto Mão na Massa”
R.C.P. Borges, B.A.C.C. Athayde, S. Falconi and K.F.O. Matos
Teachers´ Participation in Guided Visits at Museu de Ciências Naturais PUC Minas
A.C. Sanches Diniz
Espaços da Ciência of the CECIERJ Foundation
V. Cascon, V. F. Guimarães, P.C.B. Arantes and M. S. Dahmouche
The project “Ciência ao Vivo”: itinerant science demonstrations
M.C. Hermida Martinez Ruiz, A. Gaspar, and R. Deus Lopes
Rescuing Astronomy of the Great Navigations. Teaching Astronomy through
Instruments of XVI Century
P. Leroy, H. Fabiano de Castro and A. Alex de Paula
E-portfolio – A Modality of Optimising the Evaluation in the Process of Initial and
Continuous Training of the Teachers
E. Mănucă, B. Constantin Neculau, A. Sevastian and R. Gavrilas
Evaluation of the New Practical Approaches in the Biochemistry Course of the
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil
R. Freitas e Silva, A. Pavão, M. Vanusa da Silva and M.T. Santos Correia
Problem Solving and Device Construction
M. Firer
Synchronizing Head & Hands together for Excellence:
Role of Technology Communication & Technological Temper -An Attitudinal Analysis
M. Patairiya
Learning in Interdisciplinary (non)Formal Contexts – A Means of Developing the
Students’ Creativity
E. Mănucă, S. Alexandru and R. Gavrilaş
Learning by Doing. Filling Children with Enthusiasm for Scientific Discovery
N. Erentay
Partitive Mixing of Colours Interactive Device
R. Veiga, R. Correia and J.S. Esteves
Developing a Sense of Connectedness to the Natural World: Latest Impressions from
the Unique and Universal Project
N. Erentay
Problem-Based Learning in Physics
E. Vladescu
Developing Mathematical Talent of Students
L.C. Vladescu
Computer Simulations of Physics Phenomena Using Flash
I. Radinschi, C. Damoc, A. Cehan and V. Cehan
Perennial Value of Great Physics Laboratory Equipment Collections
R. Chisleag, V.C. Diaconescu and V. Buiu
Permanently Expanding the Use of Standard Laboratory Equipment to New
R. Chisleag
Informal Learning at School. Science Fairs in Basic Schools
Z. Esteves, A. Cabral and M.F.M. Costa
Metals Are Reductive but Some Are More than Others
S.R. Oliveira Guedes and J.M. Pereira da Silva
Building a Robot to Use in School – Teachers and Students Learning Together
A.F. Ribeiro
Hands-on and Fieldwork Activities in Biology Teaching: A Proposal for Vocational
High School Students
J.Moraes and M.C.M. Godinho-Netto
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Thursday Cultural. All Thursday a Different Programming in the Museum of Natural
Sciences PUC Minas
E.M. Valadares Calaça Câmara, A.C. Sanches Diniz and P. Leroy
Professor in Activity in Informal Education. The Participation of the Professors in the
Visits Monitored to the Museum of Natural Sciences PUC Minas
A.C. Sanches Diniz
Project Living Museum. Accessibility to Creativity at the Museum PUC Minas
A.C. Sanches Diniz and E.M. Valadares Calaça Câmara
Vacation in the Museum. Educative Leisure in the Vacations of Winter and Summer in
the Museum of Natural Sciences PUC Minas
A.C. Sanches Diniz and E.M. Valadares Calaça Câmara
GAIA Center of Sciences. Itinerant Planetary-Observatory
P. Leroy and T. Aquino da Silveira
Building and Optimization of Solar Stoves and Ovens
W. Savoy and P. Leroy
Constructing a Solar Collector of Low Cost: An Opportunity to Teach Physics
T. Almeida Guimarães, L.A. Weiller, N. Gomes e Andradea, T.D. Moura, R.I. Correaa
and A.G. Dickman
Art and Science in the Park
M. Muramatsu and J.N. Teixeira
International Education at Ternopil State Technical University (Ukraine): Gaining
I. Berezovska, N. Mulyk and O. Matsyuk
Experimental Classes in Physics Courses in Higher Education: Managing the
Learning Outcomes and Favouring the Students Initiatives
M.P. Dos Santos, E. Cardoso and M. Santana
Science in Your Pocket
R.F. Wisman and K. Forinash
Steel Spheres and Skydiver Terminal Velocity Using Video Analysis Software
J. Costa Leme and C. Moura
Hands-on Interferometry
B.V. Dorrío
Science e–learning @ portal.moisil.ro
M. Garabet and I. Neacşu
Coal Mines and Natural Surroundings, Can They Be Integrated? An Educational
J. Redondas
Students’ Awareness of Endangered Species and Threatened Environments: A
Comparative Case-Study
M. Erdoğan, N. Erentay, M. Barss and A. Nechita
Amelioration of Acidic Soils: School Experiments with Colour Indicators
Demonstrating Cation and Anion Exchange Effects in Acid Soils
H. Bannwarth, I.Köster and H.Theurer
Between Deficiency and Abundance: School Experiment to Demonstrate the
Ambivalence of Environmental Relevant Compounds Like Nitric Acid HNO3 by
Demonstrating the Concentration- Dependent Effect on Plant Growth
H. Bannwarth
Experimental Contribution to Climate Protection: Attempts and Problems with the
CO2-Capture by Ammonia
H. Bannwarth
Respiration and Photosynthesis in Context: Experiments Demonstrating Relationship
between the Two Physiological Processes
H. Bannwarth
The Use of Everyday Life Problems in Secondary Education:
How to Boil an Egg
P. Lamprini, P. Dimiriatis, E. Kyriaki and M. Dimitra
Conservation of Energy Activity in a High School Classroom
A.S. Chaves, A.L. Fernandes Marques and V. Fortes de Castro
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Science Communication: Science is Everywhere but Where?
S. Gelmez
“Hands-on Science” During the Holidays
A. Breda Matos, I. Couto Lopes, M.C. Alexandre, M.F. Araújo and M.P. Guedes
Support Material for In-School Hands-on Experiments
B. Rangachar
“Hands-on: Oral Health“ Science- and Health Education in a Constructivist
J. Klocke, S. Neubert and K. Klein
“Science Camps-A Hands-on Experience”
An Experimental Contribution to Science- and Health Education
K. Klein, A. Germunf and M. Klein
Contributions of a Scientific Society (Society for Developmental Biology) and Its
Members to Science Education at All Levels
I. Chow
The Tulla Rectification of the River Rhine. A 19th Century Intervention and its 21st
Century Impact
K. Klein
Waste Water Management – A Hands on Experience
D. Serwas, S. Knop and K. Klein
Water Purification
T. Viileberg
Robotics. Robot’s Construction
A.F. Duarte, I. Carvalho, L. Carvalho, R. Krupa and V. Pereira
Science and Technology Fair of the Rio de Janeiro State
M.S. Dahmouche, V. Cascon, V.F. Guimarães, S.P. Pinto and P.C.B. Arantes
Learning How about Climatic Alterations in Urban Areas from Simple Experiment of
E. Nunes da Silva
A New Approach in Biology Teaching: Exploration of an Online Educational
Resources Centre
A. Barros, C. Melo, N. Regadas, J. Santos, S. Pereira and T. Moutinho
Reception of Students in the Museum of Sciences. A Look under the Perspective of
Extended Scientific and Technological Literacy
M. Rocha and N.M. Dias Garcia
“Science and Technology with Creativity”. A Case Study on the Use of the Classroom
as a Privileged Space to Teach and Learn Natural Sciences
A.R. Abreu and V. Signorelli
Methodology of the Inquiry: the Classroom as Investigative Space
A.R. Abreu and V. Signorelli
Application of Technologies in Physics and Mathematics Education in some CultureSpecific Countries
A Mathematics Scholar Project
I. Couto Lopes
Spreading Science Fairs: Knowledge and Training
A. Gregorio Montes
Young Talent for Sciences Program
J.B.M. Maria, P.R.M. Oliveira, M.S. Dahmouche, V. Cascon, V.F. Guimarães and P.C.B.
R. Rodrigues de Almeida, D. Martins Morato, F.C. Catunda de Vasconcelos, G. Rodrigues
do Rêgo Barros, J. Justino da Silva and L. Avelino da Silva
Discursive Trajectory of the Concept of “Energy” in a Science Class
M.M. Gadelha Gaspar, R.M. Alencar and N. Acioly-Régnier
Models of Explanation in Science Class
M. Ribeiro de Lira
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Introduction to Drama as a Teaching Strategy
R. Pinner
The Violin as a Tool for Teaching and Learning Physics
M.L. Netto Grillo, L.R. Perez Lisbôa Baptista, V. Rodrigues da Conceição,
J. Figueiredo Gschwend and M. Osório Talarico da Conceição
Discovering the Human Body. An Interdisciplinary Project in High School
J.A. Martins, A.C. Farias, L. Duso, M. Giovanela, S. Andrade Tesch, S.C. Menti
and R. Goulart Ramos
Playful Activities to Know Better the Group of Insects in Espaço Ciência
C. Santos, G. Suellen, B. Severo, F. Carmo, A. Paula, W. Bezerra and G. Valença
Investigating Extraction of DNA in Popular Plants of Brazil as a Way to Approach
Issues of Genetics in the Classroom
M. Renilda, W. Bezerra, E. Santos Filho, C. Santos and M. Brasil
An Research of a Sun Movement Model for Different Seasons and Latitudes
M. Fernandes, F. Siqueira da Silva, P.A. Ourique, V. Villas-Boas and F. Catelli
The Teachers' Knowledge in Science Classes of Elementary School
V. N. Lima and R. M. Alencar
Teachers’ Knowledge in Elementary School Science Classes
S. Leal Marques and R.M. Alencar
Interactive Learning Environment and Human Communication
T.S. Ferreira and C.R.F. Andrade
Hands-on Universe
R. Ferlet
About Champagne, Antrax...and Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895)
E. Van Haegenbergh
Role of Hands-on Activity in Development of Students´ Skills in Science Education
J. Trna, E. Trnova and I. Vaculova
Asymmetries and Symmetries in Science Communication
C. Carrillo Trueba
A Variation of an Ordinary Biology Experiment in the School Laboratory. Temperature
Sensors Detect Enzyme Catalase´s Activity in Potatoes
E. Kyriaki and C. Kozanoglou
Determination of the Impulse of a Super-Ball in a Collision with a Wood Block
and a Sponge-Kitchen Using a Force Sensor
J. Costa Leme and C. Moura
Cosmic Ray Physics in High Schools: The Phoenix Project
E. Manganote and E. Kemp
Hands-On Activities in Food-Science. An Experimental Contribution to Health
K. Markeli and K. Klein
A Classroom Practical Activity to Teach Concepts on Image Digitalization and
E. Kemp
“Recreio nas Fêrias”: Workshops for Children
M.C. Hermida Martinez Ruiz, E. Nunes da Silva, J. Carvalho Bezerra and R. Deus Lopes
ICT at Physics Field Work
J. Pernar
The Bibliographic Citations and the Visibility of the Women on Science
R. Reis
Practical Activities for High School Mathematics
S. Oliveira
University Meets School in Hands-on and Minds-on Activities
V. Henriques
Understanding Sunlight Energy through Multidisciplinary Experiments
E. Vieira, J. Silva, S. Moreira, M.F.M. Costa and M.J.M. Gomes
Set-up for Studies of the Vascularization of Choriolantoic Membrane from Quail
E. Ventura Lola Costa, N. Rodrigues Costa, G. Chaves Jimenes and R.A. Nogueira
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
“Atomística”: An Interactive Experience
A.M. Coulon Grisa
Exposures of Science and Technology: An Experience in the Paraíba Interior
M. Gomes Germano and M.L. Farias Freire
Preservice Science Teachers' Perceptions on the Use of Science Models as
Pedagogical Tools to Enhance Hands-on/Minds-on Curriculum Activities
L. Ferreira, E. Guimarães and Z. Guimarães
Science Museums - Places for Intergenerational Conviviality
R. Reis
The Student as "investigator" and the Understanding of Science: Project Scientific
R.C.P. Borges
Dynamic Geometry: A Hands-on Perspective for Geometry Teaching
F. Bellemain
The Teaching of Concepts through a Chemical Workshop in the Museum of Science
F. Vasconcelos, R. Almeida, R. Azevedo and J. Justino da Silva
Educação a Distância: uma Experiência de Formação de Professores em Ensino de
A.S. Orlandi Xavier, D. Schiel, P. Pádua Krauss and S. Fagionato-Ruffino
Aulas de Astronomia como Recurso de Inclusâo de Deficientes Visuais
M.A. Delgado Machado and M. C. Barbosa Lima
Jardim da Percepção do CDCC - USP: um Espaço de Cultura e Lazer na Cidade de
São Carlos – SP
A.A. Silva Curvelo and A. Rinaldi Martins
Project for the Ecological Development of BUZAU County’s Hilly Area
D. Valeriu
Model for the Project of Ecological Development of the Muddy Volcanoes Natural
D. Valeriu
Cognitive Motivational Teaching Techniques in Science
J. Trna
Uses of Drama as a Teaching Strategy
R. Pinner
Building Images: Holography by Hand, Pictures Made with Pinhole Camera
and Sum-of-Colors Ball
J.N. Teixeira, C.R. Rossatti de Souza and M. Muramatsu
Understanding the Human Body
M.I. Nogueira, R. Vasconcelos, M. Muramatsu and C.C. Robillota
The Optics of Vision
C.C. Robilotta
Experiências de Mecânica com Materiais de Baixo Custo
A.K.T. Assis
Hands-on Batteries
D. Martins Morato, G. Rodrigues do Rego Barros, R. Rodrigues de Almeida, L. Avelino da
Silva, V. Bezerra de Moraes and J. Tavares Cruz Oliveira
Archaeological Learning in Stones of a Remote Past
D.F. Cariolanda do Nascimento, D.F. Silva Souza, E. Vieira Cristiano, E.K. Gualberto de
Farias, M. Ferreira dos Anjos, A. Pavão, A.L.N. Oliveira and L.C. Luz Marques
Mathematics as Hands-on Learning
F. Dupuis and K.M. Batista de Oliveira
Use of the Solar Energy for Cooking Foods. Studies and Optimization of the Solar
G. Rodrigues do Rêgo Barros, K.M. Batista de Oliveira, D. Martins Morato, R. Rodrigues de
Almeida, L.A. da Silva, and E. Marques de Menezes
Studying Emission Behaviour of Trace Metals in Energy Production Process through
Correlation Matrix Technique
S. Thareja
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Hands-on Sustainability:
How Can We Contribute to the
Construction of a Sustainable
A. Vilches1, B.V. Dorrío2
and D. Gil-Pérez1
Departament de Didàctica de les Ciències
Experimentals i Socials, Universitat de València
Dpto. Física Aplicada. Universidade de Vigo
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. The scant response of citizens to
reiterated calls for attention to the serious
problems affecting all humanity leads to a belief
that there are serious obstacles that must be
studied in order to understand how to overcome
In this work we will focus on one of the more
important of these problems – the widespread
yet incorrect perception that the action of the
individual is of little importance – and we will
attempt to show from an eminently practical
viewpoint the relevance, for the construction of a
sustainable future, of what each one of us does
or does not do, in general - as a consumer,
professional and citizen - and in particular – in
the sphere of education.
Keywords. Planetary emergency, Environmental
Education for a Sustainable Future, Hands-on
1. Introduction
Until the second half of the 20th century, our
planet seemed huge, practically limitless, and the
effects of human activity remained locally
however, have begun to fade over recent
decades and many problems have taken on a
global character that has made “the world
situation” a direct cause for concern. News on
climate change, environmental deterioration,
excessive, unchecked consumption of energy
and raw materials with the subsequent
exhaustion of resources and, in short, the
serious situation of planetary emergency in
which we are immersed [1-3], have all jumped to
the front pages and opinion sections of the
media. Calls by the international scientific
community, NGOs and the UN itself, are
multiplying. At the same time, there are over
environmental protection linked to the same
number again of protocols putting them into
practice [4-5]. And yet most citizens, including
policy makers and educators, continue not to
react in the face of serious threats of social
collapse [6] and even the extinction of our
species [7], which is in principle in contradiction
to existing positive social interest, as seen in
innumerable information resources regarding
necessary respect for the environment [8-11].
It can be concluded, therefore, that there are
serious obstacles which hinder necessary
changes in attitude and behaviour and impede
even a determined involvement of educators at
all levels of formation for citizens who are aware
of the situation of planetary emergency and its
causes, and prepared to adopt the necessary
measures to face up to the situation [12].
It is necessary, then, to keep up efforts to
bring these obstacles to light and study how to
overcome them. In this article we focus on one
that most directly hinders finding a positive
answer to the key question “How can each one
of us contribute to building a sustainable future?”
This is a reference to the widespread perception
that individual actions are irrelevant. We will
critically analyse this misconception and put
forward some proposals for action to overcome
2. Are individual actions irrelevant?
Participants in courses and workshops on
education for sustainability often express doubt
about the effectiveness of individual actions, small
changes in our habits or our lifestyles, that
education can foster: The problems of exhausted
energy resources and pollution – they usually
state, for instance – are due, fundamentally, to big
industry; what each one of us can do regarding
this is, comparatively, insignificant.
Quite simple calculations that participants
themselves can make with regard to everyday
situations (Figure 1) show, however, that
individual commitment has a global repercussion.
For example, although small reductions in energy
consumption mean a small per capita saving,
when this is multiplied by millions of people it can
mean huge amounts of energy, with the
subsequent reduction in pollution.
These calculations and estimations can be
reinforced with hands-on activities [13-14] such
as, for example, determining how much water is
lost from a badly turned off dripping tap.
It should be stressed, therefore, that not only is
it not true that our small actions are insignificant
and irrelevant, but also that we are dealing with
necessary, indispensable measures if we want to
contribute in progressing towards a sustainable
future and increased involvement of citizens.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
For the future is going to depend to a great
extent upon the model of living we follow and,
although attempts are made to impose this on us,
the capacity we all have to change it should not
be underestimated [11]. Agenda 21, fruit of the
first Earth Summit, already indicated that
participation by civil society is a vital element in
the advance towards sustainability.
A systematic effort is therefore necessary to
incorporate education for sustainability as a key
objective in the formation of future citizens, and
make the need understood for actions that
contribute to a sustainable future in several
spheres: responsible consumption, professional
activity and action by citizens.
A careful follow up of these actions is also
needed. Continued educational activities are
therefore required that transform our conceptions,
our habits, our perspectives… and that guide us in
the actions to be taken.
But it is not enough to understand the
importance of our actions and have a general
view of the fields of action: we need to move into
action. In the same way that scientific education
calls for hands-on experiments, education for
sustainability demands involvement in specific
actions that need to be defined and transformed
into a commitment to act.
3. Specific proposals
Figure 1. The importance of individual actions
In different workshops imparted to secondary
and university students and trainee and working
teachers, we have been able to ascertain that
collective work in small groups, followed by
group sharing, gives rise to numerous proposals
for concrete action that can become the basis for
real commitment that can be (self) evaluated for
the building of a sustainable future.
Together with the classic “3Rs” (reduce,
reuse and recycle), that correspond to us as
consumers and that can give rise to numerous
specific proposals of interest, another three
guideline principles arise that also respond to our
roles as professionals and citizens:
ƒ Use
environment and people
ƒ Contribute to the education of citizens (we
are all educators as we interact with each
ƒ Participate in socio-political actions for
And it is equally understood that there is a
need for continual evaluation of the effects of our
actions that introduces, if needs be, corrective
They are proposals that occur again and
again in the workshops, as the fruit of collective
work, and they turn out to coincide essentially
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
with what is collected in wide-ranging literature
[18-22]. Below (Boxes C1 to C7) we outline the
most frequently formulated specific proposals:
C2. Reuse [23-24]
Print on the other side of already used paper
Collect sink and shower water for the WC
C1. Reduce (Do no waste resources) [26-30]
Reduce water consumption, for hygiene, watering,
swimming pools…
Short showers
Turn off taps (whilst cleaning teeth, putting on soap,
Drip feed watering
Reduce energy use for lighting
Use energy saving light bulbs
Switch off unnecessary lights (beat inertia)
Make the most of natural light
Reduce energy consumption in heating and
Insulate housing adequately
Do not programme very high temperatures (wear
warmer clothing) or very low temperatures (ventilate
better, use canopies…)
Switch off unnecessary radiators or air conditioners
Also collect rain water for watering or WC
Do not use disposable objects
In particular, avoid plastic bags and wrappers,
aluminium foil, paper cups, etc.
Substitute them with reusable ones, repair these when
necessary for as long as possible
Use recycled and recyclable products (paper,
toner, etc)
Encourage the reuse of computers, toys, clothes,
Donate to charities that manage this
Rehabilitate housing
To make it more sustainable (better insulation, etc.)
and avoid new construction
C3. Recycle [9,26,31]
Separate waste for selective collection
Reduce energy consumption in transport
Use public transport
Use a bicycle and/or go on foot
Organise shared transport
Reduce speed, drive efficiently
Avoid plane travel whenever possible
Avoid lifts whenever possible
Reduce energy consumption in other household
Turn off the TV, PC, etc completely when not in use
Defrost the freezer, check boilers and heaters, etc.
Reduce energy consumption in food, improving it
at the same time
Eat more vegetables, pulses and fruit, and less meat
Respect closed seasons and do not eat small, young
Avoid exotic products that demand high cost transport
Eat products in season and produced organically
Reduce paper use
Avoid printing documents that can be read on screen
Write, photocopy and print on both sides of the paper
Do not leave excessive margins
Combat Consumerism
Analyse advertising critically
Mute commercials
Do not be pulled in by commercial campaigns around
St Valentines, Festive season, etc.
Programme purchases with a needs list
Take what cannot be left in the usual bin to “civil
amenity sites”:
Batteries, mobile phones, computers, oil, toxic
chemicals, etc.
Do not pour waste down WCs or drains
C4. Avoid products that do not respect the
environment and people [9,26,32]
Personally apply the precaution principal
Do not buy products without finding out how harmful
they are: check the ingredients of foodstuffs, cleaning
materials, clothes, etc., and avoid those that do not
offer guarantees
Avoid sprays and aerosols (use hand sprays)
Apply safety norms at work, at home, etc.
Opt for renewable energies at home, in the car,
Use efficient, low energy, low contamination (A++)
household appliances
rechargeable ones
C5. Contribute to civil education and action
Get well informed and discuss the situation with
others (family members, friends, co-workers,
students, etc.) and, above all, what we can do
Carry out dissemination and encouragement
Use the press, Internet, video, ecology fairs, schools
materials, etc.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Help raise awareness of sustainability problems and
those closely linked to consumerism, population
growth, environmental decline, imbalance, etc.
Inform about actions we can take and encourage them
to be put into practice, promoting campaigns such as
the use of energy saving light bulbs, reforestation,
responsible parenthood, forming associations, political
work, etc.
Study and apply what one can do for sustainability
as a professional
Research, innovate, teach…
Demand respect for international law
Promote democracy in world institutions (IMF, WTO,
World Bank, etc.)
Respect and defend cultural diversity
Respect and defend language diversity
Respect and defend lore, customs and traditions (that
do not contravene human rights)
Vote for parties with more favourable policies on
Work so that governments and political parties
take on the defence of sustainability
Demand local, state and universal legislation for
environmental protection
sustainability campaigns from the computer
Contribute to promoting the environment at work,
in the neighbourhood and city where we live, etc.
C7. Evaluate and offset [40-41]
Aid in conceiving measures for sustainability as
an opportunity that guarantees the future of
everyone and not as a limitation
Encourage social recognition of positive measures
C6. Participate in socio-political actions for
sustainability [1, 19, 39]
Respect and help others respect legislation that
protects the environment and biodiversity
Avoid adding to noise, light or visual pollution
Do not smoke where this might damage others, and
never throw cigarette butts to the ground
Do not leave rubbish in the woods, on the beach, etc.
Avoid moving to housing that contributes to the
destruction of ecosystems
Take care not to damage wildlife
Comply with traffic norms for the protection of people
and the environment
Denounce continued growth policies that are
incompatible with sustainability
Report ecological crimes:
Illegal tree felling, forest fires, waste dumping,
predatory development planning, etc.
Respect and help respect Human Rights
Report any discrimination based on ethnic, social
gender or other reasons
Collaborate actively and/or economically with
associations that defend sustainability:
Aid programmes for the Third World, environmental
defence, aid to people in difficulty, human rights
promotion, etc.
Call for the application of the 0.7 aid for the Third
World and contribute personally to this
Promote Fair Trade:
Reject products produced through predatory practices
(such as tropical timber, animal pelts, over fishing,
predatory tourism, etc.) or that are obtained using a
workforce without labour rights, child labour
Support fair trade enterprises
Demand clear informative policies on all the
Defend the right for research without ideological
Demand the application of the precaution principle
Carry out personal behaviour audits
At home, with transport, civil and professional action,
Offset the negative repercussions of our acts (CO2
emissions, use of contaminating products, etc.)
through positive actions
Contribute to reforestation, help NGOs,etc.
4. The educational role of action
It is essential, without doubt, to understand
the relevance our actions have – what we do or
do not do – and construct a global view of the
measures in which we can become involved. But
educative action cannot be limited to achieving
this understanding, taking for granted that this
will lead to effective shifts in behaviour: a
involvement of citizens in building a sustainable
future is the reduction of educative action to
conceptual study
It is necessary, therefore, to establish action
commitments in education centres, workplaces,
neighbourhoods and in households themselves,
in order to put into practice some of the
measures [42] and carry out follow up of the
results obtained. These actions, properly
evaluated, become the best procedure for
profound understanding of the challenges, and
the impulse for new commitments.
With this aim it is helpful to transform the
specific proposals given above into a follow up or
(self) evaluation network, starting with the
acquisition of concrete commitments that can be
evaluated periodically, such as can be seen in
Figure 2.
But before implementing this task in our
courses and workshops, it is necessary to create
our own network of commitments that can be
evaluated, both in the realm of consumers and
citizens (which allows us to aim better at those
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
we work with, thanks to knowledge gained
through our own experience), and with regards to
our professional realm: In what way are we
contributing, as educators and researchers, to
the Decade of Education for Sustainable
Development? What is our response to the call
from the United Nations aimed at educators from
all areas and levels for us to contribute to the
formation of citizens prepared to contribute to the
building of a sustainable future?
Figure 2. Network of concrete and (self) evaluation
5. Conclusions
We end by remembering that we are at the
start of a Decade that will be decisive for the
future of humanity in one sense or another: sadly
decisive if we cling to our inertia and do not
become aware of the need to reverse a process
of decay that constantly sends us unmistakable
signs in the form of global warming, anti-natural
catastrophes, loss of biological and cultural
diversity, millions dying through starvation and
war – the suicidal fruit of short term interests and
fundamentalisms, of dramatic migrations, etc.
Fortunately decisive if we are able to create a
universal movement in favour of a sustainable
future that has to start today. That is the
objective that we can and must set ourselves,
aware of the difficulties, but determined to
contribute, as educators, as scientists and as
citizens, to forging the conditions for a
sustainable future.
6. Credits
This communication has been conceived as a
contribution to the Decade of Education for
Sustainable Development [43] instigated by the
United Nations for the period 2005-2014.
7. References
[1] A. Vilches, and D. Gil-Pérez, Construyamos
supervivencia, Madrid: Cambridge University
Presss, 2003.
[2] M. Delibes and M. Delibes de Castro, La
Tierra herida. ¿Qué mundo heredarán
nuestros hijos? Barcelona: Destino, 2005.
[3] C. Duarte, Cambio Global. Impacto de la
actividad humana sobre el sistema Tierra.
Madrid: CSIC, 2006.
[4] http://www.biodiv.org/
[5] http://www.unece.org/
[6] J. Diamond, Colapso. Barcelona: Debate,
[7] F.J. Broswimmer, Ecocidio. Breve historia de
la extinción en masa de las especies.
Pamplona: Laetoli, 2005.
[8] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/
[9] http://www.wri.org/
[10] http://www.globalreporting.org/
[11] http://www.eyep.info/
[12] D. Gil-Pérez and A. Vilches, La atención al
futuro en la educación ciudadana. Posibles
obstáculos a superar para su inclusión en la
enseñanza de las ciencias. En, Martins, I.,
Paixao, F. y Marques, R. (Eds.) Perspectivas
Ciencia-Tecnología-Sociedade na Inovação
Universidade de Aveiro, 2004.
[13] UNESCO, 700 Science experiments for
everyone, Doubleday: New York, 1962.
[14] M.F.M. Costa, B.V. Dorrío, P. Michaelides
and S. Divjak, Selected Papers on Hands-on
Science, Universidade do Minho: Braga,
[15] P. Comin and B. Font, Consumo sostenible.
Preguntas con respuesta, Barcelona: Icaria,
[16] L.R. Brown, Salvar el planeta. Plan B:
ecología para un mundo en peligro,
Barcelona: Paidós, 2004.
[17] A. Calvo Roy and I. Fernández Bayo, Misión
Verde: ¡Salva tu planeta!, Madrid: Ediciones
SM, 2002.
[18] A. Gore, Una verdad incómoda. La crisis
planetaria del calentamiento global y cómo
afrontarla, Barcelona: Gedisa, 2007.
[19] E. Laszlo, Tú puedes cambiar el mundo.
Manual del ciudadano global para lograr un
planeta sostenible y sin violencia, Madrid:
Nowtilus, 2004.
[20] A. Pessoa and A. Cassasin, Salvar la Tierra.
Barcelona: Egedsa, 2007.
[21] M. Riba, Mañana. Guía de desarrollo
sostenible, Barcelona: Intermón Oxfam,
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
[22] The Earth Works Group, 50 cosas sencillas
que tú puedes hacer para salvar la Tierra,
Barcelona: Naturart, 2006.
[23] http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/
[24] http://www.agua-dulce.org/
[25] http://www.energy.eu/
[26] http://www.idae.es/consejos/
[27] http://www.eufic.org/
[28] http://europa.eu/pol/food/
[29] http://www.vivelaagriculturaecologica.com/
[30] http://www.consumehastamorir.com/
[31] http://www.recyclenow.org/
[32] http://www.eco-label.com/
[33] http://www.enviroliteracy.org/
[34] http://www.setem.org
[35] http://www.actionfornature.org/
[36] http://www.cites.org/
[37] http://www.sellocomerciojusto.org
[38] http://www.ilo.org/
[39] F. Mayor Zaragoza, Un mundo nuevo,
Barcelona, UNESCO, Circulo de Lectores,
[40] http://www.greenpeace.org
[41] http://ecologistasenaccion.org
[42] J.S.M. Moreno and A. Pedrosa, Ecologic
Sustainability and Individual and Collective
Everyday Practices, In Azeiteiro, U. M. et al.
Education. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2006.
[43] http://www.oei.es/decada/
The Debate Forums in the Learning
F. Lopes dos Reis1 and A.E. Martins2
Universidade Aberta
Lisboa (Portugal)
Universidade Aberta
Almada (Portugal)
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. This communication approaches the
construction of the interactive process in the
forming of cooperative communities from the
analysis of debate forums in the online
environment. The selection of this thematic is
motivated by the experience as teachers in the
E-Learning regime at Universidade Aberta and
by the recognition of the relevance of forums in
the construction of learning environments.
The utilization of several forms of interaction
and networked communication institutes a new
branch of education that is denominated as longdistance teaching. The exponential growth that
has occurred in the last decades within this
teaching methodology is due to technological
advances, especially in the virtual spaces of the
internet that result in new pedagogical
approaches and numerous possibilities of quick
and easy access to information.
The debate forums, as pedagogical tools,
contribute positively to promote a change in
teaching/learning relationship, in the sense of
proximity and overture of the university to the
world, for its organizational and temporal
Keywords. Debate forum, Teaching, Learning,
Long-Distance Teaching, Cooperative Learning.
1. Contextualization
The change in social structures allowed not
only the appearance of new learning contexts,
but also the appearance of new ways to create
The new reality of the socio-cultural
environment transformed, in a significant way,
the structure of the economic fabric, and
teaching, as a standpoint of sustainability of
modern societies, as to adapt to the new
constant demands, where change, and
subsequent adaptation, is an unavoidable reality
(Martins, 2006).
The interaction between teacher and student
allied to the new network structures made
possible the existence of communities with
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
specific characteristics and with the capacity to
construct knowledge.
Presently we live in exponential growth of the
potentials of communication and information
technologies, which has caused great changes in
daily social, cultural and economic routine.
The revolution we’ve been living in for the
past decades has also brought up new thoughts
in the educational context and the permanent
development of communication and information
technologies has given potential to educational
strategies, mainly in long-distance teaching.
In the beginning of long-distance teaching,
the most utilized learning theory was the
behavioural theory that considers that the
student’s answers are always possibly reinforced
by some award system. This was the time of the
hegemony of “Programmed Instruction” – a selfstudy system with emphasis on content,
considered the apogee of the behavioural
education application.
Later, with the appearance of cognitive and
constructive theories, process was more valued
than content, as well as the student’s internal
reasoning). According to the principles of these
theories, the cooperative learning networks were
strengthened and the students became
motivated to better express their thoughts, to
defend them, to accompany the discussion
among colleagues which also contributes to the
construction of their own knowledge.
Practically, during online classes, students
must gain incentive to develop activities in which
they are active subjects of the process,
interacting with the remainder of the group,
through technological resources like forums,
group activities, chats, e-mail exchange,
constructing knowledge in a different fashion
than with regular teaching.
Virtual learning environments have as an
objective to create learning situations for
students that are away from teaching centres, so
as to offer adequate solutions to the
learning/teaching process, resorting to Learning
Management Systems.
The virtual classroom promotes interaction
between students and teachers, through chat,
giving the teacher the possibility to lecture based
on a video window, resorting to a webcam and
projecting the contents in an area of didactic
exposition, the students having access to it
through a password.
The internet is becoming increasingly more a
familiar means of support to the building of new
educational proposals, long-distance teaching
representing a revolution in actual educational
paradigms, in so that is presents several
opportunities to universities to integrate and
enrich their didactic material, offering new
interaction and communication tools between
teacher and student.
The main theories of long-distance education
brought to the pedagogical environment a new
perception of the dimension of space and time of
In conventional teaching, the synchronization
required as essential condition to the realization
of processes is revaluated when it is developed
in non-physically present environments, mainly
after the introduction of the interned as a
pedagogical tool.
In long-distance teaching the concept of
space, in the sense of physical dimension where
the learning-teaching process takes place,
requires a new perspective. It is the improved
classroom, assuming new shapes, making
knowledge available to distant locations where it
is of difficult access.
The new technologies of information and
communication, especially the networked
computer, brought with them a new way of
understanding distance.
The new models of education are conceived
from diverse forms of communicating and
constructing existing knowledge. Rather than
transmitting “accumulated knowledge”, means
are made available to build knowledge from
virtual communities. In long-distance teaching we
work with a different dimension of time,
respecting the distinct apprenticeship times of
those learning.
The management of time from the teacher’s
part is a crucial point in long-distance education.
The amount of time needed to administer an
online course is greater if compared with regular
teaching, for the continuous presence of the
teacher, his guidance and availability are
fundamental for the success of the course, as
well as the time spent to read and reply to the
messages of students and read assignments
being greater than in regular teaching.
The modality of education in which
regardless of physical presence, at the same
time and in the same space, characterizes longdistance education.
Thus, we can define long-distance education
as a modality of education, where teaching is
constituted to the physical and temporal
distance, mediated by some form of technology
both facilitating and being an incentive of
communication and interaction between students
and teacher.
After all knowledge is decisively the frontier
for success in this new millennium (Martins,
2000), and long-distance teaching is itself a
fundamental partner for its dissemination.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
2. The debate forums in the construction of
learning environments
The process of teaching and learning through
new spaces has expanded in the last two
decades. The expression “learning space”
indicates in its traditional application, “classroom,
and library”. However, the new learning spaces
present a different connotation, being imaginary
Thus, the meaning of the term “virtual
learning space” goes beyond the limits of the
concepts of time and space, mainly with the
emergence of the “networked society”, new
virtual learning spaces have been establishing
themselves from the creative access and use of
In the virtual learning space there are no
spatial limits and disposition, the internet allows
all distance to be overcome originating a world of
limitless knowledge and information.
Cooperative learning is made through group
assignments and mutual help among students,
for the purposes of cooperative learning are
amply utilized because the collective tools made
available by the internet both helps and offers
this form of teaching.
Virtual support platforms to both teaching and
learning, also called Learning Management
Systems of virtual learning environments, are
considered to be spaces contained with the
internet’s cyberspace, composed by various
components that are responsible for the
communication, interaction and availability of
contents in the format of text, images and sound,
allowing the construction of a community and
making available tools that facilitated the contact
of students among themselves and with the
Forums are applications destined for network
use, made available on an intranet or the
internet, from a web server that supports
dynamic contents supported by database. In this
fashion, forums allow students and teachers to
asynchronous way.
Although there are many forms of
asynchronous communication such as e-mail,
forums have many advantages, among them, the
establishment of a notion of community, of group
spirit, addressing messages to several students
The utilization of forums facilitates a group
dynamic favourable to integration by the students
and promotes the open work habits so common
in the scientific community.
Communication through forums creates a
spirit of loyalty among students because the
questions and doubts are “public”, allowing a
global following of interactions, making possible
for the teacher to have a global perspective of
the interest and commitment by his students,
and, to them, allows to benefit from the questions
of their colleagues to clarify their own doubts,
allowing for a less compromised participation.
Forums promote a space that facilitates the
emergence of different perspectives and
questions, so as to obtain diversified
contributions to the resolution of problems and
the elaboration of projects, allowing the
exchange of experiences, the debate of ideas
and the construction of new knowledge, space
by excellence of asynchronous communication.
The forum is also characterized as a
cooperative learning community, for presently,
the creation of communities emerges from the
web, motivated by the openness and ease of
electronic communication.
In the teaching/learning environment the
forum is a learning tool used to foment debate
among users, requiring a significant amount of
time for complete integration in the group.
An aspect that must be emphasized is the
perception of the specific of each forum, where
the clarity about its utilization and respect for the
proposed topic must be preserved. From this
observation, which is usual, we incur the
existence of forums denominated as “thematic”,
whose objective is to focus on the emergent
reflections of group debates, as differentiated
spaces, where users can deal with questions,
sharing difficulties and dialogue over diverse
subjects. Forums are, equally, a powerful tool for
dialogues and exchange of experiences
subsequent to the reading of bibliographical
material recommended by the teacher.
After all, one of the main strategies in this
type of teaching is the cooperative work and the
interchange of ideas, the students being
encouraged by the teacher to interact among
themselves, participating in the forums in the
logic of continuous learning. The conversation
between students represents an indication of
cooperative learning in the measure that the
exchange of experiences originates, generally, a
growth in personal knowledge, thus, the students
aren’t restricted to receive information strictly
from the teacher or to interact strictly with him.
characterized by the sharing of resources, its
sense, the diversified authors of learning,
pleasure in divulging their breakthroughs, such
as texts, references, authors, events, etc.
The process of constructing cooperative
communities brings out quite often movements
that transcend the virtual space itself, bearing
witness to the fact that, in the specific case of
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Universidade Aberta, they are numerous,
students that feel the need for a greater
approach, namely, through meeting personally.
3. Final considerations
Debate forums are easy to use, being
accessible to all and constituting an asset in the
learning/teaching process and enhancing the
university’s community.
However, the predisposition to using the
forums assumes the existence of specific tools.
Throughout this article, we reflected on the
importance of debate forums as spaces of
cooperative learning, where we mainly encounter
the value of different experiences, the reflexion
of studied material, the construction of
knowledge, articulating between what is known
and the new information being assimilated.
A primary facet is its structure as an essential
tool for the existence of dialogue, in a virtual
learning environment, being a space for the
construction of knowledge where users resort, by
participating in a forum, to an exponential
increase of knowledge, since they must initiate
their participation with the reading of already
existing messages by colleagues to, only later,
add their contribution and present new ideas,
new reflexions and new contributions.
We must never forget that the fundamental
processes and those pertaining to long-distance
education concern asynchronous communication
and absence of face-to-face contact, situation
that the teacher must both minimize and
habitually, work around, for the sake of
educational success.
The development of a society is also
measured by the degree of maturation of its
community of educational learning, for only
species capable of continuous evolution are
capable of survival, as theorized by Darwin. The
technological tools is important, but the
motivation for learning, the creation of true
learning communities, only results from the
combined effort of the human being, the centre
of all things.
4. References
[1] L.G. Aretio, La educación a distancia: de la
teoría a la práctica, Ed. Ariel, Barcelona,
[2] J. Bottentuit, C. Coutinho and D. Alexandre,
M-learning e webquests. As novas
tecnologias como recurso pedagógico,
Proceedings of 8th International Symposium
on Computers in Education (SIIE2006), Vol.
2, (pp. 346-353), Servicio de Imprenta de la
Universidad de León, León, 2006.
[3] S.E. Brennan, C.B. Lockridge, Computermediated communication: A cognitive
science approach, in K. Brown (Ed.), ELL2,
Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics,
2nd Ed., Elsevier Ltd., Oxford, UK, 2006.
[4] L.S. Cheung, A constructivist approach to
designing computer supported concept
mapping environment, International Journal
of Instructional Media, Vol. 33, pp.150-155,
[5] C. Coutinho and J. Bottentuit, Tecnologia
Educativa em Portugal: Um Contributo Para
a Caracterização do Seu Quadro Teórico e
Conceptual, Revista Psicologia, Educação e
Cultura, Vol. XI (1), Maio, 2007.
[6] M. Dougiamas and P. Taylor, Moodle: Using
Learning Communities to Crate an Open
Source Course Management System,
Proceedings of the EDMEDIA 2003
Conference, Honolulu, Hawai, 2003.
[7] C. Grenhow, What Teacher Education Needs
to Know about Web 2.0: Preparing New
Teachers in the 21st Century, In R. Craslen et
al (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th
International Conference of the Society for
Education, SITE 2007, pp. 2027-2034,
Chesapeake, VA: AACE, 2007.
[8] A.E. Martins, Capital Intelectual – Ensaio
Exploratório de Modelo Explicativo, Tese de
Mestrado em Ciências Empresarias, ISCTE,
Portugal, 2000.
[9] A.E. Martins, O investimento directo
estrangeiro em Portugal – o caso da Polónia,
Tese de Mestrado em Economia e Estudos
Europeus, ISEG, Universidade Técnica de
Lisboa, Portugal, 2006.
[10] M. Meirinhos and A. Osório, B-Learning para
a formação contínua de professores, Actas
do VIII Congresso Galaico-Português de
Psicopedagogia, Vol. 2, pp. 949-964,
Universidade do Minho, Braga, 2007.
[11] J.M. Moran, Propostas de mudança nos
cursos presenciais em educação on-line.
m/153-TC-D2.htm, 2004.
[12]K.P. Pallof, Collaboration Online: Learning
Together in Community, Wiley, John & sons,
Incorporated, 2004.
[13] M. Paulsen, E-Learning: o papel dos
sistemas de gestão da aprendizagem na
Europa, Colecção formação a distância & eLearning, Inofor, p. 21, 2002.
[14] F.L. Reis and A.E. Martins, Os Desafios do
Professor no Contexto do Ensino Online,
Actas da Conferência V Simpósio sobre a
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Organização e Gestão Escolar, Universidade
de Aveiro, 2-3 de Maio, 2008.
[15]F.L. Reis and A.E. Martins, Benefícios do ELearning no ensino Universitário, Actas da 3ª
Conferência Ibérica de Sistemas Y
Tecnologías de Información, Universidade
de Vigo, Espanha, 19-21 de Junho, 2008.
[16]F.L. Reis and A.E. Martins, Perspectives of
the distance education in Portugal, Actas da
Education for Teaching, Universidade do
Minho, 14-17 de Julho, 2008.
[17]G. Salmon, E-moderating – the key to
teaching and learning online, Kogan Page,
London, 2000.
[18]A.T. Santos, As TIC e o Desenvolvimento de
Competências para Aprender a Aprender:
um estudo de caso de avaliação do impacte
das TIC na adopção de métodos de trabalho
efectivos no 1º Ciclo EB. Dissertação de
Mestrado, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro,
[19]R. Tavares, Aprendizagem significativa em
um ambiente multimedia, V Encuentro
Internacional sobre Aprendizaje Significativo,
Madrid, 2006.
[20]B. White, Is Web 2.0 the Future of the Web?
Comunicação oral apresentada no ED-Media
2007, Vancouver, CA, AACE, 2007.
Magical Numbers May Govern the
Optimum Size of Curriculum Classes
I.R. Chisleag-Losada1 and R. Chisleag2
Nat. Sch. for Political and Administrative
Sciences, Bucharest
Univ. “POLITEHNICA”, Bucharest
[email protected]
Abstract. Frequently, the public education
institutions are yearly financed, based upon the
total number of students, enrolled by those
institutions, at the beginning of the academic
year. The social demand to increase the number
of graduates prompts enlarging the size of
classes, within the upper limits imposed by the
infrastructure, by pedagogic, ergonomic or
administrative regulations, size, usually, less
connected with the results of an entire cycle. But,
how to choose the size of a class, to ensure both
the maximum financial support and the minimum
number of graduates expected by the society?
The authors suggest that a criterion for finding
the optimum size of classes be connected with
the their academic results through the curriculum
cycle, f. e. with the ratio graduated seniors /
enrolled freshmen, result to comply with
accreditation conditions for passing between
years. Thus, there may be numerically
determined the optimum size of a class of
freshmen, governed by “magical numbers”,
specific to the legal accreditation rules in force.
Keywords: Accreditation Rules, Econophysics,
Education Funding. Magical Numbers, Optimum
Size of Curriculum Classes.
1. Introduction
The management of education, at different
levels, rises, frequently, questions about how to
decrease the cost of education, per student. This
aspect is particularly important when the
expenses of an education institution (E.I.),
university, school, are integrally supported by the
public budget, national or local and when the
society needs more graduates.
In many countries, including Romania, the
public education institutions are yearly financed
based upon the total number of students
(respectively, pupils) enrolled with those
institutions, at the beginning of the academic
(school) year.
The yearly expenditures of an E.I. consist of
fixed and of variable ones.
The variable costs for the E.I. are those
proportional with the number of students.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The fixed costs which, by name, would be
independent of the number of students, are,
finally, for a rather large education unit, also
roughly proportional, with the total number of
students enrolled in that institution, subject to a
small relative error (of the same order of
magnitude with the relative error on the variable
costs). F. e., for an institution having ~ 50
classes, the relative error of appearing or
disappearing a class is ~ 2%, value acceptable
for the relative error on variable expenses.
Each year, the E. I. tries to enrol the
maximum, possible for it, cohort of students and
tries to divide all enrolled students in classes
which, usually, to have the standard allowed
maximum size The fixed expenditures of an E.I.
are connected with the number and the size of
classes. Larger the class, smaller their number
less fixed costs per student, but there are limits
of the upper size of a class, imposed by the E.I.
infrastructure, by pedagogic, ergonomic or
administrative regulations.
Usually, there are provisions in the rules of
Ministry of Education or of other regulatory
bodies, about the size of a class, depending of
the type of activity: f. e. 80-120 attendants for a
lecture, 20-30 students for a tutorial, 10-15
students for a laboratory work, 5- 10 students in
a plastic arts class.
How to choose the size of a class, to ensure,
both, the highest financial support and at least
the minimum number of graduates expected by
the society from a given curriculum?
There is needed a criterion for optimum.
2. A criterion for the optimum size of classes
The authors suggest that this criterion for the
optimum size of classes of a curriculum be
connected with the result of education (training)
through that curriculum, for example with the
ratio graduated seniors / enrolled freshmen, for a
complete cycle of studies of a given program
(curriculum), result to comply with accreditation
Usually, ministries of education or, eventually,
parliaments, set conditions [1] that a curriculum
be periodically (T= ~ 5y) accredited and/or
financed (yearly) including: conditions for ratio of
students passing in the next year, pa, and a
condition for passing the final (graduation)
examination, pb. Not fulfilling these conditions
means non accreditation and non financing of
that curriculum in the future1.
If observed by state authorities, but this may, sometimes,
not happen.
Therefore, there exists a supplementary
restriction to be dealt with by managers of an
education institution, restriction depending of
final results and not only of initial conditions.
The authors show that, by applying this
criterion of observing accreditation conditions
(the conditions for passing academic years and
final examination) one can numerically determine
the optimum size of a class when enrolling
freshmen, to, both, ensure the highest amount of
funding and its best use and the fulfilment of the
society minimum requirements.
3. Magical numbers
Because the requirements for accreditation
are expressed in the provisions of the existing
rules as minimum acceptable percentage [1] and
because the number of students implied must
always be an integer (the upper rounded up
integer, resulting from any computations,
because the conditions are minimum ones),
these conditions, especially for small cohorts,
impose thorough choice optimum size appearing
as being limited by “magical numbers”
determined by concrete provisions of the
accreditation rules. The determination of the size
of the class subjected to accreditation
requirements becomes a problem in Statistical
Physics or in Econophysics.
4. Hypothetical case study
Here following, there is described an example
[2] of such sizing of a program of study
4. 1. The Statement of the proposed problem
"At the Admission competition into a First
Cycle (“License”) of an Engineering Curriculum
(4 years of study + license examination), at a
newly created Faculty (let say “AS”), there are,
initially, offered, by the University, for the first
cohort of the curriculum, 100 places, funded by
the State, from the quota given to the whole
The authors proposed this problem, to the participants at the
ceremony of inauguration of the headquarters (“DECANAT”)
of the new Faculty of Applied Sciences of the University
“POLITEHNICA” in Bucharest, on 8 of March 2007. This
Faculty has been created, in the summer of 2005, as an
independent faculty, on the opportunity of implementing
Bologna Reform of Higher Education in Romania. The
number of candidates enrolled as freshmen in the academic
year 2005-6, with the curriculum offered by the new faculty of
Applied Sciences was 105 = D0. The students passing in the
second year was 68, coresponding to a p1 = 65%.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
University. Because of the existing demand and
of the results at the admission examination (3
hour tests in Mathematics and in Physics), the
Faculty AS asks, from the University, 5 more
State funded places, (to reach D0 = 105
freshmen) taking the 5 public budgeted place
from another faculty, that other faculty not having
covered with demands its initial quota.
The University approved that increase.
Soon, the candidate ranking the 106th on AS
list, which has an average mark a little smaller
than the mark of the 105th candidate, but larger
than the minimum average mark for admission in
the University, asked to be admitted in the
Faculty AS, too. But he was not accepted by the
Faculty. This candidate demanded, directly, to
the University, to offer Faculty AS one more
supplementary place for a newly enrolled student
The University, because the request was not
implying for it supplementary public financing,
accepted the demand of the 106th candidate,
subject to the Faculty AS’ decision. But the
Faculty AS did not accept the generous offer of
the University (to have M0 = 106 freshmen). The
Faculty AS, refused the place additionally funded
(place increasing with 1/105 the initial financing
of the curriculum, for its freshmen), mentioning
the future accreditation conditions.
Explain the two managerial positions, of the
Faculty and of the University, considering the
funding per year, per enrolled student, E, as
being constant, during the whole cycle of License
studies and observing the conditions for
Legal information [1]: Compulsory Conditions
for Accreditation of a Curriculum of Studies by
ARACIS (the Romanian State Accreditation
Agency for Higher Education), Annex. I. 3. 3., the
-- CNO IV 5: “between two successive years
of study, the minimum percentage of passed
students to be achieved must be pa = 40%” (1)
-- CNO IV 10: “the minimum percentage of
the students successful in taken the graduation
examination must be pg = 51%”. (2)
4.2. Solution of the problem
The strategy of solving the problem is to
determine, when observing (1) and (2), the
minimum necessary numbers of graduates of
the curriculum, with License's degree, Df (for the
D0 desired by the Faculty AS) and respectively,
Mf (corresponding to the MO freshmen, figure not
accepted by the Faculty AS) and to compare
The accepted results for Df and Mf are to be
the upper next integers of the exactly found
values. (3)
There are then to be compared the costs
involved versus the changes in the number of
enrolled freshmen.
If the number of students would not be
integers, the minimum percentage of graduated
students, out from the freshmen, compulsorily
resulting from accreditation conditions, Pf, would
Pf = p1 * p2 * p3 * p4 * pg = 0.404 * 0.51 =
=0.013056,(4) roughly, 1 graduate in about 76-77
The number of graduates, GD and GM, starting
from the two initial situations, D0 and
respectively, M0, rounded only at the end of
computations, would be:
GD = Pf*D0 = 0.013056 * 105 = 1.37088 → 2. (5)
GM = Pf*M0 = 0.013056 * 106 = 1.383936 → 2 (6)
That means that, the conditioned final result,
expressed in rounded up integers, would be the
same for both number D0 and M0 of enrolled
freshmen: 1 graduate (lower value) or 2
graduates (upper value), depending of the
convention of final rounding up (here - 2
graduates for the normal, upper, rounding up).
Based on this model, the Faculty might had
accepted the offer of the University, offer
increasing its funding for freshmen with 1/105 of
initial value, without supplementary obligations at
the end of the 4 y + graduation examination
But, if there is a rounding up to the upper
integer, for each year of study, the things change
4. 2. 1. Summary of the data known from the
Statement when rounding up to the
upper integer
Known data (input) :
D0 = 105; M0=106; pi = pa=0.40; pg=0.51, (7)
Di, Mi, Df, Mf ∈ N, (3)
where Di, Mi are the numbers of students
finishing the ith year of study,
i {1, 2, 3, 4}, (8)
Data to be found (output):
Df =?; Mf = ? (9)
TD = ΣDi = ? ; TM = ΣMi = ? (10)
where, T is the total number of funded
year*student, for the whole cycle.
4. 2. 2. The symbolic solution
Di+1 ≥ pa * Di ; Mi+1 ≥ pa * Mi (11)
Df ≥ pg * D4 ; Mf ≥ pg * M4 (12)
Di, Mi, Df, Mf ∈ N, (3)
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
4. 2. 3. The numerical Solution
The minimum number of students to pass in
the next year (rounded up to the upper
integer), for 4 years of study are, successively:
Di : D1 = 105*0.40= 42; D2 =16.8 → 17; D3 =6.8
→ 7; D4 = 2.8 → 3 (13)
Mi: M1 = 106*0.40= 42.4 → 43;
M2 = 17.2 → 18; M3 = 7.2 → 8;
M4= 3.2 → 4 (14)
The minimum number of students to pass the
graduate examination and receive diplomas
(rounded up to the upper integer):
Df ≥ pd * D4 = 0.51* 3 = 1.53 → Df = 2 graduates
Mf ≥ pd * M4 = 0.51* 4 = 2.02 → Mf = 3 graduates
4. 3. The interpretation of the results
The relative growth of the number of
graduates due to curriculum AS, expected by the
investor (the University), rf is:
rf = (Mf / Df ) – 1 = 3/2 – 1 = 50 % , (17)
for a relative increased investment in the
freshmen, r0 of:
r0 = (M0 / D0 ) - 1 = 106 / 105 - 1= 0,95 % (18)
For the University (the investor) the resulting
leverage, L0, would be:
L0 = rf / ro = 50% / 0.95 % = 52.63 ~53 times !
The cumulated (consolidated) expenditures,
during the whole cycle, due to the enrolment of
one supplementary freshman, would increase
TD = ΣDi= 174 year*student*E (20) to
TM = ΣMi=179 y*s* E, (21)
relatively, rt, with 2.73% (22)
The Leverage on the total expenditures for
getting one more graduate, Lf, would be:
Lf = rf / rt = 0,5: (5/174)= 17.4 times. (23)
Therefore, the University is highly interested
to have enrolled, by the faculty AS, the 106th
The Faculty may had looked at the offer of the
University as an obligation to got three graduates
instead of two (50% more efforts) for that cohort,
for an increase in funding of only 0.95% for
freshmen and of 2.73%, for the entire cycle.
Therefore the Faculty is not wishing to enrol the
106th student, with a view to the coming
accreditation inspection, at the end of the cycle.
It was not worth for the Faculty to accept the
additional offer of the University.
Because the examinations are internal
procedures, the faculty could, eventually, reduce
the level of standards for assessments, applied if
accepting the 106th freshmen, but the Faculty AS
did not want to do that, the Faculty considering
the international standards of assessment as
being more important. 3
5. Magical numbers
By further exploring the model along a wider
spectrum of enrolled freshmen in a curriculum,
for the same accreditation conditions [1], the
authors have found that there are some intervals
between which the number of necessary
graduates for accreditation is the same;
specifically to the mentioned accreditation
conditions [1], for the intervals:
D0 ∈ 1 - 12 → Df = 1 graduate (24)
D0 ∈ 13 - 105 → Df = 2 graduates
D0 ∈ 106 - 187 → Df = 3 graduates
D0 ∈ 188 - 262 → Df = 4 graduates
D0 ∈ 263 - 342 → Df = 5 graduates
D0 ∈ 343 - 417 → Df = 6 graduates
D0 ∈ 418 - 500 → Df = 7 graduates
Therefore, one may define discrete, stiff
transitions in the number of graduates over the
magical numbers of freshmen:
12; 105; 187; 262; 342; 417; 500 . . . (25)
From this finding, an advice for managers of
curricula: observe the upper limits of classes for
the freshmen: do not exceed Magical numbers!
We have to note that the difference between
successive intervals slightly oscillates, but the
trend is towards the value 1/ Pf = p1 * p2 * p3 * p4 *
pg = 0.0256*0.51 = 1/0.013056= ~ 76 students.
For other accreditation conditions, there are
too easily be found other sets of magical
6. References
[1] Ministry of Education, Research and Youth,
Sometimes, some education institutions diminish the level
Consequently, the Government felt obliged to introduce, a
couple of years ago, the final highschool examination
(“Bacccalaureat”) as an external examination, based upon
national unique tests and external commissions. The first
result was that some highschools in Romania, especially
from rural area, obtained a null rate of graduation. The
second result was large attempts of cheating.
Unfortunately, in Romania, some public highscools with null
graduates have not been closed, in spite of the (theoretically)
compulsory accreditation provisions.
On such a rural area, the leader of the largest opposition
party in Romania has declare to run for a senator’ mandate,
at next, automn 2008, parliament elections.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
[1.1.] “METODOLOGIA de evaluare externa,
standardele, standardele de referinta si lista
indicatorilor de performanta ale Agentiei
Române de Asigurare a Calitatii în
Invatamântul Superior Bucuresti”, Art. IV.
4.2.4.e: pa = 0.40 (1) and Art. IV. 4.2.4.j: pg =
0.51 (2).
[1.2.2] “Cerintele Normative Obligatorii in
vederea Acreditarii, ale ARACIS – Fisa
Vizitei, Anexa Nr. I. 3. 3. a " :
C. N. O. IV 5 : pa = 0.40 (1) ;
C. N. O. IV 10 : pg = 0.51 (2).
[2] R. Chisleag, A Problem of Accreditation,
Workshop EDEN I – “Econophysics, a new
Exploratory Domain”; University of Pitesti,
Romania, March 20, 2008.
E-Learning : A Way in Teaching /
F. Lopes dos Reis1 and A.E. Martins2
Universidade Aberta
Lisboa (Portugal)
Universidade Aberta
Almada (Portugal)
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. In this communication we take a look
to the most important aspects in E-Learning as a
way in teaching/learning at long distance. With
time new technologies in the informatics field
changed, for some reasons, in the present
methods teaching/learning. In relation to the
organization methods and social forms, they
were broken by the advance of science and
technologies. Teachers and students, with the
boom in new interactive technologies, start to
use tools as Internet, e-mail, videoconference
that specifies the long distance tutoring. This
increase the learning spaces, the learning
opportunities and a better offer of the population.
1. Introduction
We are living in a constant learning society
and is important a permanent formation in a work
market, more and more complex, that because
an accelerated technologic change we have to
make an effort to continue learning.
It is learning a big amount of different things
in a short time, having access to a big volume of
information that we can see and learn with a
changing speed that carries the student to a
constant learning method.
The changes in the social structures allow the
appearance of new learning methods and new
forms in the built of knowledge.
The changes in community’s concept with the
new technological tools permit the appearance of
new groups that didn’t exist.
The built platforms beginning in this new
network concept move towards the construction
of a learning community. In the present, the
communities appear, not in a certain place, but in
many due to values differences, illuminations,
and other reasons.
We have a natural need to communicate, and
it take us to create this communities. New
technologies allow us to create communities
each time there is a need to communicate.
The e-learning is already use in many parts of
the world.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
This model of education is characterized by
the separation between the teacher and the
student being their transmission of educational
aspects done through the use of technical means
of communication.
This way it allows the student to access in
learning without timetables, without problems
with moving towards an institution and be able to
create his own study programme.
However, the e-learning does not separate
the student from the teacher, but yes search the
reduction that life itself has created, and does not
put aside the direct contact between the student
and between the teacher and the student.
knowledge, in the present teaching, as well as
the books and the class rooms has been
changed with the interactive technologies
appearance, e-learning, e-mail and audio
conference based in video conference.
The teachers and students passed using
Internet tools that changed electronic teaching
systems like e-learning, e-mail and audio
conference based in digital video conference.
In Portugal, many of the present teaching
institutions are still accepting with pessimism the
adoption of e-learning because it takes a big
investment in resources and success is not fully
However have been made studies, such as in
us high teaching schools, due to the
collaboration between students stimulated by the
lack of chance to question directly the teachers,
and with either present or virtual classes, the
virtual is the more successful.
The e-learning is the most demanding to the
student and for the teacher, than the present
teaching for a several number of issues, in
opposition to the sincrone communication of the
present teaching, that demands to the
intervenient to be able to communicate in
constructive way and precise with a sensibilized
behaviour, alert and careful towards the student.
This in a way to overcome the apcent of the
human component of communication measured
by computer
The student has a better level of motivation
and a better learning autonomy, as well as in
managing its own time, being only to develop
independence and work skills.
The teacher has the need to elaborate the easpects in a way of make it easy, with didactical,
the learning process to be more autonom based
in self study, demanding more time in the
preparation and conception of the class.
2. E-learning as a long distance way to
We live in a present where the information is
all in the web, and we have been looking to a
development in this communication and
information technologies.
So, is very important to go with this evolution
trough an innovating teaching and a quality that
stands for an autonom reaching several means
and methods of communication.
This way, the long distance learning appears
based on the web and trough Morten Paulsen
(2002) is characterized with the separation of the
teacher and the student.
E-learning is a way to education on-line that
together is a process and application, like
computer based learning and virtual classrooms.
It dispobilizes program methods trough Internet,
cd-rom, interactive tv.
Nowadays with the continuous changes, the
individual formation became an addition to the
enterprise requiring a permanent learning
E-learning as the most recent way in long
distance learning corresponding to the demands
in the system and methods, as well as personnel
teaching where the management of time is a
problem of the student.
The e-learning systems should include tested
applications, when possible also a evaluation
trough forums, choice possibilities trough the
interactive Works, information in the student
interest and sound system and pictures up to
communicate, synchronal and asynchrony.
For some years we live in times of rapid
development of informatics technologies, with
access to global networks, data base, virtual
libraries, e-mail, cd Rom and a great Bio variety
of Software offers.
This new technologies help us to overcame
the actual forms in learning and teaching.
With the massification of the new information
and communication technologies it is imperative
the adoption of these in learning and teaching.
This is called e-learning.
This way teaching is with collaboration, giving
the chance to the student to benefit the support
and the feedback from the other students with
the learning procedure.
The number of teachers that give lessons this
way is growing in Portugal and in the rest f the
world. This is because the reason is centred in
the student, allowing to build his way through self
formation, interacting with the available
information and their need in learning, in flexible
way, without time tables or place, by himself and
the theory to several activities.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
This methodological kind way in long distance
tutoring, has a lot of benefits, such as the
circulation of information in real time, with access
to everyone interested, in any time or place,
when connected with a informatic study.
This has a role in the different types of
learning that are impossible in the normal school
When the interactive is about change, from a
teaching whit limits, the students role in the
search from information is where he tries to
adapt to the patent information is whatever he
looks for.
The several pat to interaction when learning
upon e-learning, is the student computer
interaction, student-work interaction studentteacher interaction.
The teacher must have a important role in the
permanent contact whit the student with a certain
motivation, involving, understanding, trust and
high participation, and if necessary, good acting
and cannot let the other students run away from
the courses for feeling isolament or, that the
work of the group on the demands, that can be
personal or professional.
At last, the teacher must be alert to the
differences in the cultures, differences in the
several societies and the several experience
levels of the students.
The change to use accrue understanding
communication (allows a bigger reflexion, fixation
of the knowledge, opinions ect…) and sin crone
communications (with the chats that can promote
the thought of belong and feeling of be in a class
The several aspects of this communication
are available in on-line environments, sin crone
and assurance, they demand that the teacher is
on to have a talk in a constructive and certain
way and have a right behaviour: as well as be
expert, alert and sensitive for students that don’t
have a regular and continuous presence in
forums and on the debate causes, give time to
the student to answers to the messages develop
questionnaire tactics and of debate(on-line
teaching tools).
In the on stands. like in e-learning the several
ways to take the students into a discussion like
for example the group, (summary of the group
work results)and to show it to the group in
The sincrone communication instead of the
accrue is time table dependent, or example to
chat use when is necessarily fast information.
In this type of learning methodology, the
teacher is now conceiving and designing
teaching activities such as: pedagogical
resources or pedagogical e-tools and e-contents,
due to the necessity of making the contents
available in the shape of didactic materials that
facilitate a more autonomous learning process
based on self-study, so as to utilize available
And also the possibility of synchronous
interactive classes – videoconference, audio,
chat (virtual written and oral conversation rooms)
and asynchronous – forums, email, debate
The preparation of materials must include
those activities which are the main elements of
activating knowledge, the themes to be
developed from the student’s participation and
interaction. More so, the definition of the
available types of online collaboration for each
activity, the demands and expectations from the
online teacher, the work methodology, the
activity grading techniques and their value faced
with final grading.
In e-learning teaching procedures grading has
an aggravated importance, with the nature of the
learning-teaching context having to be quite
The teacher, when preparing online and
offline materials for each activity (programs,
reading assignments, group and individual
assignments, debate issues), must take into
consideration the time demanded for the
realization of the activity, the deadline for its
conclusion, the “mutual help forums” as an
interaction tool between students to mutually
help each other in doing said activity.
E-learning demands of the student a greater
level of motivation and greater learning
autonomy than regular schooling. However, it
promotes innovation in formative processes,
stimulates the creation of multimedia contents,
allows the creation of learning communities and
broadens the geographical coverage of
schooling. But e-learning is only advantageous if
it also allows for good pedagogical results for the
E-learning and b-learning (Blended Learning),
more recent developments of long-distance
teaching methods, present themselves as
innovative formative and educative strategies
that are considered crucial for the present days.
Besides, they give students the possibility to
become critical pro-active thinkers, building their
own cognitive structure for analysis and
interpretation of information, so as to more
effectively intervene in reality.
The most recent form of teaching dresses
itself in an increasingly greater success in a
determined target-audience and in determined
corporate sectors, given the convergence of
needs between the company and new
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
knowledge by giving them the possibility of
training directed to the quality and demands of
systems and contents, where the management
of time is at the student’s criteria.
The growing development of an economy
based on knowledge cannot help but place new
expectations regarding the necessary adaptation
of Higher Teaching Institutions, since significant
challenges and great opportunities are faced.
The emergence of knowledge appreciation in
society is interconnected to the development of
information and communication technologies, in
so that they drive its creation and dissemination
essentially e-learning tools, offer teachers
several possibilities to develop the traditional
learning model in accordance with the new
learning references, such as Mode 2 systemized
by Hill & Tedford, 2002. The designated elearning platforms (PeL), by offering an enlarged
set integrated with functionalities, allow the
establishment the creation of distributed
environments that can support new approaches
in higher teaching.
Information and communication technologies
and e-learning platforms in particular, are seen
as a potential response to a great diversity of
problems and needs, specifically, pedagogical,
administrative, of professional ethics in area
research and organizational learning.
Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic
Learning Environment) is a web platform that
creates internet-based resources. Technically,
it’s open-source software (free software) that
works in any operative system that supports PHP
Based on a constructive philosophy, the
development of Moodle is sustained in the
premise that people build knowledge more
actively when interacting with the environment.
The student goes from a passive attitude of
receptor of knowledge to an active attitude in the
joined construction of knowledge.
Long-distance teaching as advantages over
regular teaching, like breaking geographical
barriers, getting knowledge through to everyone
regardless of fixed times or place; the student
can build his self-learning oath at his own
learning pace by interacting with available
contents according to his learning needs; it
allows the creation of teaching communities; the
possibility of synchronous interactive classes –
chat, videoconference, audio and asynchronous–
forums, debate groups, email.
E-learning support tools are varied, among
forums, feedback, and course guide.
As for interactivity it’s about changing a
teaching system where the student’s role in
seeking out information is limited and where he
tries to adapt to existent information, to a
teaching where the information adapts to the
student. The various types of online interactive
teaching are: student-computer interaction,
interaction, student-student interaction.
The teacher must have a dominant role
through permanent contact with the student and
make so that his motivation, involvement,
commitment, confidence and participation
remains elevated. And if necessary, act timely so
as to avoid the students dropping out due to
feelings of isolation or learning pace or
diversified demands of personal/professional
character. Lastly, the teacher must take into
consideration the cultural differences, of different
social and cultural environments and different
levels of experience among students.
The different modalities of communication
available in the online environment, synchronous
and asynchronous, demand of the teacher that
he must be able to communicate in a precise and
constructive fashion and have a certain
behaviour: how to be attentive and careful, being
aware of the students who have no regular and
continuous presence in the forums and debate
groups, give time to the student to answer
messages, develop questioning and debate
techniques (online teaching tools). On online
learning there are diverse forms of motivating
students to get involved in debates, such as
group reports (debrief of the results of group
assignments) and to present the same to the
class for general debate.
Sometimes, virtual silence is understood as
the student not contributing to the learning
community. This must not be taken as a negative
sign, but rather as another way to communicate,
since most often they are the ones that are
interested in learning through interaction with
colleagues. However, it’s necessary to
differentiate between passive students from
those who quit.
asynchronous, is dependent on a fixed timetable,
for example, the usage of chat when quick
information is required.
Some of the challenges presented by elearning teaching are the constant adoption by
teachers of a constructive, cooperative, incentive
so as to make students feel stimulated and
develop the curiosity, critical spirit initiative skills,
participation and self-motivation.
The teacher must also consider the rules of
social gathering specific to the online
communication environment, trying to maximise
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
the “human” component of computer-mediated
communication. Furthermore, he must always
encourage a relationship of sharing and
cooperation with students, ensuring frequent
communication among all, as well as stimulating
students to have a group spirit that is particularly
important in this kind of learning context.
The teacher’s action is fundamental for the
creation of a sense of community, building and
maintaining a collective learning environment,
through which e-learning occurs.
Mobilize competences in different learning
modalities: self-learning, cooperative learning
and team-learning. Encourage all students to
contribute to the discussion of available contents
orienting them to a more adequate management
to deal with the information.
The forums as pedagogical tools contribute
quite positively to promote a change in
relationship, in the sense of approximation and
overture to the world, through its organizational
and temporal characteristics. Forums are
applications designed for net usage, made
available through intranet or internet from a web
server that supports dynamic contents supported
on databases. Forums allow teachers and
students to communicate from an asynchronous
Communication through forums creates a
spirit of loyalty among students because
questions, doubts, participations are “public
allowing a global observation of interactions,
usable in different fashions. It gives the teachers
a global perspective of interest, commitment and
learning evolution of the students. To these, it
allows them to benefit from questions of their
colleagues to assuage their own doubts.
This support instrument to e-learning teaching
constitutes a plus to the teaching/learning
process and the dynamic of the student
community. But the predisposition for the usage
of forums assumes the existence of specific
tools. Such platforms are not yet readily
manageable and adequate to the establishment
of the teaching/learning community.
Feedback from the teacher as to the
performance of students has a crucial
importance for them, due to the characteristics of
the online environment and communication. It’s
fundamental that students know their grading
criteria for each activity so as to be aware of
what will be graded and when, just like
continuous grading based on participation in
class debates or grading individual or group
assignments and tests.
The course guide has as primordial objective
for each teacher to make available on-line the
contents referring to their curricular units. And it
also allows students to input their own papers,
questions, comments that may be visible to all
creating a cooperative learning environment. It
functions as a “course map” for the teacher and
for the student and describes the learning
process for curricular units. It’s also a guide
about contents, course structure, proposed
activities, work methodologies and grading.
On the course guide must feature: The
objectives and expectations of the curricular unit,
the competences to be developed by the
students, the content guide to the curricular unit,
methodology adopted in the curricular unit,
learning resources understood as the whole of
the bibliographical learning support, the learning
environment, the grading and sequence of
learning activities, detailing, for each of the
activities, the thematic, scheduling, objectives
and competences to be acquired, the structure of
the activity, the teacher’s actions, learning
resources and form of grading. Activities are
moments of work, interaction, and learning.
3. Final Considerations
The most recent form of long-distance
teaching, denominated e-learning, is having an
convergence of needs between the company
and new technological assets. Learning while
resorting to new technologies, through elearning, generates the possibility of the student
to manage his own time, be manager of his own
knowledge, to have a continuous and constantly
updated learning.
E-learning is increasingly the solution to the
development of competences. It began to
develop itself with the scholarly intent of
university usage and is also at the present a
solution for companies wanting to stay
competitive. However, the motivation of students
is taken as a critical factor in the occurrence of
drop-outs, and a well-elaborated and explicit
learning contract may be an important attribute to
the reduction of the serious teaching problem,
not only in e-learning, but in teaching in general.
E-learning teaching allows students to
progress at their rhythm with access to vast and
updated contents with experts from various
areas and to learn anywhere and at any time.
But it also requires computer knowledge, selfmotivation and self-discipline in terms of the
challenges placed by online teaching, they
develop mainly around the emergence of the
group, supported in communication mediated by
computer. This factor introduces profound
changes relatively to structuring aspects of
conventional long-distance teaching.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The group brings many benefits to learning,
such as the diversification of possibilities in
student-student interaction, student-content,
student-teacher, the sharing of information and
the individual and group-based construction of
Professional development and learning
throughout life are considered today as social
needs that are present in all sectors of activity,
gaining a more significant pertinence when we
factor in the potentialities for technological
development that lead to today’s Society of
Information and Knowledge. It is in this more
widespread context that today we hardly speak
of training and learning without reference to elearning and the learning environments
associated with it.
In recent years we have seen a great concern
in training teachers in the context of e-learning
teaching, since in this kind of teaching there are
many specific competences like pedagogical,
technical and aesthetical aspects essential to the
creation of content.
E-learning demands of the student a greater
level of motivation and autonomy than regular
learning. However, it promotes the innovation in
teaching processes, stimulates the creation of
multimedia contents, allows the creation of
learning communities and expands the
geographical coverage of teaching. But elearning is only advantageous if it also allows the
student to obtain good pedagogical results.
E-learning and b-learning (Blended Learning),
most recent developments of long-distance
teaching methods, present themselves as
teaching and educational strategies that are
considered crucial in today’s world. Furthermore
they give students the possibility to become
proactive thinkers by building cognitive structures
aimed at analyzing and interpreting information
so as to intervene more effectively in reality.
The most recent form of teaching can claim
ever increasing success in a determined target
audience and in certain corporate sectors, given
the convergence of needs between the company
and new technological assets.
Giving students’ knowledge gifting to them the
possibility of training aimed at the quality and
demands of systems and contents, where
management of time is at the student’s criteria.
E-learning has a tendency to reproduce
traditional learning methods based on the
transfer of knowledge, underestimating the
opportunities offered by an environment
favourable to innovation, cooperative learning,
etc. Presently we see an accentuated growth in
the number of e-learning courses, and where a
number of them don’t go beyond recreating a
traditional, albeit digitalized teaching system,
which subverts the meaning of long-distance
teaching environment.
Today we have the need for a European
common virtual teaching and of a system of
common European diplomas. Virtual education
has placed itself essentially in the national stage,
and presently we see some international
cooperation. There are already many established
consortiums between specialized grounds in the
Netherlands, Finland and France. And there are
also many virtual universities.
Questions like the assurance of quality,
certification and international strategic alliances
are broadly discussed.
In long-distance teaching, the roles of
teachers and institutions are not put into
question. What is changed is their function, no
more teaching agents but partners in learning. In
this way, personal contact is not diminished, but
rather made more interesting.
4. References
[1] L.G. Aretio, La educación a distancia: de la
teoría a la práctica, Ed. Ariel – Barcelona,
[2] J. Bottentuit, C. Coutinho, A. Dulclerci, Mlearning e webquests. As novas tecnologias
como recurso pedagógico, Proceedings of
8th International Symposiumon Computers in
Education (SIIE2006), Vol. 2, pp. 346-353,
Servicio de Imprenta de la Universidad de
Léon, León, 2006.
[3] C.B. Brennan & Lockridge, Computermediated communication: A cognitive
science approach, in K. Brown (Ed.), ELL2,
Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics,
2nd Edition, UK: Elsevier Ltd, Oxford, 2006.
[4] L.S. Cheung, A constructivist approach to
designing computer supported concept
mapping environment, International Journal
of Instructional Media, Vol 33, pp.150-155,
[5] C. Coutinho and J. Bottentuit, Tecnologia
Educativa em Portugal: Um Contributo Para
a Caracterização do Seu Quadro Teórico e
Conceptual, Revista Psicologia, Educação e
Cultura, Vol XI (1), Maio, 2007.
[6] T. Dougiamas, Moodle: Using Learning
Communities to Crate na Open Source
Course Management System, Proceedings
of the EDMEDIA 2003 Conference,
Honolulu, Hawai, 2003.
[7] C. Grenhow, What Teacher Education Needs
to Know about Web 2.0: Preparing New
Teachers in the 21st Century, In R. Craslen
et al (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th
International Conference of the Society for
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Chesapeake, VA: AACE, 2007.
[8] M. Meirinhos and A. Osório, B-Learning para
a formação contínua de professores, Actas
do VIII Congresso Galaico-Português de
Psicopedagogia, Vol 2, 949-964, Univ. do
Minho, Braga, 2007.
[9] J.M. Moran, Propostas de mudança nos
cursos presenciais em a educação on-line,
m/153-TC-D2.htm, 2006.
[10] K.P. Pallof, Cllaboration Online: Learning
Together in Community, Wiley, John&sons,
Incorporated, 2007.
[11]M. Paulsen, E-Learning: o papel dos
sistemas de gestão da aprendizagem na
Europa, Colecção formação a distância & eLearning, Inofor, 21, 2006.
[12]F.L. Reis and A.E. Martins, Benefícios do ELearning no ensino Universitário, Actas da 3ª
Conferência Ibérica de Sistemas Y
Tecnologías de Información, Universidade
de Vigo, España, 19 a 21 de junho, 2006.
[13]F.L. Reis and A.E. Martins, Perspectives of
the education the distance in Portugal, Actas
da Conferência International Council on
Education for Teaching, Universidade do
Minho, 14-17 de Julho,2008.
[14]G. Salmon, E-moderating – the key to
teaching and learning online, Kogan Page,
London, 2000.
[15]A.T. Santos, As TIC e o Desenvolvimento de
Competências para Aprender a Aprender:
um estudo de caso de avaliação do impacte
das TIC na adopção de métodos de trabalho
efectivos no 1º Ciclo EB. Dissertação de
Mestrado, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro,
[16]R. Tavares, Aprendizagem significativa em
um ambiente multimedia, V Encuentro
Internacional sobre Aprendizaje Significativo,
Madrid, 2006.
[17]B. White, Is Web 2.0 the Future of the Web?
Comunicação oral apresentada no ED-Media
2007, Vancouver, CA: AACE, 2007.
Solar-Recharged UPS as a Low Cost
AC Power Supply for Electronics and
Environmental Education
J. Diz-Bugarín1 and M. Rodríguez-Paz2
IES Escolas Proval - Nigrán (Spain)
IES Tomiño, Solleiro - Tomiño (Spain)
[email protected], [email protected]
transformation of an Uninterruptible Power
Supply (UPS), commonly used as power backup
for desktop computers, into a solar rechargeable
portable mains supply. Almost any commercially
available UPS can be used and the conversion
can be made without having detailed knowledge
about electronic circuits inside. A few external
elements must be added: solar panel, charge
regulator (commercial or self-made), a protection
diode, cables and connectors. The system has
many applications as a solar educational kit, as a
small power source for car or camping, or for
lighting and powering small isolated buildings.
Keywords. Solar Power Supply, Electronics,
Environmental Education.
1. Introduction
Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) are a
simple and inexpensive protection against mains
failures for computers and many other electronic
systems. These devices contain almost all the
elements required (battery, charger and inverter)
to make a portable mains supply that can be
recharged by many sources like solar
photovoltaic energy, wind energy or hydroelectric power. If any of these sources is not
available, it could be removed and recharged
with a car battery or an ordinary ac socket.
Some external elements must be added, like
a solar photovoltaic panel, a charge regulator
and protection elements. The battery capacity
can be increased adding a second element
connected in parallel.
This article describes all the changes that
must be made and elements that have to be
Figure 1 shows the system with external
elements, cables and AC socket ready to use.
This system was projected to light an old flour
mill where we are planning to make an
educational exhibition about traditional uses of
renewable energies. Figure 2 shows the mill and
surroundings with water channel or lead. In this
application the system could be recharged by
solar or hydraulic energy.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
230 Vac
Voltage converter
and charge regulator
230 Vac
Voltage elevator
Figure 3. UPS internal schematic
These devices are typically connected to the
mains all the time, and battery is always full.
When there is a power failure UPS inverter starts
generating power from the battery.
Figure 1. Complete solar kit with panel
and ac socket
Figure 4. UPS and battery housing
Figure 2. Mill and water channel (lead)
2. UPS description
A common UPS (Figure 3) contains the
following elements:
1) Power supply and battery charger that are
connected to external ac mains and keep the
12V battery completely charged.
2) Battery (Figures 4 and 5) of lead-acid type, 712 Ah. This capacity is enough to light one or two
low consumption lamps for several hours.
3) Power inverter that receives 12V DC from the
battery and provides an output of 230V AC.
Figure 5. Lead-acid battery
In our application UPS is simply disconnected
from the mains, and will continue generating
power until battery is empty. If we can recharge
the battery without reconnecting it to the mains
we will get an independent power source that
can be used anywhere.
3. UPS modifications
The following changes have been applied to
allow solar recharging, as can be seen in
schematic (Figure 6):
- An external connector must be installed and
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
connected to the battery to allow access and
recharging (Figures 7 and 8).
- A solar panel and external regulator must be
connected directly to the battery. The solar panel
should provide at least 14V and 10-20W of peak
power [1]. The regulator can be a commercial
type or a self-made one (see next section).
- A protection diode must be inserted between
the battery and external regulator. This diode
allows simultaneous working of external and
internal recharging and avoids discharge of the
battery through the solar panel.
Figure 8. Detail of internal connections
230 Vac
230 Vac
Solar panel
Figure 6. UPS modifications to allow solar recharging
(external elements in red)
Figure 9. Charge regulator schematic
Figure 10. Charge regulator fully assembled
5. Final assembly
Figure 7. External recharge connector
4. External regulator
UPS's have an internal charge regulator to
avoid damage to battery. This regulator could be
incorporated into the solar recharging system,
but unfortunately manufacturers [3] do not
provide enough information about internal
circuits, so this option must be discarded. That's
the reason we decided to develop our own
regulator based in an integrated circuit of
common use in electronics, the voltage regulator
LM317 [2]. The circuit is adjusted to obtain an
output of 14,5V. Figure 9 shows the schematic of
this circuit that can easily be assembled by
electronics students in a typical school
workshop. Figure 10 shows a prototype of
regulator inside an outdoor box.
To make the final assembly of the system the
following steps must be followed:
1) Solar panel must be connected to the charge
regulator input. It can be checked with a
multimeter (under direct sunlight).
2) Regulator output must be connected to
external battery connector in the UPS (see
Figure 9).
3) UPS output must be connected to an electric
appliance (like a low consumption light). A mains
socket (schuko or similar) can be mounted at the
UPS output to allow different charges to be
easily connected and disconnected.
If everything is right the power supply will start
generating electric power. If there is enough
solar energy to partially recharge the battery
every day the system will work indefinitely
without any external contribution.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
6. Applications
The system can be used wherever there is
need for ac power with low consumption, like
lighting in small isolated houses, camping,
powering of small electronic devices like tv or
radio transmitters, etc.
An important field of application is electronics
students training, since these students can both
make the system elements (like the regulator or
connectors), and use them as a solar energy
Students of other fields can also take
advantage of this system due to its low cost, like
in subjects related to environmental themes.
It can be used in exhibitions or science fairs
about renewable energies, especially if other
power sources are used for recharging instead of
solar power (like a small wind generator,
hydraulic generator, etc). As an example of this
applications, the kit was shown at "Encuentro
Solar 2007" meeting in Granada, Spain.
Another interesting application is as a backup
power source for laptops when used outdoors. A
fully charged battery can provide 2-4 hours of
use of computer.
7. References
[1] Kyocera Solar Panels technical information
and datasheets, http://www.kyocerasolar.eu
[2] National Semiconductor technical information
[3] APC
http://www.apc.com, http://www.apcmedia.
[4] Atersa
A Reflexion on the Importance of Web
in Long-Distance Teaching
F. Lopes dos Reis1 and A.E. Martins2
Universidade Aberta
Lisboa (Portugal)
Universidade Aberta
Almada (Portugal)
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. The present communication is centred
on a reflexion on the importance of Web 2.0 in
long-distance teaching.
The Internet is a powerful tool and an
alternative to the traditional teaching methods; it
didn’t come to replace traditional teaching, but
rather to add a whole new dimension to it.
This reflexion focuses on the long-range
teaching and learning modality, considering the
actual context of Web 2.0 as one of the most
important forms of information transmission and
knowledge acquisition.
Presently, in all sectors of activity, the
professional development and learning through
life experience exist as social needs, acquiring a
more significant pertinence when equated with
development that led to the current Information
and Knowledge Society. It is in this more
encompassing context that today we hardly
speak of training and learning without mentioning
e-learning and the learning environments
associated with it.
Keywords. Teaching, Learning, Long-distance
Teaching, Web.
1. Contextualization
We live in a learning society where it is crucial
to have permanent education in a job market
ever more complex because we can verify an
accelerated rhythm of technological change, that
demands of us continuous learning. Thus, the
human being must learn a great deal of different
things in a short amount of time due to a great
volume of information that we must process and
the speed of change that takes us to constant
The alteration of social structures allowed the
appearance of new learning contexts and the
appearance of new ways to build knowledge.
The modification of the concept of community
allied with the new technological tools allowed
the appearance of new groups previously nonexistent and the platforms built from the concept
of a network are a vehicle to the construction of a
learning community.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Presently communities spring up, not
aggregated to a place, but due to the
convergence of values, ideas, etc, motivated by
the natural necessity to communicate, facilitated
with the advent of new technology that allows the
creation of communities each time there was a
need to communicate.
Long-range teaching is already used in great
part of the world, being characterized by physical
separation between teacher and student, where
the transmission of educative content is made
through the usage of technological means of
communication. In this way, it allows the student
access to a teaching without fixed schedules,
without concern about going to the learning
institution and being able to create his own
studying program.
However, long-distance teaching doesn’t
create the separation between student and
teacher, but it seeks to reduce the distances that
life created, and doesn’t exclude direct contact
among students or between them and the
Led intensively by economic globalization and
by the development of technologic and
information technologies, society faces a series
of doubts in its paradigms, as an epoch
denominated as Age of Knowledge and
We are faced with a new culture
(denominated by some as cyber-culture), being
characterized by the existence of a network of
computers, with technologies that bring as
devices new possibilities to live the world. In this
way, technology that involves cyber-culture
revolutionizes the machines and interactions that
subjects make among themselves and in society,
transforming their capacity to relate to each
Networked society diminishes distances and
brings people closer with common interests,
giving birth to a space of open communication
through the interconnection of computers where
digital information flows. The computer, the PDA
(personal digital assistants), the fax machine,
among others which have as its purpose the
transmission of information may even be
The concept of community is characterized by
the existing relation between people and the fact
that its existence is associated with a certain
location. Today, communities appear not
aggregated to a location but to the convergence
of common interests.
World economy lives a process of
intensification of competitiveness and growing
capacity to breed technological innovation,
where the learning process is permanent,
becoming ever more essential, the option on
long-distance teaching becoming an important
alternative to the acquisition of knowledge.
The technologies of information and
communication (TIC), due to the extraordinary
evolution of scientific knowledge, have been
infrastructures to new forms of relations with
knowledge and learning, bolstering e-learning
which is a process that applies the full potential
of learning and communication technologies to
the development of teaching and training.
Indeed, it’s a personalized process that allows
flexibility in terms of time and space, for the
student and the teacher are not physically in the
same location, but connect through the network,
and it is through the internet that the educational
content is transmitted.
E-learning is but one of the various new forms
of long-distance education, for it is a learning
process that implicates the temporal and/or
physical separation between teacher and
student, and when this formative action is carried
out via Internet or intranet we’re in the presence
of e-learning.
Presently, through the internet we can
conduct several activities that favour learning
and apprenticeship, among which, the creation of
collaborative and cooperative situations than
take place in e-learning.
The internet is always evolving, offering its
users several tools increasingly interactive and
easier to access and use, the pedagogical use of
TIC in learning having been, for a few years now,
an institutional priority worldwide.
2. The applications of web semantics
Learning resorting to the web allows an
increased flexibility in the student’s access, for
with asynchronous communication, the student
can manage his own studying time.
The notion of learning community on the web
has subjacent to it a flexible conception, where
hypermedia technologies constitute the form of
The construction of a learning community is
fundamental for the success of an on-line
classroom, for it constitutes the means through
which learning occurs, valuing the social context
as mediator and potential enabler, the teacher’s
action online being as the factor that minimizes
physical absence from the virtual space.
With the web’s contribution, the frontiers of
long-distance teaching are now open, having the
possibility of joining in a single mode of
communication, the singular advantages to each
of the different ways of transmitting information,
ever more interactive, amplifying the possibilities
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
for self-learning through the recourse to
numerous options for seeking out information.
The emergence of publication technologies
and networked communication systems gave
origin to the appearance of a fourth generation of
long-distance teaching models, where interaction
and communication are valued assets. After all,
with technologies that support e-learning
practices, geographical distances have been
overcome, cultural exchange now taking place
through “virtual space”, that, by not implicating
the simultaneous presence of both teacher and
student, allows for greater flexibility in managing
time for all intervening sides.
Teachers must be good managers of time,
adopting strategies that optimize the system due
to the nature of online long-distance teaching
being flexible in relation to time, since it can be
performed at any time in any place, requiring the
preparation of the class and the daily
management of the interactions that are implicit
to the learning community in this type of
We live in the age of web-based information,
where we’ve been witness to an exponential
growth in information and communication
technologies. So it’s fundamental to accompany
this evolution through an innovative and quality
teaching that offers autonomous apprenticeship
by resorting to different means and forms of
In this way, comes long-distance education
based on the web and which according to
Paulsen (2002) is characterized by the
separation between teacher and student, by the
use of a computerized network to present
program contents, and by bidirectional
communicate amongst themselves and with their
In the current setting of continuous change,
the individual’s formation has become an asset
to the company that requires a permanent
learning process.
E-learning being the most recent form of longdistance teaching, makes possible a training
directed towards quality and the demands of
systems and contents, as well as a personalized
teaching where the management of time is at the
student’s criteria.
E-learning systems must include diverse
aspects, namely, tested content, an evaluation
made through forums as much as possible, the
possibility of choice through interactive content,
and other information of the student’s interest.
For a few years now we have been living in
an epoch of rapid development of computer
technologies, with access to global computer
networks, databases, virtual libraries, e-mail, CD-
ROM and a great variety of software on offer that
helps to amplify and modify the current forms of
teaching and learning.
With the widespread divulgence of new
technologies of information and communication
it’s become imperative to adopt them in learning
and teaching processes.
The number of teachers lecturing in this
modality of teaching is increasingly larger in both
Portugal and the rest of the world. With the
technologies the teachers and students both
started using such tools as the Internet (namely
the use of the World Wide Web that is getting
ever more a complete multimedia system,
allowing multiple interactions, being a medium of
choice for teaching/learning), e-mails, and audioconference based on video-conference.
Collaborative teaching projects are more
motivating towards students especially if a
system of forums, mails, video-conference or
chat is applied.
The key to success in teaching e-learning is
centred in the performance and availability of the
teacher and for this reason the training courses
in e-learning are of primordial importance.
In the last few years we’ve witnessed a great
concern in graduating teachers in the context of
teaching e-learning for in this type of teaching
there are many specific competences there
being the need to learn pedagogic aspects, as
well as technical and aesthetic ones to the
creation of contents for e-learning training.
Indeed, there are numerous researches that
point out the inevitable nature of adequate
transmission of knowledge to new realities, cosubstantiating itself in a new form of seeing
organizations and fundamental pillar of creating
value. The model of knowledge management is
based on Intellectual Capital, there existent a
vector of valuing teamwork, through new
collaborative forms, of human capital, of process
capital and of client capital (Martins, 2000).
E-learning allows learning at a self-establish
rhythm by associating the theory to diverse
practical activities and makes possible to train
those who lack the possibility to leave their
workplace or have no availability for fixed
However, e-learning demands of the student
a greater level of motivation and greater learning
autonomy than regular education as well as
some experience in using the Internet. On the
other hand, it promotes innovation in formative
processes, it stimulates the creation of
multimedia content, allows the creation of
learning communities and broadens the
geographical coverage of teaching, but it is only
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
advantageous if it also allows the student to
obtain good pedagogical results.
The internet came to revolutionize electronic
systems of teaching, like e-learning, making
innovation possible in the traditional means of
divulging knowledge, such as books and
classrooms, that have evolved with e-learning.
This situation leads us to reflect on the
primordial importance in training courses for
teachers in this teaching modality that amplifies
learning spaces and studying opportunities to a
great part of the international population that is
not inserted in traditional teaching, for several
reasons, namely, lack of available time or difficult
access to teaching locations.
Since in online teaching communication is
asynchronous, it is demandable of the teacher
that he is capable of communicating in a precise
and constructive fashion, of being present, as
well as a certain behaviour: he must be attentive
and careful, to be sensitive to the students who
don’t have a regular and continuous presence in
the forums and debate groups, to give time for
students to reply to a message, to develop
questioning and debate techniques (online
teaching tools).
In online teaching there are diverse ways to
motivate students to being involved in online
debates, such as group reports (summary of the
results of group assignments) and presentation
to the class for debate. Generally, virtual silence
is taken as a non-contribution by the student
towards the learning community, but it must not
be understood as negative, for it may very well
be another way of communicating, for example,
of those who are interested in learning through
the interactions of others. However, it’s
necessary to learn to differentiate those who are
passive from those who have simply given up.
asynchronous, is dependent on fixed schedule.
E-learning allows learning at a self-establish
rhythm by associating theory to several practical
activities and makes possible to educate those
that have no availability to excuse themselves
from their workplaces or have no availability for
fixed schedules. However, e-learning demands
of the student a greater level of motivation and
greater learning autonomy than traditional
learning and some familiarity in using the
Internet, thus promoting innovation in formative
processes, stimulating the creation of multimedia
contents, allowing the creation of learning
communities and broadening the geographical
coverage of education, but it is only
advantageous if it allows for good pedagogical
results for the student.
E-learning and b-learning (Blended Learning),
most recent developments of long-distance
teaching methodologies, present themselves as
innovative training and educational strategies
that are considered crucial in the future
development of society.
3. Final considerations
The most recent form of teaching dresses
itself in an increasingly larger success within a
determined target-audience and in determined
corporate sectors, given the convergence of
needs between the company and new
technological methods, allowing workers and
students to be kitted out with specific knowledge,
giving them the possibility of training directed
towards the quality and demands of systems and
contents, where the management of time is at
their own criteria.
Web based teaching still constitutes a
challenge for both students and teachers. The
web is no longer a passive tool to which we
resorted to only to seek information. We point out
the study if Anderson (2007) where he concludes
that “the internet is slowly dropping its origins as
a tool for reading and writing and entering a new
more social and participative phase”.
In fact, e-learning has benefited from the
capacities of the new generation of Internet
developing a collaborative learning, and offering
a more profound retention of knowledge due to
the superior involvement of the student in the
learning process.
On the other hand, it’s quite motivating for the
student to perform tasks from within the web,
which motivated teachers to rethink their
educational condition in the Information Society
of which we are all part. It is very important to be
able to take advantage of the web’s resources in
an educational context and it’s up to the teachers
to make the best of those resources available in
the World Wide Web.
E-learning has been operated with the use of
teaching platforms and many of them are not
free or open source (open code) this presenting
a limitation in institutions with little financial
resources. One of the ideas of the new paradigm
of the Internet / Web 2.0 is to use the web as a
platform, that is, the applications and services
may be used together, aggregating assets for
courses and users to choose the application that
best satisfies their needs, with no additional cost.
Many conducted studies have already
demonstrated that the use of Web 2.0 tools have
a strong contribution for the continuation of the
development of e-learning.
Long-distance teaching makes possible for
millions of people all over the world to access a
more elaborate knowledge and quality education.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The Internet offers the possibility of amplifying
the continuous education of teachers, for a
competence in new technologies recognizes the
rapid assimilation of changes and adaptation to
new situations demanding a reconstruction of
knowing how to teach. The new wave of teaching
enables a continuous process of building
knowledge in integrated fashion, leading the
student to interact and research, in a logic
designed as a didactical/educational tool
facilitating the process teaching-learning.
The student assumes himself as a
fundamental actor in the educational action and
the teacher constitutes himself a facilitating
agent in the assimilation of knowledge. The
acquired experience and intangible factors, more
than ever are the differentiating factor of quality
teaching, where knowledge stimulates learning
by the pleasure of incrementing itself.
4. References
[1] L.G. Aretio, La educación a distancia: de la
teoría a la práctica, Editorial Ariel, Barcelona,
[2] J. Bottentuit, C. Coutinho and D. Alexandre,
M-learning e webquests. As novas
tecnologias como recurso pedagógico,
Proceedings of 8th International Symposium
on Computers in Education (SIIE2006), Vol.
2, (pp. 346-353), Servicio de Imprenta de la
Universidad de León, León, 2006.
[3] S.E. Brennan and C.B. Lockridge, Computermediated communication: A cognitive
science approach, in K. Brown (Ed.), ELL2,
Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics,
2nd Ed., Elsevier Ltd., Oxford, UK, 2006.
[4] L.S. Cheung, A constructivist approach to
designing computer supported concept
mapping environment, International Journal
of Instructional Media, Vol. 33, pp.150-155,
[5] C. Coutinho and, L. Bottentuit, Tecnologia
Educativa em Portugal: Um Contributo Para
a Caracterização do Seu Quadro Teórico e
Conceptual, Revista Psicologia, Educação e
Cultura, Vol. XI (1), Maio, 2006.
[6] M. Dougiamas and P. Taylor, Moodle: Using
Learning Communities to Crate an Open
Source Course Management System,
Proceedings of the EDMEDIA 2003
Conference, Honolulu, Hawai, 2003.
[7] C. Grenhow, What Teacher Education Needs
to Know about Web 2.0: Preparing New
Teachers in the 21st Century, In R. Craslen
et al (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th
International Conference of the Society for
Chesapeake, VA: AACE, 2007.
[8] A.E. Martins, Capital Intelectual – Ensaio
Exploratório de Modelo Explicativo, Tese de
Mestrado em Ciências Empresarias. ISCTE,
Portugal, 2000.
[9] A.E. Martins, O investimento directo
estrangeiro em Portugal – o caso da Polónia,
Tese de Mestrado em Economia e Estudos
Europeus. ISEG. Universidade Técnica de
Lisboa, Portugal, 2006.
[10] M. Meirinhos and A. Osório, B-Learning para
a formação contínua de professores, Actas
do VIII Congresso Galaico-Português de
Universidade do Minho, Braga, 2007.
[11] J.M. Moran, Propostas de mudança nos
cursos presenciais em educação on-line,
2006, Disponível em: http://www.abed.org.br/
[12]K.P. Pallof, Collaboration Online: Learning
Together in Community, Wiley, John & sons,
Incorporated, 2004.
[13] M. Paulsen, E-Learning: o papel dos
sistemas de gestão da aprendizagem na
Europa, Colecção formação a distância & eLearning, Inofor, 21, 2002.
[14] F.L. Reis and A.E. Martins, Os Desafios do
Professor no Contexto do Ensino Online,
Actas da Conferência V Simpósio sobre a
Organização e Gestão Escolar, Universidade
de Aveiro, 2-3 de Maio, 2008.
[15]F.L. Reis and A.E. Martins, Benefícios do ELearning no ensino Universitário, Actas da 3ª
Conferência Ibérica de Sistemas Y
Tecnologías de Información, Universidade
de Vigo, Espanha, 19-21 de Junho, 2008.
[16]F.L. Reis and A.E. Martins, The Role of
Online Professor, Actas da First International
Conference on Business Sustainability,
Universidade do Minho, 25-27 de Junho,
[17]G. Salmon, E-moderating – the key to
teaching and learning online. Kogan Page,
London, 2000.
[18]A.T. Santos, As TIC e o Desenvolvimento de
Competências para Aprender a Aprender:
um estudo de caso de avaliação do impacte
das TIC na adopção de métodos de trabalho
efectivos no 1º Ciclo EB. Dissertação de
Mestrado, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro,
[19]R. Tavares, Aprendizagem significativa em
um ambiente multimedia, V Encuentro
Internacional sobre Aprendizaje Significativo,
Madrid, 2006.
[20]B. White, Is Web 2.0 the Future of the Web?
Comunicação oral apresentada no ED-Media
2007, Vancouver, CA. AACE, 2007.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Mobile Phones in the Classroom
S. Divjak
University of Ljubljana - Slovenia
[email protected]
Abstract. The paper presents some examples of
usage of mobile phones as tools in educational
processes. In particular the usage of such
devices in the classroom is discussed. The basic
idea is that today practically all, including
children are equipped with mobile phones which
are in fact small computers and the possibility of
their programming offers new functionality. In
particular the collaborative activities enabled
through Bluetooth technology are discussed. In
such a way the mobile phones can be used as
responders giving the immediate feedback to the
teacher. They can also be used as multiple
remote controls that could be used to control
interactive computer simulations, possibly in
group activities. Besides these positive
opportunities the dark side of usage of these
popular devices in the classroom is also
copied to the mobile devices by wired or wireless
Considering the paradigm of mobile
computing the question is raised how this
technology can be used in the regular
educational processes. In particular how the
teaching and learning in the classroom can be
2. Sample educational applications for mobile
It is more known that mobile phones have
extended functions like games and Internet
browsing. There exist also some other
applications which could be used also in
education. For example we can have
implemented vocabularies translating from one
language to another. Of course the calculator
can be useful in the classroom and assignment
More focused and problem specific
educational applications are for the moment not
so popular. In the domain of chemistry we can
find some MIDlets presenting the periodic table
of elements. Figure 2 shows a screenshot of
such application.
1. Introduction
Figure 1. Mobile devices in the classroom
The period from 2000 to 2010 is known as a
“digital decade” which will be followed by the
period of pervasive computing. One of the
characteristics of these times is increasing usage
of mobile devices, mostly phones which have
more and more functionalities. They are in fact
small computers with limited capabilities. It is
known that we can create and install small
programs written in a restricted version of Java.
Such programs are called MIDlets. They are
usually developed on regular PC computers and
Figure 2. Periodic table on mobile phone
Mobile devices could be used for the
visualization of learning objects dedicated to
natural sciences. Such example is the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
presentation of human digestive system on a
phone display as shown in figure 3.
Supposing that all learners own mobile
phones with Bluetooth they can establish
connection with teacher`s computer which can
act as a server. The teacher can open an
electronic questionnaire which can be controlled
by student`s phones. Teacher`s computer
display is shown to the audience on a large
screen. The students can answer to the
presented question by means of their mobile
phones connected to the computer via Bluetooth.
Such system is presented of figure 4.
Figure 4. Electronic answering system
Figure 3. Visualisation of human digestive system on
mobile phone
Figure 5 presents the software modules on
both sides.
Looking a variety of educational applets which
are available on Internet it would be interesting to
have also simple simulators which could
represent various physical phenomena. However
at least for the moment we should take into
account limited computational and graphical
capabilities of mobile phones. But this will
certainly change in the future.
3. Collaborative applications
For collaborative applications some kind of
wireless interconnection between mobile devices
in the classroom should be exploited. We should
discard the usual communication capabilities
with SMS or even dial up connections since the
students (and also the teachers) are not willing to
spend their private money for such activities.
More and more phones are supporting
Bluetooth technology which permits cost free
intercommunication between devices and their
An example of such application could be a
system providing immediate feedback between
the teacher and his students in the classroom.
Such systems are known as “responders”.
Figure 5. Software modules of electronic answering
In such a way the teacher could get
immediate (on-line) answer if his lecture is
appropriate or too difficult. Or he could put more
specific questions and see if the students really
understand the subject.
The typical characteristic of such answering
system is that it is anonymous and therefore the
individual students are not afraid sending their
Of course such electronic answering systems
are already known for many years but usually
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
they require (expensive) equipment and software
support. In the case of mobile phones the
required “infrastructure” is already present, the
Bluetooth communication represents no cost and
it is sufficient to have the needed open source
software supporting this.
4. Digital
The wireless interaction between a teacher`s
computer and student` mobile devices (phones
or computers) can be also exploited in the case
of simulation programs which should be adapted
accordingly. This is possible in the case of open
source programs where interaction with the
simulation should be enriched with commands
received by the accompanying server program.
Such possibility was tested with some java
applications and applets. One example of such
adapted program is JTics which permits
simulation of electric circuits. The figure 6
presents a screenshot of this program.
Figure 6. Simulator of electronic circuits
5. Dark side
The usage of mobile devices in the classroom
opens also some problems. One already known
from computer equipped classrooms if of course
that the children could be distracted by games
and internet browsing. Another which is more
related to the mobile devices is that they can
establish their “private” ad hoc networks which
could be easily exploited during written
examinations. Since the mobile devices are
getting smaller and smaller it is really difficult to
suppress such undesirable communications. On
long term the only possible solution is to
influence on the moral character of involved
5. Conclusions
The usage of mobile devices in the classroom
offers new opportunities in the classroom. As
Personal equipment they could Enable students
to independently experiment and explore
concepts as they are taught. As typically
communication devices they permit the
establishment of ad hoc communities that could
be useful during lectures and group activities. On
the other side this will certainly represent a
6. References
[1] S. Divjak, Mobile and Pervasive Computing
[2] M. Meisenberger; M Learning,- mobiles
computergestuetzten multimediales Lernen:
[3] M. Yerushalmy and O. Ben-Zaken, Mobile
phones in Education, the Case of
[4] Midlet.org: Software categories: Education;
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Some Simple Experiments in Optics
Using a Photo-Resistor
A. Dias Tavares1 and M. Muramatsu2
Inst. de Física "Armando Dias Tavares" / UERJ
Instituto de Física/ USP
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. A few simple and well-known
experiments can be conducted in order to
enhance further the student’s grasp on the
theoretical concepts. The main idea supporting
these experiments is that the process of learning
should be able to teach more than only
reproducing and observing the physical
phenomena. In this article we present simple
experiments measuring light intensity and show
how these simple experiments can be conducted
in order to train and teach other concepts and
capabilities far exceeding ones most obviously
involved. The first problem presented to the
students is that concerning the light detector. Our
experiment uses an inexpensive, find to easy
and trustable one. After initial calibration this
detector is used to analyze the intensity
behaviour of a point source with distance, Malus’
law and the intensity profile across a diffraction
fringe. Data treatment explores linear and
exponential graphics comparing their features.
We present procedures and results obtained with
this simple experiment sand discuss them and
their validity.
1. Introduction
Nowadays, most countries are facing an
increasing need for physicists and engineers
since new technologies and their applications
present an exponential growth. But, in general,
most of those countries have not had a strong
increase in the number of students looking for
the so-called "hard sciences". In our university,
the figures of the evasion from the four years
undergraduate course of Physics are about
seventy five percent. So, our teaching efficiency
is quite low. Furthermore, there are still problems
with those who succeeded on finishing their
undergraduate courses: many of them do not
have a good comprehension of practical or
transference from theory to day-to-day life
problems is very scarce if there is any at all. We
can attribute these difficulties also to a deficient
laboratory teaching. One of the possible
solutions would be a development of small and
cheap laboratory experiments and their
application to training and demonstration with
students [1,2]. So the scope of this work is
contributing with a cheap and easy way to do
teaching experiments, in order to interest more
students to persist and progress in Experimental
Physics and, particularly, Optics. In Optics
Laboratory teaching a recurrent problem is the
measurement of light intensity. Several
experiments depend on a fair evaluation of
irradiances. We can cite a few among the most
important: Point Source Irradiance Inverse
Square Law; Malus’ Law; Irradiance from a
Cylindrical Lens. We named just these because
they are among those most basic experiments in
Optics Laboratory and the irradiances to be
measured are quite high. Therefore we are just
limiting the scope of this work to the experiments
in which we can verify laws and behaviours with
relatively high intensities. The scope of this work
is to provide teaching laboratories with a cheap
and powerful tool in order to proceed to
experiments otherwise impossible to be made.
Furthermore, mounting, calibrating and using this
simple component, a photo-resistor, forces the
students to learn important laboratory techniques
and to develop the necessary patience and
determination in order to obtain results with good
level of accuracy. Two experiments are proposed
in this work: Verification of the Point Source
Irradiance Inverse Square and Malus’ Laws.
These experiments are basic in Optics teaching
laboratory [3] and are fundamental for the
scientific learning of the students. The scientific
learning and the formation of a scientific spirit [4]
is more important than only reproducing some
experiments passing by them almost like scenery
seen from a train window.
2. Methodology and Discussion
The experimental schemes for all of these
experiments are well known, therefore due to this
article space limitation we do not present them
limiting ourselves to the results, which must be
graphically presented.
2.1. Choice of an irradiance detector and its
calibration procedures
The choice of a common photo-resistor was
supported by a number of reasons: price,
easiness to find them; it is practically foolproof;
simple circuitry and a fairly good linearity
(although over small regions). On the other hand
they present some inconvenient aspects like:
nonlinear dynamic range; slow response to
intensities; nonlinear spectral response, which is
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
much similar to that of human’s eye. This
scenario makes for a good place to start, setting
the stage for building and understanding more
complex experiments and procedures. The first
question is how to conveniently mount the photoresistor in order to detect intensity changes. The
easiest way is simply measure changes in the
photo-resistor internal resistance. One needs
only an analogical or digital ohmmeter and
measures the internal resistance variations of the
photo-resistor. It is necessary to assume the
ohmmeter scale is fair calibrated or execute its
calibration. We think this step can be
circumvented provide that students are warned
about that. The electrical scheme of mounting
can be seen in any good basic Physics book.
The next step towards the Optics experiments is
to calibrate the photo-detector response to
incident intensity. The photo-resistor response
also is opposed to the common sense of the
students, that is, instrument readings are smaller
for larger incident intensities. Therefore, the
problem is to be sure the incident intensities vary
linearly or with some well-known function, which
can be fitted from experimental data. One can
use some set of photographic neutral filters, or a
graduated variable intensity filter, which, of
course, are not easily available. A homemade
solution is using a set of microscope slides. Each
slide reflects about four percent of the incident
light in the first surface and more four percent of
remaining light. Therefore, one can plot the
function of light intensity against number of
microscope slides and use it to calibrate the
photo-resistor against intensity. By the other
hand, if one has a calibrated photo-detector like
a silicon photodiode, he could use a much
simpler mounting. Two polarizer filters can be
used to grade incident intensities, which can be
simultaneous (or not) monitored by the photodetector. This is true for normal incidence and a
1.5 refraction index glass [3, 5] and we assume
the light absorption is quite small compared to
the reflection in the dielectric boundaries.
However, as we are interested only in the
functional behaviour of our light "filter" and not in
absolute values of intensities we can consider
these values quite good for our experiment. An
extension of this experiment would be to
measure the refraction index of microscope
slides and calculate the reflectance with
measured value. Afterwards the students should
calculate the mismatch between first figures and
those from measured values. Surely, they will
conclude that the errors the first procedure could
introduce in the experiment are negligible. The
conduction of the experiment will depend on the
scope, time and available equipment. It can be
conducted without leaving anything to chance or
following to the verification of hereinabove
named laws without the same strict regard to
precision. In a laboratory with more resources a
set of neutral filters with stepped intensities could
be used or still a variable neutral density filter. A
low cost car stoplight incandescent lamp was
used for this calibration. The incandescent lamp
has a spectral emission curve much like of a
blackbody at the same temperature, therefore it
couples quite well with the spectral sensibility
curve of the CdS photo-resistor. Nevertheless,
the great infrared emission of incandescent
lamps will pose some problems in the verification
of Malus’ Law. An experimental curve of the
spectral sensibility of CdS photo-resistor should
be made, but a few more sophisticated
equipment must be used in order to have a
trustful result.
2.2. Verification of the inverse square law for
the irradiance of a point source
Despite that this experiment is quite simple
some attention must be paid to a few details in
order to have experimental results consistent
with theory. Correct alignment of all components
is very important because detector will be
displaced during the experiment. To a more
precise experiment the light from a 300-watt
lamp taken from an overhead projector is
focused onto a variable diaphragm aperture and
later strikes the photo-resistor. This is order to
have enough light striking the detector still when
the aperture of the diaphragm is very small and
more similar to a real point source in the
laboratory physical limits. Distances between
diaphragm and photo-resistor are measured with
a scale. A few attempts must be made in order to
verify the amount of error introduced by
increasing source diameter. One must consider
whether the illumination system presents a
focusing apparatus or not. If yes, this will distort
the result as long as the wave front can have a
negative vergence, a positive one or still no
vergence at all. But, with a less demanding
experiment an incandescent lamp of a car
stoplight can be used with the advantage of low
cost and low heat generation.
2.3. Verification of Malus’ Law
This verification is a little simpler than the
preceding ones. The polarisers are the usual
ones used in photography and are mounted in a
support with a goniometer. The polarizer are
aligned in order to deliver the maximum
irradiance, afterwards the direction of one is
changed in five degrees steps from zero degrees
to one hundred and eighty degrees. One can
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
tabulate the results, calculate the cosine of those
arcs, square them and make a graphic of
intensity against square cosines. It is convenient
to normalize the measured intensity values and
trace a theoretical curve to compare with the
experimental one. Another kind of graphics can
be made to facilitate the comparisons, for
instance, intensities versus square cosine and so
on. In the measurement, special attention must
be paid to the background infrared radiation
since the normal polarisers do not act on infrared
radiation. Once again, depending on the
laboratory resources, a heat filter can be used or
one can be improvised with water [6].
incident power.
Figure 2 shows the results using a more
complex scheme with a power detector, polarizer
filter set, power monitoring by a fixed (50/50)
beam splitter and a silicon photo-diode.
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Photo resistor calibration
Figure 1 presents theoretical, experimental
and an adjusted function curves for the light
transmission against intensity. Experimental data
were normalized for easiness. The theoretical
curve was calculated using an estimated 4
percent transmission to each air/glass or
glass/air boundary for normal incidence. The
experimental curve was obtained using a
calibrated photo-detector and one can see from
the graphics that experimental data show good
agreement with the theoretical ones. Therefore,
microscope slides filter can be used safely to
calibrate other detectors like a photo-resistor.
Figure 2. Photo-resistor internal resistance x Incident
power (Reduced range)
The graphics has been elaborated using the
OriginProTM 7.0 Server. As the photo-resistors
present strong nonlinearities at both high and
small incident power since they have a constant
minimum internal resistance and that evolutes
almost exponentially with very low incident power
we limited the operational range of our photoresistor to 0.1 to 2.0 mW of incident power. In
spite of that, it is clear that the photo-resistor
have a good linear response only in the range of
about one to two mW of incident power.
Figure 1. Transmittance x Number of added reflecting
−0.03835∗ x
The adjusting function y = e
provide a good help acting like a mathematical
filter for the data obtained with the unknown
photo-detector. Therefore, it is of the utmost
importance to have a filter with a well-known
transmission function. It will liberate one from the
uncertainty about detector function response to
intensity. But, it is important to remember that all
this procedure will permit only qualitative
measurements, not the quantitative ones, that is,
it does not permit to obtain absolute values of
Figure 3. Photo-resistor internal resistance x Incident
power (Full and reduced ranges)
Nevertheless, one can divide in small sectors
and in each of them the photo-resistor will
present a quite linear behaviour. Besides that,
the adjusting function y = 884 ∗ x
can be
used to correct the measurements made with
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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this photo-resistor in the presented range. With
this curve the student can transform his/her
measured values in power figures. So, absolute
measurements can be performed using the
graphics presented in Figure 2. In order to get a
better comprehension of the problem, Figure 3
measurements comparing it with the smaller
portion we have assumed for better accuracy.
One can observe the quasi divergence of the
photo-resistor internal resistance at low (< 0.1
mW, typically) and a flat behaviour at large
powers (> 2.0 mW)
larger distances.
3.3. Verification of Malus’ Law
Figure 5 presents the results obtained for the
Malus’ Law. In this experiment, two photoresistors were used and also a selenium
photocell, which delivers a few mA current when
3.2. Verification of the Inverse Square Law for
the irradiance of a point source
Figure 4 shows the result of photo-resistor
application in the determination of the behaviour
of a near punctual light source with the distance.
The point source used was a common car
stoplight lamp. We have preferred to use this one
because of its friendliness: it is cheap, easy to
find, easy to mount and turn on. We did not
worry to focus the lamp light in an iris diaphragm
in order to obtain a much more punctual source
and the reason for that is the small power of the
this lamp. In spite of these unforgivable
imprecisions in the experiment assembly, the
result is quite consistent with the theory.
Figure 5. Malus’ Law verification
This last one was used only as an additional
reference. One can see from the graphics that
the best result is obtained with the 5 mm
diameter photo-resistor. As expected, the best
agreement between theoretical and experimental
curves occurs in the regions in which the incident
power is larger, that is, there is a discrepancy in
those curves when the incident power values
tend to zero. Surprisingly enough, both photoresistors present more accurate results than
those of the selenium photocell. We believe with
a little more effort these results can be still
enhanced but the clear dependence of
experimental data with the theoretical curve is
noticeable and the fitting function below confirms
y = A{ s i n [π ( x − x c ) / w] } ; w i t h
Figure 4. Inverse Square Law verification
That can be seen from the fitting function for
the experimental data, y = 0.0067 x
, which
has a good agreement with the real dependence
y ∝ x −2 . A larger number of experimental points
would be better for a more precise reproduction
of intensity behaviour at small distances to the
source, that is, in the interval between 0.1 and
0.3 meters. This discrepancy at smaller
distances can also be attributed to the real
dimensions of the source, which is minimized at
x c = 8 9 . 5 5 4 0 8 ± 0 . 6 8 4 0 4;
w =180±0 and A =1.02834±0.01323
4. Conclusions
We have shown how a few interesting and
involved experiments with light can be performed
using cheap, easy to find components.
Furthermore, these experiments can be tailored
to the audience, in accordance to the students’
general level of knowledge. There is still room for
other experiments looking for improving the
results and figures presented in this article, but
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
not only that. Experiments to determine the
photo-resistor internal resistance dependence
with incident light spectrum are very promising
and can lead to other interesting experiments
and so on. Effectively, there is no dead end for
the experimentalist. For the college students
work to enhance the results and pursue a better
data treatment using some convenient software
can be very rewarding. Nowadays we have also
to develop the student skills in dealing with
informatics but not only that! Our vision is that
the best way is to ally laboratory work with data
treatment and simulation.
5. Acknowledgements
To FAPERJ for the grants, which have
supported this work.
6. References
[1] A. Dias Tavares Jr., R.J.M. da Fonseca, L.P.
Sosman and L.A.C.P. da Mota, Proceedings
of SPIE, series 3, vol. 5622, pp. 1522-1526,
[2] A. Dias Tavares Jr., L.A.C.P. da Mota and
G.J. Vieira, Proceedings of the 4th
International Conference on Hands-on
Inclusion in Science Education, vol.1, pp.
203-210, 2007.
[3] E. Hecht and A. Zajac, Optics, AddisonWesley
Park/California, USA, pp. 46 and 225-226,
[4] G. Bachelard, La formation de l’sprit
scientifique: contribution à une psychanalyse
de la connaissance, Librairie Philosophique
J. Vrin, Paris, 1938.
[5] F.A. Jenkins, H.E. White, Fundamentals of
International Student Edition, 4th edition,
Tokyo/Japan, pp. 503-504, 1976.
[6] J.D. Strong, Modern Physical Laboratory
Practice, Prentice-Hall, Inc., New York, pp.
369-371, 1938.
Educational Exhibition about Flow of
Renewable Energies in Traditional
Maize Culture in Galicia
M. Rodríguez Paz1 and J. Diz-Bugarín2
IES Tomiño - Tomiño (Spain)
IES Escolas Proval - Nigrán (Spain)
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. One of the main fields of interest of the
authors of this article is the study of relationship
development and renewable energies. As part of
this work we are planning to adapt an ancient
hydraulic flour mill to host an educational
exhibition about traditional uses of renewable
energies in the cycle of maize in Galicia (Spain),
the first place in Europe where this cereal was
introduced from America. The mill is in good
condition and continues working, and will be
itself an important part of the exhibition. The
project consists of five parts, dealing with the
different stages of cultivation, conservation,
milling and baking of maize. The first part is
about maize cultivation related to solar energy.
The second part is about harvest, drying, storing
and different energies involved in these
processes. The third part is about flour mill,
milling and hydraulic energy. The fourth part is
about traditional wood oven, baking process and
biomass energy employed. And the last part
deals with energy performance of the whole
process and conclusions. The exhibition is
addressed to high school students, but could
also be useful for other educational levels.
Keywords. Educational Exhibition, Renewable
Energy, Hydraulic Mill, Maize Culture.
1. Introduction
Renewable energies have been for many
centuries the main source of power for all
agricultural and industrial processes. Solar
energy is still now the only source for plant
growing and human feeding. And the need for
agricultural production has been one of the major
sources of cultural, scientific and architectural
development. Many different types of buildings
all over the world have been used for different
agricultural works and adapted to take
advantage of different energy sources.
In the case of Galicia, there has been a
strong relationship between agriculture and
certain renewable energies like hydraulic, wind
and bio-mass, that has been the base of an
environmentally friendly culture broken in the last
decades by industrial development and
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contaminant energy sources like carbon oil.
This article focuses in the particular case of
maize cycle in Galicia, the agricultural
energies employed.
The photographs, descriptions and technical
data have been obtained in Beade (Vigo, Spain)
from neighbours and relatives of the authors.
Figure 1 shows the traditional mill described in
this article.
Figure 1. Mill and water channel
2. Cultivation of maize
2.1. Maize plant and field
Maize sowing in Galicia is made often in small
fields (eiras), with a typical density of 2-3 plants
per square meter. Sowing time is april-may and
harvest is about september-october.
2.2. Solar Energy Conversion
Growing of maize plants uses a high amount
of energy that is obtained from direct and diffuse
sunlight. We will try to estimate the average solar
energy needed to produce a kilogram of dry
grain of maize using real data from different
ƒ Average production of maize in
Pontevedra in kg/hectare: 10525.
Source: Spanish Ministry of Agriculture
2007 report [6].
ƒ Daily average solar radiation in
Nigrán, Pontevedra: 3,9 kwh/m2.
Source: IES Escolas Proval Weather
Station (Nigrán, Pontevedra) [7].
ƒ Maize sowing and harvest time:
april-september (5 months) [1], these
months concentrate about 60% of
annual solar energy.
ƒ Energy of dry maize grain:
Using the above data we can calculate the
percentage of solar energy that is stored into
maize grain:
a) Solar energy received april-september:
925.71kwh/m2, that is
925.71*860.4kcal=796480kcal/m2, or
b) Energy stored in maize grains per kilogram
= 3000kcal/kg
c) Performance: 3000/756750.6=0,4%
Another data should have been taken into
account into these calculations to get a more
accurate result. For example, human and animal
work should be considered in terms of food
consumption. If one person is needed to take
care of one hectare of maize for 5 months and its
food consumption is 2000kcal/day, the food
consumption per maize kilogram yields:
Figure 2. Maize field and plant
Many tools are used for cultivation with help
of animals like oxes, Figure 3 shows some
examples of traditional tools.
The same calculation should be performed for
animal food consumption and machines fuel.
3. Harvest and storage
Harvest, storage and drying are the next
operations that must be carried out when maize
is fully developed. Ox chart is used to transport
maize and it is stored in a typical building
specially developed to keep grain dry and safe.
Figure 3. Tools for maize cultivation (arado and grade)
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3.1. The Galician ox cart (carro de bois)
Ox cart was used as the universal mean of
transportation in Galicia until oil-powered
vehicles began displacing them. It is completely
made of wood and iron and pulled by a couple of
oxes called parella. Figure 4 show two images of
ox charts.
of the mill, with a wheel that converts water
energy into circular movement. This energy is
transmitted to the millstone (Figure 7) by
mechanical coupling.
Figure 4. Galician ox chart
3.2. The Galician grain storage (hórreo)
Figure 6. Mill and water channel (levada)
4.2. The Milling process
Figure 5. Grain storage (hórreo)
This type of building has been used for
centuries to store grain [1]. Its special
construction with many slots to let air flow
through the walls can keep grain dry for a long
time even in wet places like Galicia, and it can be
considered one of the best examples of solar
and wind energy use in agriculture. And its
elevation over the terrain helps keep animals
away from stored products. Figure 5 shows an
example of hórreo made of traditional materials
like stone, wood and tile.
4. Milling
4.1. The Hydraulic Flour Mill
In Galicia there are many different types of
flour mills according to the source of energy
employed (wind, rivers, tide) and type of
construction. The most common type is the water
mill placed beside a small water stream with a
small reservoir and a horizontal water channel
(levada) that create a difference of level with the
main water stream and can be converted into
mechanical energy. Figure 6 shows one example
of this type of mill. Figure 8 shows the lower part
Many hydraulic mills belong to a certain
number of families that share the property and
operation costs. Every family is assigned a
number of hours of use per week.
The first step of milling is transportation of
grain to the mill that can be made by hand, ox
cart or mule, especially in places of difficult
access. Figure 9 shows arrival at the mill with a
sack of grain. Milling can only be made when
water flow and pressure provide energy enough
to move the wheel and stone. Figure 10 shows
the water input at the upper part of the mill
(cubo) that works as a buffer storage and creates
the difference of level (potential energy). The
image on the right shows the water output that is
placed at the lower part of the mill. Figure 11
shows the flow control of the mill (left) that opens
or closes a valve to let water reach the wheel.
The speed control (right) raises or lowers the
upper stone of the mill, in such way that when
the two stones are in close contact the mill stops
Milling process requires a precise control of
the amount of grain that is allowed to get into the
small space between stones. Too little grain
could make upper stone increase speed and
burn grain, and too much would stop the mill.
Control mechanism is made of a few numbers of
wood pieces that regulate the amount of grain
according to the millstone speed, and is one of
the best examples of mechanical regulator
before Industrial Revolution in XVIII century.
Figure 12 shows some pieces of this regulation
system, like moega, quenlla, and tarabelo.
Figure 13 shows flour collection and storage (in
the same sack used for grain).
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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Figure 11. Flow and speed controls
Figure 7. Millstone and grain supply
Figure 12. Grain supply regulator
Figure 8. Mill wheel (rodicio)
Figure 13. Flour collection and end of milling
4.3. Hydraulic energy
Figure 9. Grain transportation to the mill
Figure 10. Water input and output
In this section we will try to calculate the
amount of hydraulic energy needed to mill one
kilogram of grain. Numerical data have been
obtained from real milling process in Beade
a) Height of water column=3.5m
b) water flow=10l/s or 10kg/s ( density=1).
c) Power=9,8*3.5*10=343W=0,343kw
d) Time: 2h to mill 20kg of grain=0,1h/kg
e) energy=0,343kw*0,1h/kg=0,0343kwh/kg
f) 0,0343*860.4kcal/kg=29.5kcal/kg
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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5. Baking
5.1. The Traditional Wood Oven
Kneading is the first step of bread baking. It is
done in a special tool called artesa, adding
water, salt and a small portion of flour with yeast
(formento) that must be stored until next baking.
Figure 15 shows three steps of the kneading
process. After kneading bread mixture must be
left in a hot place until raises (leveda). This
operation can be made beside the oven while it
is heating or in another warm place like the
kitchen. Figure 16 shows a piece of bread ready
for baking.
5.3. Oven Heating
One of the most important steps of baking is
to achieve and maintain the right temperature
inside the oven. A certain amount of wood must
burn inside the oven until its inner wall changes
its colour. This wall is made of a special type of
brick that stores thermal energy and radiates it
for a long time. The colour of these bricks
reveals its temperature, and so there is no need
thermometers. When the desired temperature is
achieved wood is removed and bread can be
placed inside the oven for baking. Figure 17
shows different steps of oven heating.
Figure 14. Traditional Wood Oven
Galician traditional houses had often their
own wood oven that could be inside the main
house or as a separated construction. In other
cases all the families in a village shared a
common oven and used it by turns. Figure 14
shows a typical oven ready to use.
5.2. Kneading Process
Figure 15. Kneading process
Figure 17. Oven Heating
5.4. Bread Baking
Figure 16. Bread piece ready for baking
The baking process is very simple: bread
pieces are placed inside the hot oven and kept
there until they are cooked. The oven door is
closed with a wood door covered with mud to
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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avoid heat leakages. The oven has no windows
and the cooking time is based in previous
experience. Mud drying can be used as a
method of measurement, but it is not very
accurate. Figure 18 shows different steps of
baking. Figure 19 shows the final product, that is
stored in the artesa.
the starting point to make an educational
exhibition about traditional uses of renewable
energies in the cycle of maize in Galicia.
This exhibition will be installed in a traditional
flour mill that will be itself an important part of the
From the point of view of energy, calculations
have been made to show the consumption of
different type of renewable energies in every
step of growing and processing of maize:
solar energy:756750.6kcal/kg
human (food) energy: 29kcal/kg
milling (hydraulic) energy:29.5kcal/kg
baking (bio-mass) energy: 1250kcal/kg
total energy: 758059,1kcal/kg
maize energy: 3000kcal/kg
percentage: 3000/758059,1*100=0,39%
From the above calculations the following
conclusions have been obtained:
Figure 18. Bread baking
Figure 19. Bread pieces in the artesa
5.5. Bio-mass energy
In this section we will try to calculate the
energy consumption of the baking process. The
source of energy in this case is wood or biomass. Experimental data show that each
kilogram of maize flour yields about one kilogram
of bread. The amount of wood used to heat the
oven is 5 small bundles (mollos) of wood (about
5kg). The other data are obtained from different
a) Wood energy: about 2500kcal/kg
b) Oven consumption: about 0,5kg wood per
kilogram of bread.
c) energy per kilogram of bread:
6. Conclusions
The different agricultural processes of cycle of
maize in Galicia, constructions and renewable
energies employed have been studied in this
The materials contained in this article will be
Solar energy is the main source of energy
used to produce one kilogram of maize or bread.
The cultivation process uses a high amount of
terrain and collects solar energy with a very
small performance, but at this time it is the only
way of produce food for humans and animals.
In particular, baking is a very demanding
process that consumes almost as much energy
as that contained in the resulting product, but
provides a system of conservation and facilitates
human consumption of cereals.
Moreover, agricultural food production has
been working well for many centuries, is
environmentally friendly and allows sustainable
7. Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank Suso, Marita,
Pepe, Luz and Rafa from Beade (Vigo) for their
collaboration in this article and for keeping
traditions alive.
8. References
[1] X. Lorenzo, Etnografía: Cultura Material,
Nós, 1962.
[2] E. Lorenzo, Sobre el papel de la Energía en
la Historia, Progensa, 2006.
[3] X.L. Ripalda, A cultura tradicional do pan, Ir
Indo, 2002.
[4] D. Pimentel, M. Pimentel & M. KarpensteinMachan, Energy Use in Agriculture: An
Overview, CIGR Ejournal, Vol. I, January,
[5] Maize in human nutrition, FAO Document
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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[6] http://www.mapa.es/estadistica/pags/encuest
[7] http://proval.meteoproval.es/estudio_solar_2
[8] J. Lastanosa, Los veintiún libros de los
ingenios y las máquinas (codex, 1576),
Biblioteca Digital Hispánica, 2008.
Research Interpretation in University
B.V. Dorrío
Dpto. Física Aplicada. Universidade de Vigo
[email protected]
Abstract. Interactive centres are significant
informal learning sources for Science and
Technology where interpretation and hands-on
activities are employed as learning tools. An
interdisciplinary science and technology museum
at formal learning environment has been
designed, consisted on interactive modules with
hands-on experiments related with scientific
research done in the Higher School of Mining
Engineering (Escola Técnica Superior de
Enxeñeiros de Minas or ETSEM) at the
University of Vigo. In this essay we present the
more noteworthy results in relation to the context
and methodology used, a description of the
selected contents and the creation process, the
design and implementation of the activity and the
degree of fulfilment of the objectives which were
analyzed through questionnaires given out to a
notable sample of over 250 people who visited
our tailored interactive centre in ETSEM.
Keywords: Science Education, Hands-on
Science, Interpretation, Research, Interactive
1. Introduction
The currently accepted paradigm for learning
scientific-technological subjects requires, among
other things, the use of collaborative strategies
such as group work and critical thinking, and
skills for practical problem solving, which, in
addition, take the subjects closer to an
individual’s social, cultural and personal
concerns [1,2]. The use of hands-on activities
can contribute to such objectives as yet another
tool to make learners active participants in the
process: constructing in order to learn and
learning in order to construct [3]. A hands-on
activity in a knowledge acquisition context means
the use, whether in a formal learning
environment or not, of any real material or object
employed with the intention of learn a properly
contextualised concept, principle, law or
application [4]. These are well-known methods
for presentation and communication regularly
employed in interactive centres or science
museums, where the message being transmitted
appears in an informal, fun context [5-7]. In this
case the interpretation is chosen for revealing
meanings and relationships by using original
objects, direct personal implications and
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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illustrative means instead of mere audiovisual
communication of the facts [8-10], in an inclusive
experience in which personal, social and
physical contexts of participants intervene to a
unique, individual experience [11].
There are innumerable examples of such
resources being imported into the educational
sphere [12-15] backed up by the use of everyday
items, videos, simulations, models and
demonstration teaching material or instruments
themselves from research laboratories [4,16].
Thus, the teacher can integrate [17-18] them into
traditional, large group, master classes as
subject area experiences [4,16], propose to
learners the creation of a hands-on experimental
module in the form of a challenge activity
undertaken individually or in small groups [19-20]
or even suggest the cloning of a science and
technology museum within the educational
environment, a collective and cooperative activity
in which learners are co-responsible for its
definition, set up and monitoring [21-24].
energy, new materials and the environment
(Photo 1), in a similar way to a science and
technology museum, but run by student monitors
and employing real hands-on activities backed
representative photos, videos and simple, clear,
direct, easy-, and quick-to-read texts that in all
events transmitted the correct message to create
“places of informal fun learning” within the
ETSEM itself. This activity fitted within the aims
of the Social Communication and Awareness
Programme of the Galician R&D&i Plan
inasmuch as it attempted to create an
experience in educational innovation at the
university by trying, amongst other things, to
promote greater social recognition of its research
activities, make potential students aware of these
or even promote the ETSEM’s participation in
science and technology experiences by means
of contextualised hands-on activities.
The educational innovation experience was
centred on work with a small group of selected
students from the ETSEM who were involved in
a process in which part of the teaching staff
carried out corresponding tasks in a coordinated,
collective and cooperative way. The students
worked as guides, interpreters, intermediaries,
monitors or mediators with the visitors for whom
a two-hour guided tour was designed: science
and technology pupils from nearby secondary
and high schools (14-18 year olds), usually
accompanied by two or three teachers (Photo 2).
2. Context and methodology
Photo 1. Key ideas for the ETSEM activity: its
installations and research
Within the framework of Science Week 2007,
organised by the General Direction for Research,
Design and Innovation (R&D&i) of the Xunta de
Galicia Regional Authority [25], the above
strategy of using hands-on activities as a link
between learning and popularisation was used to
carry out an interpretive experience related
directly to research undertaken in the Higher
School of Mining Engineering (Escola Técnica
Superior de Enxeñeiros de Minas or ETSEM) at
the University of Vigo [26]. The main aim was to
show the relationship between this research and
Mining Engineering studies, with a long
tradition and great prestige in the EU, started in
Spain in 1777 and were the first Civil Engineering
qualification to be created there. Its name
originally comes from the traditional location of
mineral and energy sources. Nowadays the
versatility of qualifications means it can be
adapted directly to new technologies. Mining
engineers are essentially responsible managers of
the Earth’s natural resources and contrary to
popular opinion, most of them do not work in
mining exploitations, as the fields for work are
numerous and, at the same time, unknown to the
public, such as, for example: energy and fuels,
metallurgy, the iron and steel industry, resource
and environmental management, geology, civil
works and construction, business management,
explosives or safety and risk prevention in the
The studies were established at the University
of Vigo in the 1992-1993 academic year. ETSEM
is now one of five offering higher level
qualifications in Spain and the only one in Galicia.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
mine”, which consisted of a guided visit designed
to take visitors around the ETSEM facilities whilst
everyday teaching and research activities were
going on.
Photo 2. The public during the activity
The recently built installations made it possible
to unify the technology area of the University
Campus at Lagoas-Marcosende (Vigo), given the
fact that the ETSEM occupies a space in the
centre, with corridors going out from it to the three
Higher Engineering Schools of the Vigo Campus.
Sixteen years on from its start up in Galicia, the
scientific and technological activities related to the
ETSEM are in part unknown by the general public
and for this reason the theoretical proposal for this
activity was aimed essentially at showing close up
and explaining the work going on in the labs,
showing the great range of career possibilities
available to future graduates and what is on offer
in terms of education and services from the
ETSEM, and, furthermore raising awareness of
participants with regard the importance of
preserving the Earth’s natural resources (energy
and materials) and the environment, with the
specific objectives of:
1) Increasing interest for scientific and
technological aspects developed at the
2) Bringing the ETSEM’s scientific and
technological research to the public.
3) Showing
applications at the ETSEM in a fun,
interactive way.
4) Making society aware of the importance of
preserving the Environment and our
5) Showing the scientific technological work at
the ETSEM as an interdisciplinary task.
In order to achieve these objectives an
educational innovation experience was drawn up
under the general, eye-catching title of “Energy,
materials and environment: this qualification is a
Photo 3. Some students as guides, interpreters,
intermediaries, monitors or mediators
Within this architectural framework, which in
itself warrants a guided tour, the monitor work
(Photo 3) was essentially carried out by finalyear students from the ETSEM, in a context of
explanation among peers or equals. The
teaching staff worked together to establish the
contents, the corporative image of the
audiovisual presentations and the protocols for
interpretive presentation. It was understood that
the media could not offer more than someone
had thought, prepared or represented, and
should therefore be complemented by the direct
personal contact of the interpreter [10]. Likewise
the students worked on their own to prepare the
material for providing more or less support
depending on the case, which was then unified
with all the modules. Some of the activities
required additional training or preparation of the
students by the teaching staff, so that they could
handle instruments easily and with confidence.
This design and interactivity work with the
students was completed by their presence every
day in the modules, verbally presenting the
contents, carrying out hands-on activities and
generally dealing with the visitors. This all
resulted in them achieving important learning
goals regarding the particular abilities for this
type of activity, and the strengthening of several
linked competences: some instrumental (ability
to analyse and sum up, problem solving or
organisation and planning skills, etc.), some
personal (teamwork, interpersonal relationship
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
skills, critical reasoning, etc.), and some
systemic (autonomous learning, creativity,
initiative, enterprise spirit, etc.).
sequentially and in parallel in several of the
ETSEM’s spaces and with various timings, which
were maintained to a greater or lesser extent.
Two morning sessions were scheduled and were
used for most of the five days that the activity
lasted. On most occasions the visitor groups
needed to be split into smaller groups for ease of
work, enjoyment and to take better advantage of
the visit. After a general reception in the
ETSEM’s main lobby by two people from
management who introduced themselves, the
ETSEM, and its facilities, the support material for
the visit was handed out in the form of a leaflet
together with general information about the
education on offer and services at the University
of Vigo, and material provided by the General
Direction for R&D&i.
Also in the main lobby, two monitors ran
activities dealing with energy, aided by
audiovisual material projected onto a portable
screen. Later, one of the monitors took a group to
the upper floor to be shown some of the ETSEM
services: photocopying, academic administration
and the library. Later, on the upper floor, the
visitors were received in the degree hall by a
teacher who gave an informative talk on the
qualification and the visit. This was finished by
forming small groups of visitors who were
circulated independently around the rest of the
interactive themed modules (new materials and
environment) located at various areas within the
facilities, all of which were backed up with the
corresponding audiovisual presentation. At the
end of the visit all of the visitors converged once
again in the lobby as a meeting point and received
a souvenir gift of their visit to ETSEM and an
individual evaluation questionnaire to take back to
their centres for later return. After the event they
received further support documentation about
what they had seen and a photo report made
during their visit, which included, for example, 2D
thermal images or 3D scans of themselves.
3. Contents and undertaking
The hands-on modules attempted to relate the
contents with the participants’ own experience,
employing whenever possible some everyday
elements to link the unknown to the familiar. They
were focussed on a specific research topic,
around which the general context and applications
were shown at the same time (Photos 1 and 4).
Thus the visitors could:
a) attend a handling demonstration of different
explosives (a specific Mining Engineering
function) provided by the former “Spanish
Explosives Union”, now MAXAM, together with
explanations of tasks and procedures that mining
engineers carry out in underground civil works
(tunnels, car parks, etc.) and quarries; or
compression resistance testing;
b) take part in fieldwork demonstrations
undertaken at the ETSEM with actual technology
from the research labs, such as 3D scanning of
part of a building or different structures by using
high precision 3D laser scans of the area, such as
those used by Mining Engineers to analyse
bridges, heritage sites, etc. Here, data collection
was taken of the group itself for them to see
afterwards on the screen used to project the
accompanying audiovisual;
c) get to know the possibilities of alternative
energies in general and biomass in particular, by
watching the operation of a real research model,
moved from the lab into the lobby, in which
detailed study is made of the combustion process
for this type of renewable energy; or the features
and properties of the most representative
materials in industry (ceramics, metals, hybrids
and polymers), explaining, for instance, how a
PET mineral water bottle or a toothpaste tube is
manufactured by using injection, or, with the help
of the student monitors, the creation of
polyurethane, or carrying out nickel plating as an
example of corrosion protection or;
d) participate in taking non-destructive 2D
thermal images with a thermal camera such as
those employed in heat efficiency studies on
buildings. Here, visitors saw different applications
and participated in small experiments such as
viewing the thermal contours in a small piece of
PVC tubing which was subjected to internal
sedimentation with silicon, or even the
observation of their own body temperature, in
which case, once the activity was over, a thermal
image was taken of the group as a souvenir.
The teaching staff and students involved took
responsibility for general organisation and
coordination of activities, planning and design of
work, and the compilation of graphic and
bibliographic documents for the interpretative
audiovisuals, poster and leaflet. They were also
involved in defining the guided tour of the ETSEM,
in design and creation of the audiovisual
presentation material, in acquiring material and
booking the equipment and instruments for
demonstration, and the teaching staff were
involved in the training of the student monitor
A plan for diffusion, follow up and evaluation
was drawn up. A section of the ETSEM webpage
was prepared, where general information on the
activity along with downloadable PDFs of the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
poster and leaflet were published beforehand
together with preparatory background reading for
accompanying teachers aimed at gaining a more
useful educational experience. When each daily
session was over, a selection of photos was sent
to the General Direction for R&D&i [25] and five
undertaken were also diffused in the media
(press, radio, web and TV) thanks in good
measure to the work of the University of Vigo
Press Office [27]. All this meant a significant
increase in the ETSEM’s external visibility during
the days of activity.
far exceeded the participants’ expectations.
Predictably, lack of initial knowledge was great,
whereas after the visit there was a palpable
perception that it had helped in the acquisition of
new knowledge, increasing interest in the
contents presented. Also of note was that the
majority of the participants felt that the contents
were suitable for their degree of knowledge,
which means there has been relative success in
the process of adapting and presenting the
contents in a way that is understandable to the
layperson, an idea supported by the high
average overall rating obtained (7.6 out of 10).
Finally, and also very high, was the rating for the
work of the monitors, the material and the
Photo 4. Some examples of the hands on activities
developed: 2D thermal imaging, 3D scanning, explosives
handling demo, and materials with shape memory
4. Evaluation
The questionnaires employed for evaluation
of the activity were designed by the General
Direction for R&D&i of the Xunta de Galicia for
Science Week 2007. The questionnaires of
around 250 participants were analysed. The
main results, in the form of percentages reached
for each of the possibilities, can be seen in
Figures 1-3, where general information on the
origin and membership is given for the visitors
who were essentially a captive audience, obliged
to attend the activity during school hours,
exposed to an optional learning activity and
without the possibility of free choice about
participating, which is an important factor to take
into account. There is also information about
their knowledge of other similar activities and
experiences, whether part of the Science Week
organised by our government or of a different
origin. With regard to evaluation of activity
undertaken at the ETSEM, it appears that they
Figure 1. Evaluation: characteristics of the sample with
regard to their origin and experience in popularisation
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
5. Conclusions
Figure 2. Evaluation: degree of suitability, knowledge,
learning and satisfaction
This work presents the methodology for
planning, organisation and coordination together
with the most noteworthy results gained during
an educational innovation experience related to
the creation of an interactive museum and a
guided tour of the ETSEM facilities at the
University of Vigo as part of Science Week 2007,
organised as a learning activity aimed at
acquiring essentially transversal competences,
knowledge and skills by means of autonomous
work carried out by a small number of selected
students, oriented by teaching staff acting as
The activity attempted to engage participants
with research going on at the ETSEM, recreating
it technologically and increasing empathy
towards it by employing interpretive resources for
demonstration and participation. It is understood
that the questionnaires reveal a high degree of
satisfaction among participants, who consider it
to have been a special and novel experience that
was important to them. The activity, fun,
enjoyable and motivating, appears to have
awoken their interest in the contents presented
and shifted in the majority of cases, the
ignorance and ideas previously held. The
participants thought that the experience was a
fount of useful information and that is was
possible to learn new things from it.
A large part of the success achieved must be
put down to the student monitors who, with clear
and straightforward messages offered a general
broad-ranging idea of their modules within the
context of the ETSEM, including details with their
own personal impressions, awakening the
interest and desire to see new things, becoming
the vital medium to aid in understanding and help
enjoy these facts. The enthusiasm seen by
participants during the activity also constitutes an
important achievement. Finally, it is important to
also mention that in general the rest of the
teaching staff and students of the ETSEM not
directly involved in the activity also felt highly
satisfied with the experience, as did most of the
accompanying teachers from the visiting schools.
6. Acknowledgments
Figure 3. Evaluation: attention paid, material and
Thanks go to the General Direction for R&D&i
of the Xunta de Galicia for funding as part of the
Science Week 2007 programme. Thanks also go
for the logistic support of the OTRI (Arístides
Huerga and Javier González) at the University of
Vigo, the diffusion tasks to the media by the
University of Vigo Press Office and the
demonstration material provided by MAXAM.
Finally, thanks go to the teachers, students and
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
support and service staff of the ETSEM who
participated by giving their help, particularly to:
Pedro Arias, Natalia Caparrini, Enrique Granada,
Carmen Pérez, Fernado Cerdeira, Enrique
Orche, Javier Taboada, Fernando García, Pedro
Merino, Marta Cabeza, Ramón Nóvoa, Iria
Rodríguez, Jaime Martínez, Diego Copena,
Antonio Soliño, Carmen Moreira, María
Rodríguez and Karolina Biskup.
7. References
[1] D. Hodson, In search of a meaningful
relationship: an exploration of some issues
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[2] S.A. Barab and D. Karns, Rethinking
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[3] L.B. Flick, The meanings of hands-on
science, Journal of Science Teacher
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[4] B.V. Dorrío, E. García Parada and P.
González, Introducción de demostraciones
prácticas para la enseñanza de la Física en
las aulas universitarias, Enseñanza de las
ciencias, 12: 62-64, 1994.
[5] P.M. McManus, Topics in museums and
science education, Studies in Science
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[6] L.E. Maxwell and G.W. Evans, Museums as
learning settings: The importance of the
physical environment, Journal of Museum
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[7] S. Allen, Designs for learning: studying
science museum exhibits that do more than
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[8] L. Beck and T. Cable, The meaning of
interpretation, Journal of interpretation
research, 7: 7-10, 2002.
[9] C. Lee and A. Brown, Bibliogaphy of
interpretation research, 8, 2003.
[10]F. Tilden, La interpretación de nuestro
patrimonio. Pamplona: AIP, 2006.
[11] J.H. Falk and L.D. Dierking, Publics
Washington: TISAAM, 1995.
[12] C. Morris, Importing “hands-on” science into
schools: the Light Works van programme,
Physics Education, 25: 263-267, 1990.
[13]W.J. Boone. and M.K. Roth, Organizing
school science shows, The Physics Teacher,
30: 348-50, 1992.
[14] K.E. Johansson and Ch. Nilsson, Stockholm
complement to the traditional education
system, Physics Education, 34: 345-350,
[15]S. Rodríguez, J. Fernández, J.A. Asín, A.
Lago and B.V. Dorrío, An informal interactive
science and technology centre. Proceedings
of the 2nd International Conference on
Hands-on Science. Science in a changing
education, P.G. Michaelides and A.
Margetousaki, (Eds.), Rethymno: University
of Crete, 190-195, 2005.
[16]B.V. Dorrío and A.R. Vieites, Actividades
manipulativas para el aprendizaje de la
Educación, 42/7, 1-15, 2007.
[17]B.V. Dorrío, Museos interactivos na escola.
Revista Galega de Educación, 35: 20- 22,
[18]B.V. Dorrío, As actividades manipulativas
como ferramenta de aprendizaxe científicotecnolóxica, Experiencias de Innovación
Educativa na Universidade. Ourense:
Tórculo Artes Gráficas, Universidade de
Vigo, 11-16, 2006.
[19]B.V. Dorrío, Hands-on Physics activities with
International Conference on Hands-on
Inclusion in Science Education. M.F. Costa,
B.V. Dorrío, and R. Reis (Eds.), Ponta
Delgada: Universidade das Açores, 199-200,
[20]B.V. Dorrío, 101 Hands-on electromagnetic
induction activities, Proc. 4th International
Development, Diversity and Inclusion in
Science Education. M.F. Costa, B.V. Dorrío
and R. Reis (Eds.), Ponta Delgada:
Universidade das Açores, 201-202, 2007.
[21]B.V. Dorrío and R. Villar, Indoor interactive
science museums in school, Proc. 3rd
International Conference on Hands-on
Science. Science Education and Sustainable
Development; M.F. Costa and B.V. Dorrío
(Eds.), Braga: Gráfica Vilaverdense, 623628, 2006.
[22]B.V. Dorrío, J. Rodríguez, J. Fernández, J.A.
Ansín, and A. Lago, Ciencias en las manos:
aprendizaje informal. Alambique, 51: 107116, 2007.
[23]R. Villar and B.V. Dorrío, Aproximación a la
arqueología: un ejemplo de interpretación
del hecho científico, Íber, 48: 115-125, 2006.
[24]R. Villar and B.V. Dorrío, Science
interpretation in high school, Proceedings of
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education, P.G. Michaelides and A.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Margetousaki (Eds.), Rethymno: University
of Crete, 184-189, 2005.
Itinerant Museum of History
Chemistry – Soap
J. Mesquita Contarini
and W. Ruggeri Waldman
LCQUI - CCT / Universidade Estadual do Norte
Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. Due to the lack of activities aiming the
increase in interest in science in the North
Fluminense region, the Itinerant Museum of
Chemistry History was created. The Museum’s
goal is to promote experimental chemistry to
students and public school teachers through the
adaptation of classical experiments in the history
of science and technology. In the specific case of
soap, the experiments were developed seeking
low-cost materials and safety. This work
describes experiments for soap formation using
different kinds of fat, and the use of the produced
surfactants properties, such as water superficial
tension and emulsification.
Keywords. Soap, Science Education.
1. Introduction
According to an international evaluation of
quality in science teaching to 15 years-old
International Student Assessment (PISA), Brazil
is in one of the last positions in comparison with
more developed countries. This fact might be
explained by Brazil’s great socioeconomic
inequality. Nevertheless, this situation is
countries of the same region and economic
reality, e.g. Argentina, Uruguay and Chile [1].
Brazil’s ranking in PISA 2007 is a result of the
lack of investments in science teaching in
addition to the lack of adequate structure for
science laboratories in educational institutions.
Another research was promoted by the
Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT in
Portuguese) in 2007 [1]. This study also involved
the Brazilian Academy of Science, FIOCRUZ
Museum of Life, FAPESP and Unicamp’s
Laboratory of Advanced Studies in Journalism.
The study showed preoccupying results
regarding the public perception of science:
- 58% of the interviewees have little or no
interest in science and technology (37% of them
said this was mainly due to the fact that they do
not understand it);
- 73% of the search little or no information on
science and technology (32% of them said this
was mainly due to the fact that they do not
understand it);
- only 4% of the interviewees visited a
museum of science in the last year;
- from the 96% that did not visit museums of
science in the last year, 47% said this was
mainly due to the museums’ location (35%
declared there were no museums of science in
their area and 12% declared that the museums
are very far).
Nowadays, museums and centres of sciences
are not recognized as a place of scientific
production anymore [2]. Instead, they are a place
of representation of science and a link between
society and scientific production [3].
Some authors have been emphasizing the
importance of visits to spaces of science as a
means to develop a more critical perception of
the world.
“Museums of science and technology enable
visitors to look at the world in a different way
after the visit. They see things that they have
never seen and, eventually, make things that
they have never made because they thought
they were not able. The Centres and Museums
of Science’s goals are raising awareness to
scientific culture; avoiding possible "antiscientific" resistance and encouraging attitudes
and processes of science, especially curiosity
and critical thinking.” [4]
Aiming to help the reversion of science
education’s current situation and to establish
interactions between society and science, the
Itinerant Museum of Chemistry History was
created in the North Fluminense region,
promoting strategies of improvement in
Chemistry teaching.
Based on MCT research’s results, we decided
for the museum’s mobility in order to assist the
several North Fluminense regions and to
minimize the problem of museums’ distance.
Another objective of the project is to improve
students and teachers’ knowledge on History of
Sciences by developing specific activities on the
topic. The activities for teachers will be trainings
that are being implemented at the Regional
Coordination of Education of North Fluminense
Region. The training’s aim is the actual
application of Science History in the teaching of
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
sciences. The activities for students will be
presentations of experiments related to the
History of Chemistry, focusing on technologies
that are part of students’ everyday life. Some
research has been made on this area, namely
the application of History of Science when
teaching Electrochemistry topics (e.g. pile)
presented positive results favouring the learning
and increasing students’ interest during classes
The Itinerant Museum of Chemistry History
nowadays works with four topics that are related
to classic experiments in the History of Science
and Technology. These topics are part of
students’ everyday life and offer the possibility of
approaching current Chemistry topics in high
school. The topics are: candle, beer, soap and
food conservation. The four topics were
presented in Scientiarum Historia - 1st Congress
of History of Sciences and Techniques and
1.1 Soap
Baths as hygiene practice and health of the
body only happened in the 19th century, when
science identified a series of diseases [7].
1.1.2. Reactions
In the most primitive way of making soap, the
basic reagents were animal fat (for instance, ox
tallow) and plant ashes. In animal fat there are
several glicerides that, in alkaline environment,
can be decomposed in glicerol and soap. The
abundant alkaline environment in antiquity was
found in plant ashes, i.e. the sodium and
potassium carbonates.
Figure 1 illustrates a saponification reaction.
+ 3 NaOH
Soda cáustica
O - Na+
O Na
O Na
Figure 1. Representation of saponification reaction
In this study, the topic soap will be developed
with experiments based on its history. The
preparation of experiments will require materials
such as ashes and soda. Support texts will be
made to explain the chemistry involved. These
texts will be used by students and by high school
teachers who do not hold a Bachelor degree in
Chemistry (in Brazil, only 13% of public school
Chemistry teachers have Bachelor’s degree in
Chemistry) [6].
Soap is a common topic in Chemistry lectures
as it is approached several times in high school’s
curriculum, i.e. organic chemistry, carbon chain’s
intermolecular interactions.
In this article, experiments will be developed
in order to help discussions regarding water
superficial tension, formation of surfactant
monolayer on water’s surface and emulsion
The alkaline hydrolisis of glicerides is called
saponification reaction. Depending on the alkali
used in this production, different types of soaps
are obtained. When the reaction involves sodium
hydroxide, or sodium carbonate, harder soaps
are produced. If the reaction involves potassium
hydroxide or potassium carbonate, the resulting
soap is softer.
1.1.1. Soap in health
The polar extremity can interact with water
(also polar) and the hydrocarbonic chain
interacts with the fat (also apolar).
Soap has a simple production process, which
has happened since ancient times. It is worth to
remark that changes in soap production
contributed to human being’s evolution in a direct
way. Today it is practically impossible to imagine
life without soap or similar products. When
somebody from a tropical country does not take
a shower one day, it is easily noticed by our
sense of smell. It is important to remind that that
bad smell that we feel is human being’s
characteristic smell (that we hide with perfumes
of soap and of deodorant that we use everyday).
1.1.3. Soap chemical structure and properties
Soap has two different characteristics in their
molecular structure: great apolar hydrocarbonic
groups and a polar extremity (Figure 2).
O Na
Figure 2. Representation of a soap molecule
1.1.4. Soap as a cleaning agent
Water surface behaves as an elastic film. This
property of liquids is called superficial tension,
and it happens due to the attracting forces
among the internal molecules of a liquid and the
molecules of the surface. Soap reduces the
water’s superficial tension, which is why soap is
called a surfactant agent.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Soap has the property of concentrating oil
particles in micelles, i.e. microscopic droplets of
fat involved by soap molecules. Micelles are selforganized systems of soap molecules, or
surfactants, and they have the following shape (
Figure 3).
Figure 3. Representation of a micelle system
In a micellar structure, the apolar part of soap
molecules is guided to the interior of the micelle
(interacting with the fat), and the polar part is
guided outside the micelle, interacting with water,
as shown on Figure 3.
The micelles stay dispersed in water
generating an oil emulsion. This happens
because their coagulation is avoided by
electronic repulsion.
2. Potash
The delay in industrial and scientific
development in Brazil during colonial period was
mainly due to D. Maria I, who prohibited
manufacture activities in the colony in 1785. In
1808, the Portuguese royalty migrated to Brazil
and finally some actions to stimulate technology,
labour education and, consequently, scientific
thought were undertaken.
In the 18th century, during the period when
modern Chemistry appeared, Frei Jose Mariano
de Conceição Veloso translated some books
about industrial activities to Portuguese. Veloso
was devoted to Botany, leading the first botanical
expedition (1779-1790) through the interior of
Rio de Janeiro state, being considered one of the
main names of science and technology of the
Portuguese empire in the end of the 18th century
and beginning of the 19th century. Veloso wrote
books that helped the beginning industry,
agriculture and natural history in Brazil. Veloso
also described around four hundred new species
of Brazilian plants.
In Brazil, one of the first written registrations
related to soap was a book written by Veloso in
1798. The book’s main subject was large-scale
production of potash, one of the main ingredients
of soap. The book “Alographia dos álcalis fixos
vegetais ou potassa, mineral ou soda e dos seus
nitratos, segundo as melhores memórias
estrangeiras, Que se tem escripto a este assunto
parte primeira” described the species of Brazilian
plants which are rich in potassium.
Veloso had the assignment of promoting
potash industry in Brazil. Potash was very
significant for the beginning industry because it
was used in the production of several products,
such as fabrics, glass, paper, sugar, medicines
and dyes. On Veloso’s book, there are
illustrations indicating plans for the construction
of potash factories that, when in operation, would
yield profits for Portugal. The book also gives
instructions to those who decided to set up
potash factories in Brazil.
Until half of the 19th century, potash and soda
were obtained from combustion of certain types
of plants. After that, the practice disappeared
with the exploration of Stassfurt’s mineral
deposits in Germany in 1861. With Leblanc’s
process, industrial production of sodium
carbonate in the beginning of the 19th century [8].
3. Experiments
3.1. Soap preparation varying the fat type
Soap preparation was tested with varying
types of fat, which showed that several different
products can be obtained depending on the type
of fat used as a reagent.
The different fat types were obtained in
different ways. Some were bought in trades,
such as ox tallow from slaughterhouses and soy
oil from supermarkets. Others were extracted
during the preparation of meals, such as chicken
fat, obtained by separating the skin from the fat
during its cleaning, and rib fat, obtained after the
rib cooking.
To guarantee that all fats were in the same
conditions, the reaction began with warm fat so
that all of them were in liquid state (at room
temperature, rib fat and ox tallow are in the solid
state). In a beaker, twenty millilitres of warm fat
were added. Afterwards, five grams of soda
(bought at a construction store) were added. The
mixture was slowly stirred for thirty minutes in a
heating plate, at 100 °C. After the soap cooling,
three different products were obtained (Figure 4).
The resulting soap presented different
properties. The order of hardness was (from the
hardest to the least hard): ox tallow, rib fat,
chicken fat and soy oil. This practice
demonstrates that the various kinds of fat’s
different properties (i.e. insaturation level,
glycerine concentration and chain size) influence
the final product’s physical properties. It is also
possible to obtain soaps with intermediate
characteristics, mixing different fat types.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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With the aim of characterizing the foaming
capacity of each piece of soap obtained, we
made a quantitative comparison with water in
test tubes. 0,1 gram of different pieces of soap
was mixed in 5 ml of water. The resulting foam
formed on the different pieces of soap is shown
on Figure 5.
Figure 6. Samples of soap foam from different kinds of
soap, one hour after the shaking. From left to right: ox
tallow, soy oil, ox rib fat and chicken fat
This kind of practice, where reagent can be
varied using materials from everyday life (i.e. the
several fat types and different types of vegetable
oils) and where the different products obtained
are predictable and verifiable, stimulates the
raising of students’ scientific curiosity.
3.2. Influence of water hardness in efficiency
of the soap
Figure 4. Soap made from several kinds of fat. A) ox
tallow; B) soy oil; C) chicken fat and D) ox rib fat
This experiment was developed to approach
the influence of metallic cations, namely calcium
and magnesium in soap’s action. Different
samples containing hard water and soap were
analyzed, observing the variation in the amount
of foam in function of Ca2+ concentration.
Ca2+ concentrations
Figure 5. Samples of soap foam from different kinds of
soap, just shaken. From left to right: ox tallow, soy oil, ox
rib fat and chicken fat
It is possible to observe that there is no
significant difference in the amount of foam on
different soap types. After one hour of rest,
different stabilities of foam were observed
(Figure 6). The foam from soy oil soap is less
stable than the others.
Saturated solution
50,0% of saturated solution
25,0% of saturated solution
12,5% of saturated solution
6,3% of saturated solution
3,2% of saturated solution
1,6% of saturated solution
0,8% of saturated solution
Table 1. Solutions used in the hard water experiment. All
solutions have 20 drops of detergent
Water’s hardness is defined in function of
calcium and magnesium concentration. Hard
water prevents foam formation when soap is
used [9]. Water hardness is a regional factor,
because the calcium and magnesium ions
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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concentration depends on the type of rock, e.g.
calcareous rocks [10].
This kind of effect occurs because Ca2+ and
ions interact with soap’s carboxilate,
generating an insoluble substance before foam
formation. A common problem involving hard
water is the formation of insoluble deposits in
water pipes and kettles [11]. In the hard water
experiment, whitewash (used in constructions),
plastic bottles, commercial detergent and coffee
filter were used. Thirty grams of whitewash were
added to 500 millilitres of water. This mixture
was stirred and left to rest, decanting. In order to
remove suspended impurities, the mixture was
filtered twice using paper filter. The saturated
and filtered solution was diluted several times in
the following way: 250 ml of saturated solution
was mixed with the same amount of water,
diluting the solution’s concentration in 50%. 250
ml of this solution was separated for the
experiment and the other 250 ml were diluted
again in 250 ml of water. This procedure was
repeated 7 times, producing solutions with
concentrations of around 0,8% of the original
solution (Table 1).
3.2.2. Results and Discussion
By reducing the concentration of whitewash,
an increase in the foam column was observed,
as illustrated on Figure 6.
Figure 7. Picture of solutions 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 immediately
after agitation
Four hours after agitation, two facts could be
observed: 1) all foam formations are stable and
2) less foam is generated in function of Ca2+
concentration (7).
Figure 8. Picture of the solutions 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 six
hours after the agitation.
The metallic ions responsible for water
hardness react with soap, precipitating the
carboxilates that consume the soap (Figure 9).
Ca2+ + 2 CH3(CH2)16COO- → Ca(C18H35O2)2(s)
Figure 9. Representation of the formation of Ca(HCO3)2.
3.3 Lava Lamp
A mixture of water and oil was used in a
proportion of 1:3 (water: oil). An effervescent pill
was added to generate an ascending effect and
thus, the visual effect is similar to a lava lamp. A
double of this system was made and, having the
two bottles in front of students, we added soap to
the aqueous environment in only one of the two
bottles. The result illustrates, with interesting
visual appeal, the influence of detergent in
emulsion formation.
The materials utilized in the experiment were
kitchen oil, potassium permanganate, 600ml
plastic bottles, effervescent antacid, water and a
syringe adapted with a hose. The solution
contains a tip of spatula of KMnO4 in 200
millilitres of water. It is important to remark that
permanganate is only used in this experiment
due to its appealing colour. Another coloured
substance could be used, if more easily
available. One hundred millilitres of the
permanganate solution was added in each bottle.
Afterwards, 300 millilitres of oil were added to
each. In one of the bottles, some millimetres of a
solution of detergent (15 ml in 85 ml of water),
was added in aqueous phase with a syringe
coupled to a fine hose.
Finally, a tablet of effervescent antacid was
simultaneously added to both bottles, and the
differences between the two bottles could be
The effervescent tablet is mainly made of
sodium bicarbonate, which reacts with water to
form sodium hydroxide and carbonic acid, (an
unstable acid that easily decomposes to H2O and
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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CO2). In both bottles, the formation of CO2
bubbles was observed due to the effervescent
tablet’s addition. In the bottle without surfactant,
the CO2 bubbles carried the permanganate
solution. After coming to the oil’s surface, the
permanganate solution went down due to its
higher density. This ascending-descending
movement resembles the functioning of a lava
In the bottle where detergent had been added
in the aqueous phase, there was an emulsion
formation of the system permanganate-oil, and
foam formation during reaction. Both effects are
due to the ascension of CO2 bubbles carrying
portions of water. After the reaction, the foam
remained on surface.
The ascension of water bubbles in the bottle
without detergent was still observed after the end
of effervescence. An interesting activity is to
visually follow one of these water bubbles
coupled with remaining bubbles of gas. Halfway
to the surface, some gas bubbles are detached
from the water bubbles. The interruption in the
ascending motion and the fact that they go down
illustrate the density concept.
Figure 10. The bottles in different moments of the
experiment. A) Before the addition of the effervescent
tablet; B) just after its addition; and C) after the emulsion
4. Conclusion
From the experience with high school visits of
the Itinerant Museum of Chemistry History, we
learn that dynamic experiments, i.e. the lava
lamp, have an immediate impact on students’
reaction. Moreover, experiments such as soap
preparation and hard water encourage students
to reproduce them due to their flexibility and easy
execution. Thus, the students are encouraged to
try them more than once, with variations in the
conditions. All experiments described here
stimulate students’ interest in experimental
practice and promote the association of everyday
life experiences with scientific concepts
approached in classes.
5. Acknowledgements
The authors thank UENF for Juliana
Contarini’s fellowship and Prof. Fernando Luna
for the access to papers related to the subjects
approached in this study. The authors are also
thankful to Roberta Gregoli for the help with
6. References
[1] http://www.estadao.com.br/ext/especiais/200
[2] http://www.mct.gov.br/index.php/content/view
[3] M.M. Lopes, O Brazil Descobre a Pesquisa
Científica: os museus e as ciências naturais
do século XIX, HUCITEC, São Paulo, 1997
[4] P. Rodari and M. Merzagora, The role of
science centres and museums in the
dialogue between science and society,
Journal of Science Communication, 6 (2)
June, 1-2, 2007.
[5] F. B. Gil and C.M. Lourenço, Que ganhamos
hoje em levar os nossos alunos a um
museu. Comunicar Ciência. 3(1999)4-5,
translated by the authors.
[6] 46o Congresso Brazileiro de Química
[7] A.I. Ruiz, M.N. Ramos and M. Hingel,
Escassez de Professores no Ensino Médio:
Soluções Emergenciais e Estruturais.
[8] P. Le Couteur and J. Burreson, Os botões de
Napoleão: as 17 moléculas que mudaram a
história, Cap. 1, translated by Maria Luiza X.
de A. Borges, Editora Jorge Zahar, Rio de
Janeiro, 2006.
[9] F. Luna, The production of Potash from
plants in colonial Brazil as described in Fray
Conceição Veloso’s Alographia dos Alkalis,
Química Nova, accepted for publication.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
[10] J.D. Lee, Quimica Inorgânica não tão
Concisa, Editora Edgard Blücher, translated
from 5th Edition, Chapter 1.
[11]G.S. Mol, A.B. Barbosa and R.R. Silva, Água
Dura em Sabão mole. Química Nova na
Escola, 2:32-33, 1995.
Nanotechnology Education
on a Local Scale
N. Berchenko1 and I. Berezovska1
Rzeszow University
Department of Computer Sciences, Ternopil
State Technical University
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. Progress in nanotechnology depends
on availability of well educated specialists. The
response from European higher education
institutions to the need for nano-education
focuses mainly on Masters courses, but other
forms of education are also being developed. At
Rzeszow University this problem is of high
importance because the Nanotechnology Centre
will be launched in 2010 to become a technology
and research base in the southern-eastern
Poland for BA, MA and PhD degree courses and
for research projects. The most important matter
while developing educational materials in
nanotechnology is a rapid growth of new
information and a quick transition from
generating new ideas to implementing those
ideas in industry. This makes e-learning the most
efficient teaching strategy. Its potential is used to
compile a laboratory course on nanostructure
characterization. A 7 step strategy is developed
to conduct workshops on the methods of
characterization based on teacher-guided
reading the research literature.
Keywords. E-learning, Nanotechnology, Web,
Laboratory Course, Electronic Tutorial, Reading
1. Introduction
Nanotechnology is a too complicated
phenomenon to have a single definition. The
simplest one defines nanotechnology as the
engineering with anything smaller than 100
nanometres with novel properties. It integrates
multiple disciplines, technologies, materials, and
processes to enable the creation, assembly,
measurement, or manipulation of materials,
devices and integrated systems at the nano and
molecular scales with great potential. Further
progress in this field depends on availability of
well educated specialists.
nanotechnology are broad and still exploratory,
with connections to almost all disciplines and
areas of relevance. Thus the most important
matter to be taken into consideration while
nanotechnology is an exponential growth of new
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
information and an accelerated transition from
generating new ideas to implementing those
ideas in industry.
In this communication we examine the
training in the nanotechnology, which derives
from microelectronics, surface and interface
science, and focuses on fabrication of structures
in silicon, carbon and other inorganic materials
that will be, as we expect, one of the main
direction of the evolution for the nanoelectronics.
2. Current issues in nanoscience education
While planning educational initiatives for
nanoscience and nanotechnology, it is very
useful to have estimates of how many specialists
are needed, because “training people is a key
component for long-term success” [1].
According to M.C. Roco, Senior Advisor for
Nanotechnology of the National Science
Foundation, a need for a multidisciplinary trained
nanotechnology workforce in the years 20102015 is of 900 000 in the USA, 400 000 in
Europe, and about 2 million persons in total [1].
There is an interesting estimate for a proportion
of staff with different qualification levels: “experts
have estimated that future demands will require
15 trained technicians for each scientist in a
nanotechnology manufacturing business” [2].
2.1. International initiatives in nano-education
The response from European higher
education institutions to the existing need for
nano-education focuses mainly on Masters
courses, but other forms of education including
short courses, formal PhD programs and
undergraduate education, and vocational training
courses are also being discussed and
developed. European or international standards
for good quality education in nanosciences and
nanotechnology should be developed and
initiatives taken for sharing best practices
between professors and vocational trainers. The
EU can stimulate this under the People
programme in FP7 for university graduates
funded by DG Research and the new Lifelong
Learning programme funded by DG Education
(2007-2013) [3].
A five-year goal of the U.S. National
Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is ensuring
access to the full range of nanoscale research
facilities to 50% of US research institutions'
faculty and students, while students’ access to
education in nanoscale science and engineering
is enabled in at least 25% of the research
universities [1].
The European Materials Research Society (EMRS) is planning an “European Whitebook on
Nano-Science Education” with contributions from
scientists of diverse backgrounds and disciplines
presenting an overview of the state of the art in
this existing fields from European and global (by
the International Union of Materials Society IUMRS) international perspectives [4].
Four leading research and educational
institutions in Europe (Chalmers Tekniska
Hцgskola, Sweden; Technische Universiteit Delft
& Universiteit Leiden, the Netherlands;
Technische Universitдt Dresden Germany and
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium) have
proposed a joint Erasmus Mundus Master
nanotechnology”. This is an integrated program,
with a strong research basis and an international
outreach. The objective of this course is to
provide top quality multidisciplinary education in
nanoscience and nanotechnology [5].
2.2. The Nanotechnology Centre at Rzeszow
However this does not mean that less known
educational institutions are not able to train
specialists for this field. E-learning is just right to
ensure a high quality of education.
At Rzeszow University this problem is of an
Nanotechnology Centre currently being under
construction will be launched in 2010. To meet
the forthcoming demand for nanotechnologists,
we have to develop and implement relevant
teaching strategies here and now. The
technology and research base in the southerneastern Poland for BA, MA and PhD degree
courses as well as for research projects
concerning the growth, characterization and
application of nanostructures based on II-VI
semiconductor materials. This decides which
methods we pay special attention, however
students will be given an overview of basic
instrumentation and metrology needs across all
nanoscience and nanotechnology. Everybody
goes his/her own way to the nanoscience guided
by previous research experience, and a way we
choose decides what we will do in a new field.
We have been kept to the straight and narrow
nanoelectronics - low dimensional structures,
such as: quantum wells, quantum dots and
super-lattices grown by MBE-technology.
2.3. E-learning in nanotechnology
Combination of multiple time-limiting factors in
nanotechnology makes e-learning the most
efficient teaching strategy. We have used the e-
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
learning potential to compile a laboratory course
on nanostructure characterization. This is a very
important component of a curriculum for
nanoscience education because a proper
measurement of nanostructure parameters
critical to realizing its underlying physical ideas is
as challenging as the development of
nanostructure technology because even classic
methods become specific when applying to
Presently a central problem is not how to
locate a proper material in the Internet, but how
to implement it in a right way. There are both
general-purpose and specialized resources. The
first to be referred to among general-purpose
resources is NanoEd Resource Portal launched
by National Centre for Learning and Teaching in
Nanoscale Science and Engineering, available at
http://www.nanoed.org/. The site is designed to
both gather and disseminate information on
education research, nanoconcepts, teaching
materials, seminars, and degree programs. The
NCLT is the first national centre for learning and
teaching of nanoscale science and engineering
education in the United States. The centre was
created in October 2004, through a National
Science Foundation award of $15 million for five
years. The mission of NCLT is to develop the
next generation of leaders in nanoscale science
and engineering teaching and learning. Its
educational materials are addressed to science
teachers and students in grades 7-12, college
and university students and faculty, researchers,
and post doc students. Additionally the National
Science Foundation provided a five-year $20
million grant to the Nanoscale Informal Science
researchers and informal science educators
together to inform the public about nanoscience
and technology.
However extensive materials relevant to our
characterization, are developed by many
university laboratories and analytical equipment
producers. Some examples of their web sites are
discussed below.
3. Characterization and imaging methods in
the nanotechnology curriculum
Advances in fundamental nanoscience,
design of new nano-materials, and ultimately
manufacturing of new nanoscale products will all
depend to a great degree on the capability to
accurately and reproducibly measure properties
and performance characteristics at the
nanoscale. The revolution in nanoscale science
and technology requires instrumentation for
observation and metrology, otherwise we are not
able to see and measure what we build. Though
Richard Feynman challenged the scientific
community to explore the "space at the bottom"
since 1959, nanoscale R&D activities have been
initiated on a full-scale only few years after Gerd
Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer have invented the
scanning tunnelling microscope for seeing and
touching nanostructures on surfaces in 1981.
Instrumentation and metrology have been
identified by the U. S. National Nanotechnology
Initiative (NNI) as one of critical nanotechnology
areas as they are both vital to the success and
commercialization of nanotechnology.
3.1. Characterization techniques
However a number of methods used in
nanostructures research have turned a hundred.
Additionally, they are being improved and
updated according to specific research goals.
Therefore it is a primary task to select the most
relevant methods and explain students why they
answer the purposes of research. Over the past
30 to 40 years a wide range of surface and
microanalytical techniques found an application
in nanotechnology have evolved. Each technique
has its own unique capabilities that are related to
the particular physical interaction involved with
that technique. With the exception of SPM/AFM,
all of the techniques involve the interaction of
some type of particle (electron, ion, or photon)
with the sample material. The physics of each
particular interaction affect the limits of lateral
resolution, depth resolution, and detection
sensitivity for each technique. Understanding
these interactions, and more importantly the
limitations they impose on a technique, can be
crucial when selecting an analytical technique for
specific problems to be solved. The main
parameters characterizing technique - the
required spatial resolution and the sensitivity
(detection limits) are strictly interconnected.
Students study many of surface analysis
techniques being used today: AES -Auger
Electron Spectroscopy; XPS / ESCA - X-Ray
Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis; SIMS Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry; TOF-SIMS Time-of-Flight
Spectrometry; Raman Spectroscopy.
All these techniques are the “classical”
methods developed to surface analyses,
however recently their main parameters have
been substantially improved to keep pace with
nanotechnology increase resolution.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
3.2. Nanoscale imaging
Because nano-devices can operate on the
level of a few molecules, or even a few atoms,
accurate atomic-scale imaging is important. The
sphere of nanoscale imaging belongs largely to
microscopy. Electron microscopy relies on the
fact that electrons have much shorter
wavelengths than visible-range photons and can
thus resolve much finer details while maintaining
a large depth of focus. Electron microscopy is
now the most universal and de facto obligatory
It is divided into two very different techniques:
scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and
transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In
SEM, a focused electron beam is scanned
across a conductive surface, releasing
secondary electrons that are collected by a
detector placed above the object at an angle that
determines the perspective view. Magnification is
changed by adjusting the size of the scanning
area. Resolution ranges down to a couple of
nanometres for the most-advanced tools-not fine
enough to resolve atomic detail. Transmission
electron microscopy takes a different approach:
electrons are passed through the specimen,
producing a shadow that is magnified by
magnetic lenses and projected onto a sensing
In scanning transmission electron microscopy
(STEM), a variation of TEM, an electron spot is
raster-scanned across the specimen and the
secondary transmitted electrons detected.
Magnification ranges up to 1 million, allowing the
imaging of atomic lattices. High-resolution
aberration-corrected electron microscopes (both
TEM and STEM) already today can provide
valuable measurements at the sub-Еngstrom
level. In general, resolution is accepted as the
ability to determine if an image feature
represents two objects rather than one. In highresolution electron microscopy these objects are
Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is a
branch of microscopy that forms images of
surfaces using a physical probe that scans the
specimen. An image of the surface is obtained
by mechanically moving the probe in a raster
scan of the specimen, line by line, and recording
the probe-surface interaction as a function of
position. By using such a probe, researchers are
no longer restrained by the wavelength of light or
electrons. The resolution obtainable with this
technique can resolve atoms.
Scanning Probe Microscopy is a general
term, used to describe a growing number of
techniques that use a sharp probe to scan over a
surface and measure some property of that
surface. Some examples are STM (scanning
tunnelling microscopy), AFM (atomic force
microscopy), and NSOM (Near-Field Scanning
Optical Microscopy). Many scanning probe
microscopes can image several interactions
simultaneously. The manner of using these
interactions to obtain an image is generally
called a mode.
3.3. Web-base resources
A useful list of excellent surface science
courses, from introductory to graduate levels,
each emphasizing different aspects of the
subject is available on the UK Surface Analysis
Forum (ttp://www.uksaf.org/tutorials.html).
Evans Analytical Group has collected and
presented on its web site (www.eag.com)
materials on most known methods of surface
characterization, their practical use and the
interpretation of measurement results.
Interesting materials on specific techniques
are posted on web-sites supported by producing
companies, e.g. Kratos (www.kratos.com)
provides materials on XPS, and Jeol
(www.jeol.com) – on SEM and TEM.
Though in comparison with other methods
SPM is a fairly new one, nevertheless there are
extensive e-collections related to different
aspects of those methods. We would like to
emphasize some of them. First of all – the James
Madison University SPM Education website
(http://spmeducation.virginiananotech.com/) - the
clearinghouse for SPM experiments, techniques,
labs and ideas that have been published in the
scientific educational literature or developed by
educators to be used primarily for educational
As to SPM producing companies, NT-MDT
Co. should be mentioned first and foremost
Nanoscience Instruments publishes the
Nanoadvisor educational newsletter, which offers
reviews on nanoscience programs, funding,
resources, and nano-teaching information
4. Literature-based study of imaging and
characterization methods
Research publications, both printed and
electronic, provide information on the most
current accomplishments which is indispensable
to successful learning any subject. In
nanotechnology, however, they also somehow
compensate a lack of expensive equipment
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
which many educational institutions cannot
4.1. Formats of research publications
Published research generally follows an
established format. It is important that students
understand each part of the research paper.
Typically it includes the following parts [6]:
Abstract “serves to briefly answer the
basic questions about what was studied, how it
was done, and the results. Its primary purpose is
to allow readers to make an initial evaluation of
whether a study is of interest without having to
read the complete paper”. Structured abstracts
make it easier for readers to select appropriate
articles. The introduction, methods, results, and
discussion (IMRAD) format [7] is well known and
widely adopted for structured abstracts in original
Introduction “explains why the study will
be conducted... It also expands a little more on
how the research will be conducted. The
introduction can be divided into two major parts:
the Background section and the Purpose section.
Background …should reflect a comprehensive
knowledge of the body of research on the subject
and should brief the reader on both the previous
studies that support the concepts or theories of
the current study and those that do
not…Purpose … dictates how a study will be
conducted: the research design, the variables
that will be measured, how information will be
collected and analyzed, and what conclusions
may be drawn”.
Methodology “…explains how the
research was conducted and should give
information in enough detail for the reader to
evaluate the study. It should also enable the
reader to understand to whom or what the study
results apply”.
Results section provides the data and its
Discussion section “gives the reader
some insight into the study subject area and
often sheds new light on the results and their
meaning. Alternative explanations for the results
and the implications of the research may also be
presented”. Sometimes conclusions may be not
adequately supported by the data for many
reasons (collection of insufficient or inadequate
methodological problems, or inherent limitations
of the study design). This is why it is important to
review the methodology section.
References always can tell experts “if
key research has been omitted from the
reference list…Also, a reference list that includes
both older and newer relevant research can
reassure the reader that the author has
thoroughly reviewed the entire body of research
for background and has not just considered the
last few or first few studies conducted on the
4.2. Reading strategy to study techniques
applied in nanotechnology
A workshop which involves a thorough
consideration of research articles is the final
stage of learning characterization and imaging
methods. These articles are selected by teachers
according to their instructional utility and are
analyzed by students according to the following
7-step strategy:
Students’ reading is controlled in a stepby-step manner when they are offered all parts of
an article one after another.
An object of studies is analyzed, e.g. a
method of fabrication, possible application,
characterization. Students suggest a set of
methods, the research purpose is discussed.
considered; specific equipment used in
experiments is discussed with a focus on its
potentials and limits; user manuals available
from a producer or on a Web site are read.
Students make assumptions regarding an
outcome to be achieved if the selected methods
are applied.
Sample preparation for the investigation
methods are considered (e.g. ion beam milling,
angle lap etc.). This stage is not always paid a
proper attention. However it is this point that
ensures correct findings, especially for
Results achieved with each specific
method are analyzed with a focus on their
All results are considered as whole;
authors’ conclusions are discussed.
Directions of further studies are
suggested. Two options are possible depending
on a purpose of the research under discussion:
a purpose was to characterize a
structure. Possible continuation may be
additional studies with an extended set of
a purpose was to study a particular
phenomenon. Then the question is whether this
structure is optimum to observe that
phenomenon and, if it is not, which structure
would be better. Answering the latter question
requires not only the knowledge of research
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
methods and nanostructure physics, but basic
experience in materials science and technology
as well.
Students’ efficient work during the workshop
is supported through continuous referring to
different resources including not only common
electronic tutorials developed at our university
but mostly web-based resources, both research
and industrial. The quality of students’ learning
depends on how accurate is teacher’s selection
of materials to be used at workshops. This
requires that a teacher should make a great deal
of pre-workshop literature research.
5. Conclusions
Nanotechnology poses new challenges to
education in many ways because existing
paradigms are evolving – new physical ideas are
being discovered and then some technologies
are revolutionary transformed, other ones are
approaches are introduced to solve the problems
which seem to have been solved.
E-learning allows a timely response to new
application examples to explain students which
method or combination of methods is good for a
particular experiment, how to plan an
experiment, and how to interpret its results.
6. References
[1] M.C. Roco, International Strategy for
Development, J. of Nanoparticle Research,
3, 353-360, 2001.
[2] J. Lighteather, Nanoscience Education,
challenges and opportunities, Presentation at
the Expert Group Meeting “North-South
Dialogue on Nanotechnology, Challenges
and Opportunities”, 10-12 February, Trieste,
[3] M. Ineke, Nano-education from a European
perspective, Journal of Physics: Conference
Series, 100, 1-7, 2008.
[4] P.A. Glasow, How should the Higher
Education in Materials Sciences and
Technology be performed in Europe, 2007
[5] Erasmus Mundus Master Nanoscience and
[6] How to Understand and Interpret Food and
Health-Related Scientific Studies, Review
from the International Food Information
Council Foundation.
[7] T. Nakayama, N.Hirai, S. Yamazaki, and M.
Naito, Adoption of structured abstracts by
general medical journals and format for a
structured abstract. J Med Libr Assoc., April;
93(2): 237–242, 2005.
Enhancing Women Presence in
Science – from “De Jure” to “De
Facto” Situation
C. Timus
National Institute for Laser, Plasma and
Radiation Physics, Bucharest
[email protected]
Abstract. The paper is reporting a comparative
situation of promotion women in science in the
origin country and in other EU countries
according to the recommendations of European
Commission (2005). Besides some statistical
figures, specific features regarding the presence
of women in science in Romania are discussed,
stressing the general political and economical
environment related to the long transition of the
country from totalitarian to a democratic system
and the consequences of EU accession. Some
good practices to enhance the interest of young
girls for science are presented, as well. The
importance of the international contacts and
change of experience is discussed.
Keywords. Women in Science, Competition,
Contacts, Excellence.
1. Introduction
Romania and Bulgaria are the last countries
accepted in EU in 2007, the chapter of science
and education being among the first open for
discussions and accomplishment of the Aquis
Communitaire. The international contacts
developed in the frame of projects and
cooperation represented the opportunity to be
closer to the common rules adopted in EU by the
other members. Nevertheless the preparation
works for the access had been much facilitated
and Romania began to contribute to the common
funds much before the date of accession. The
last 18 years were the scene of important
changes in the history, economy, society as
moving from an autocratic to a democratic
system and it was not easy and costless. It is
important the notice that Romania had a quite
good economical situation and a qualified labour
force at the end of the autocratic system in 1989.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Women represent in this country about 51.4%
and the qualification was similar to that of men,
as the access to study was not affected by
discrimination in the former system. In the last
time due to the regression of the industrial units,
the limitation of many industrial activities,
privatization of many units, the appearance of
new activities, services, a.s.o. a storm was
happening in the jobs opportunities according to
the economical changes.
The law of Equal Chance between women
and men had been adopted in 2002, but thinking
at the fragile democracy in a country in which the
autocracy was active for more than 50 years and
recalling that in Norway a similar law is valid
since 1978 the differences are quite clear
2. Romania realities
As concerns the education due to the
autonomy of the higher education units, the ever
increasing number of private universities, and the
reform in the education system imposed by the
implementation of Bologna Agreement the result
seems not to be that expected, no university
being in the Shanghai top. The free access in the
European countries and all around the world
determined a large movement of the people for
study or work reasons with consequences at the
level of the local labour force.
If the access to the scientific domain was not
the subject of gender bias, neither the
remuneration in the former communist time,
there were problems of bias concerning the
access of women in the decision positions
because of the political reasons and moreover
because of the “unfair” presence in the scientific
space as academician of the wife of the ex
dictator Ceausescu. It was not a model to be
alike and the access of women scientists was
limited to avoid any concurrence, although there
were important results in many scientific domains
as chemistry, biology, medicine, pharmacy,
physics where there were many women to work
in the laboratories.
Women educated in the former system,
having the same responsibilities as their male
partners were better prepared for a concurrent
system, since they used to face the home
problems, as well. The lack of political
experience in a plural parties system and some
specific feature regarding the position of women
in the former system made women to be
reserved to be involved in the politics.
As considering the figures in the table 1. the
number of women in the Parliament is the
smallest and unfortunately their voices are quite
faint as they have been elected on Party lists and
the reason was political in the majority of
Romania Parliament composition nowadays:
Deputy Chamber: 35 women out of 326 total,
representing 10.74 %
Higher Chamber : 14 women out of 136
members, representing 10.29 %
Education, a sector with one of the lowest
income level in the Romanian economy is also a
sector where female work force prevails.
Between 1990-1997 the female teaching
personnel was 99% in preschool education, 74%
in primary and lower secondary education, 60%
in upper secondary education.
Table 1. Gender Parliament structure by 2004
In spite of some real progress made during
the last years, at the level of education gender
discrimination is the result of the conservative
curricula, textbooks and teaching methods.
Romanian education system still ignores the
education for private life, and discourages
women graduates both intellectually and socially
by lack of models of feminine successful
enterprises including their participation in history.
Curricula also ignore women’s specific life
experiences (pregnancy, birth giving, child
rearing etc.) treating them as trivial or
unimportant issues [1].
Our talk is about a country in which there is
no woman in the present government, despite
the Law of Equal Chances between women and
men L202/2002 [2]. The ex ministry of justice
Monica Macovei was removed because of her
insistent position to fight against corruption in
Romania. It was mainly because of her efforts
that Romania was accepted in EU. The ex vice
president of the Liberal Party was removed, as
well, accused to have been a collaborator of the
“ex security system” but also because she had a
higher coefficient of sympathy among the people.
Some of the female members in the Parliament
had been promoted by the Parties in which their
husbands are prominent business people.
Generally they have not an independent position
but form the vote machinery.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Romania is still a traditional mentality country
in which women do not appreciate much the
solidarity, and after the bad example of the ex
single woman in politics Romanian women are
not much attracted by politics. Fokion Fotiadis
one of the Chief of the European Community
delegation in Bucharest recalling the efforts
made by the Delegation in 1999 in order to
prepare the accession to EU of Romania said
that 90% from the staff was constituted from
women: “I think women in Romania constitutes
the essential segment of the nation due to their
innovating spirit, but also because of their
stubbornness very often higher than that of
men”. Very often the activity of women is better
appreciated outside than at home.
3. Education in Romania
Speaking about women professionals it could
be necessary to stress that many women are
involved in the education activity, probably
because this is a vocation profession, as first of
all women, as mothers, are educators of their
children from infancy, on the other hand it seems
that this activity offer more free time for the
house management.
Nowadays the profession of teaching is not
very simple, as complementary to the profession
the teachers have to improve their level all the
time: using new methods of teaching, attending
courses to improve the professional level, extra
curricula activities to discover student’s gifts, updating the methods of teaching to avoid
didacticism and practice interactive methods. In
this way women teacher educators develop all
the time a scientific activity to improve their own
professional level and the methodology of
teaching, which represent an innovating activity.
To prove the reality of this hypothesis is the
good results the Romanian scholars received in
the international Olympiad contests. This year
2008 (at the moment this paper is written)
Romania won 53 medals at the International
Olympiad contests 13 gold medals, 25 silver and
15 bronze, while in 2007 the total number of
medals was 88. The large majority of the winners
in these competitions are invited to continue their
studies abroad mainly in USA, where the
Romanian Math school is well renown.
Many schools and teachers are involved in
different international projects. This opportunity is
an important stimulus both for students and for
teaches to develop new activities, to have
contacts, to be involved in managerial activities
as well, to extend the curricula and approach
practical problems: environment, animals, history
and monuments protection, according the local
situation. The participation in international
projects offer the opportunity of intercultural
exchanges, practice international languages,
better know the traditions, the history and
geography of other countries by bi-lateral
contacts, not in the last contributing to build the
edifice of a future unified Europe.
A successful project engaging scholars,
school teachers, university professors and
scientists is «Hands on science». The project
developed in the last years represented the
opportunity of both scholars and teachers from
pre university system to make a large step
forward as regard to enlarge the possibilities to
adopt unconventional methods to teach, use the
experiment to better understand the nature
phenomena, to learn to stimulate the initiatives,
to promote good practices but all the time to
extend and try new ideas.
Table 2. Proportion of women researcher by 2003 (She
Figures 2006 pg.25)
The extra curricula activities is the opportunity
to approach interdisciplinary, new activities
taking into account the very specific conditions in
the different regions of the country: problems
connected to the environment: Danube Delta,
Black sea, the mountains and the forest and
fauna protection, the specific geographical
values (the mud volcanoes, the oil resources etc.
The possibilities to study such phenomena in the
nature to use the very different knowledge:
physics chemistry, geology, clime, atmosphere
but working together in small teams is the
opportunity to stimulate the methods of work,
collaboration, the moral values avoiding the
didactic methods in the classroom.
On the other hand the common work teacherstudents in non formal frame, allow them to be
closer, to better understand each other; it is a
continuous source of innovation, stimulus and
good results. It depends on the teachers qualities
to offer, to pretend and contribute to create new
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
3. Women in Science
The total percentage of women in science in
Europe is presently 18-35%, which justify the
efforts the figure to be stepped up.
The number of women involved in science in
Romania is among the largest in the statistics in
Europe [3]
Table 3. Proportion of female researches by sector of
activity 2003 [3]
Czech. Rep
Table 3. Women as percentage in 1- researchers; 2 employment; 3 – professionals
The conclusions of the statistics according [4]
Figure 7. pp.26 shows that 8 countries have a
higher percentage of women in science than the
average figures for ENWISE [5] (Enlarge Women
in Science in East) 10 and EU-15 in 2006, as
shown in Table 3. As regards the number of
women grade A professors (%) in 2004 Romania
was on the first place Figure 8. pg.28 [4] and
only other 4 countries Turkey, Latvia, Portugal
and Finland could report a proportion of women
full professors above 20%. The target proposed
by EU [6] 25% by 2010 seems not to be realistic,
despite the efforts made by some countries to
implement different programmes to stimulate the
promotion of women in science. There are some
universities in Austria receiving special funds to
employ women in high positions.
In Romania the promotion at the top
professional levels was for long time restricted by
the policy imposed by ex communist system.
After 1990 the liberalization even in the university
system, the organization of many private
universities produced a large number of
professionals on the highest top levels, the
classic hierarchy pyramid was reversed us side
down. It is hardly to believe such a rash
promotion was based on rigor reasons.
Nowadays there are 8 female rectors, but only 2
in public universities, the others in private ones.
What is true is the number of women in
decision positions is not proportional with the
number of women in research.
Now when the EU is in favour of women
promotion in the decision positions and there are
many special programs to recompense the
universities promoting women in such positions
the question to arise: are the figures reported by
different countries absolutely true?
I’d like to mention that on 27 February 2007
was officially launched the European Research
Council (ERC) a new EU funding body for
frontier research. It was during the German
Presidency of the Council of EU and Ms Angela
Merkel the German Chancellor highlighted the
importance of ERC as a milestone. She
mentioned three aspects that will be the key to
the ERC’s success allowing Europe to grow:
excellence, international involvement and
research freedom. As former researcher (she
was scientist in chemistry) the German
Chancellor referred to her previous experience
and acknowledged that there are many factors
coming into play during drafting of a research
proposal, but she appealed for excellence to
remain the sole criterion for funding. She
Commissioner Mr. Potečnik to take up the role of
“protective patron” of excellence even after
German Presidency of EU Council is ending.
Isn’t the election of a woman scientist as
Chancellor of Germany a proof of “parti pris” for
the excellence? Isn’t her diplomatic activity as
politician a proof of the managerial qualities of a
researcher? Is it a chance that all these
qualities belong to a female scientist?
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
4. Recent news
As many other countries Romania registers a
lower number of students interested in science,
as there are many new professions much
attractive for them. The interest to develop
activities to attract young people for science, to
stop the brain drain and encourage the
graduates to return back is a task for school,
universities and the scientists, as well.
The presence of women in decision positions
seems to be encouraged, either because some
male researchers decided to migrate toward the
business sector or in science management, but
also because they are very good female
There are many directors of research
institutes who consider easier to work with
women and who promoted them in decision
At the Institute for Micro Technologies the
vice director is a woman and many of the staff
members as well, much possible because the
general director as EU expert was eager to adopt
the most recent recommendations regarding
gender balance in science. The often presence
of the general director to Brussels was an
opportunity to apply for every new program and
take profit of every new offer.
Among the many projects in which this
institute is involved was the project “ Shadowing
days” 4 girls from the High School for Informatics
“Tudor Vianu” from Bucharest have been invited
to spend a whole day in the laboratories of the
institute, to follow the steps of the nano to micro
technologies, to assist in the laboratories the
investigations using AFM (atomic force
microscope) or laser assisted mask design, to
discuss with the scientists women, to know about
their profession and responsibilities, to be better
informed about the magic of a profession, where
the gifts of women for minute activities could
offer important satisfactions. They asked
different questions and were interested to know
the steps of a very new micro technology. The
director of the technology – a woman engineer
and university professor as well explained and at
the end of the day both the mentor and the
mentored had to express the impressions.
It is not sure all the girls will choose a
scientific career, but it was an interesting
experience and a possible open door toward a
new profession: combining the gift of journalist
with the right scientific information to have a
profession in communication. The project was
launched by Viviane Reding, Commissioner for
Information Society and Media, at the European
Commission Shadowing.
Figure 1 Shadowing days at the Institute for Micro
Technologies 1. presentation, 2. scientist in the lab 3,
protection clothes for clean room, 4 mask production
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
A CD ROM [7] containing the interviews with
the women scientists talking about their
profession, the impressions of the girls, visits in
the institute and not in the last the visit of these
girls at Brussels the meeting at high level with
other participants in this project. - a very
interesting experience that deserves to be
The 2007 edition of the IT Girls action was
finalized in 2008, through the “European
Commission Shadowing Conference”, March
6,2008,Brussels” (source: http://ec.europa.eu),
where IMT participated with a delegation, the
attendees receiving participation diploma.
5. Conclusions
The paper is not a pleading for women in
science, it is not to impose them anyway, but to
try to pay more attention to their contribution in
science and technology as a possible enlarged,
complementary vision.
As scientist working on the side of my male
fellows I’m positive, that what it is necessary is to
promote an enhanced and deeper expertise.
This is possible by cooperation, by respect and
fair appreciation for the other’s expertise- this
means expertise not only in science but in
morality, as well.
6. References
[1] Art 10, Women’s Status in Romania, A
Shadow Report to the CEDAW 23rd Session
(2000) posted August 2, 2007.
[2] Law 202/2002, republished in 2007,
regarding the chance equality between
women and men
[3] She Figures 2006 Women and Science
Statistics and Indicators
[4] Benchmarking policy measures for gender
equality in science EUR 23314 /2008 DG for
Research Capacities/Science in Society pg
Research Science and Society – Women
and Science “Waste of Talents: turning
private struggles into a public issue, Women
and Science in the Enwise countries “
[6] European Commission (2005) Women and
Science, Excellence and Innovation- gender
Equality in Science, Working document.
[7] IT Girls – Great careers for great women in
Electronic Resources in Patient
Education: Issues and Solutions
I. Berezovska1, K.L. Buchinger2
and U. Chernyaha3
Department of Computer Sciences,
Ternopil State Technical University
Central/Eastern New York Lead Poisoning
Prevention Resource Center
SUNY Upstate Medical University,
Department of Pediatrics
Lviv Regional Cardiology Center
35 Kulparkivska St., Lviv 79000, Ukraine; and
Union of Young Physicians in Lviv
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. Management of electronic resources
has become a critical function for successful
patient education. The aim of our project is to
promote relevant life style changes in the city of
Lviv and the nearby region by direct provision of
health care consumer educational services that
focus on education of patient and caregiving
families in the proper ways of modifying life style
to improve cardiovascular health conditions. By
accessing the most current sources of health
information through access to the Internet;
development and dissemination of current
information for health care providers and
educational materials for the general public on
cardiovascular disease and lifestyle modification,
improvements in both primary and secondary
prevention of cardiovascular disease could be
Keywords. Public Health, Health Care, Literacy,
Electronic Health Information, Internet, Patient
Education, Computer Network, Consumer Health
1. Introduction
Health literacy is a public health goal for the
21st century. More than ever, the public health
employs information technology to promote
health and aid in health care – or what can be
called eHealth. Health information is obtained
from different contexts including electronic
resources such as the World Wide Web and
other technologies that now play an increasing
role in consumer health. To benefit from
electronic health resources, people should be
able to use them to their optimal level that
requires eHealth literacy which combines “basic
reading and writing skills, working knowledge of
computers, a basic understanding of science,
and an appreciation of the social context that
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
mediates how online health information is
produced, transmitted, and received…” [1].
Until 2004, no formal programs in Ukraine
existed to provide healthcare education to
sick/disabled people and their caregivers to
assist in coping with cardiovascular disease and
needed lifestyle changes related to this health
consequences of the lack of such a program, the
project “Educating Health Care Consumers to
Prevent Heart Disease” was conjointly developed
and implemented to introduce formal patient and
materials regarding cardiovascular disease, and
take advantage of group learning opportunities
and patient-to-patient peer support. The project
focuses on integrating information literacy into
patient education, accessing the most current
sources of health information through access to
the Internet and explaining how to interpret
numerical consumer health information. This
healthcare project was made possible by a grant
from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural
Affairs of the United States Department of State
(ECA) through a program administered by
International Research & Exchanges Board
2. Access barriers
Health care in recent years puts greater
emphasis on the active and informed consumer
that has led to understanding that both access to
and adequate comprehension of health
information is still a problem. A report from the
US Institute of Medicine entitled “Health Literacy:
A Prescription to End Confusion” considered the
relationship between health and literacy and
showed that those with limited literacy skills have
less knowledge of disease management and
health promoting behaviours, report poorer
health status, and are less likely to use
preventive services than those with average or
above average literacy skills [2].
2.1. eHealth Literacy Model
According to C. Norman and H. Skinner [3]
eHealth literacy is comprised of six core skills, or
The authors use the metaphor of a lily to
describe that the petals (literacies) feed the pistil
(eHealth literacy), and the pistil overlaps the
petals, tying them together. Within the lily model,
the six literacies are organized into two central
types: analytic (traditional, media, information)
and context-specific (computer, scientific, health)
The eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS) has been
developed to provide a general estimate of
consumer eHealth literacy skills for a wide range
of populations and contexts. The eHEALS is a
self-report tool that can be used by a health
professional. It is “an 8-item measure of eHealth
literacy developed to measure consumers’
combined knowledge, comfort, and perceived
skills at finding, evaluating, and applying
electronic health information to health problems”
2.2. Professional and consumer language
Apparently, consumers and healthcare
professional speak and think about healthrelated concepts differently. This vocabulary gap
is becoming a more important problem as
resources for their own. Thus, professional
language is a barrier to eHealth literacy.
Consumers are prefer using a combination of
“everyday language”, technical terms (no matter
if they understand or don’t understand those
terms) and various explanatory models, all
influenced by many contributing factors.
What could be a bridge or crosswalk between
consumer expressions and professional terms to
aid information communication and retrieval? To
address this problem, a concept of a consumer
health vocabulary (CHV) was introduced, and
“CHV is refers to a collection of expressions,
concepts, attitudes, and beliefs observed to be
used by most members of a consumer discourse
group to communicate about health-related
issues…” [4]. Although developing an openaccess draft “first-generation” CHV has been
reported [4], we had to solve our specific local
problem related to the Ukrainian speaking
audience and to develop a Ukrainian CHV to be
used by consumers in a variety of situations:
traditional literacy,
health literacy,
information literacy,
scientific literacy,
media literacy, and
computer literacy.
Face-to face communication between
patients and physicians,
diagnoses, lab results, personal risk
factors, prescribed drugs,
Submission personal health data in-person
and through electronic media,
Formulation of information retrieval queries
to biomedical databases and other
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
information systems that is also a problem
to professionals [5, 6].
There are several types of professional terms
that are difficult for lay comprehension:
Difficult general language words which
have the same meanings in the
professional language (for example,
Medical terms requiring the subject
knowledge to understand (for example,
diastolic or angina),
General language words which have
different meanings in the professional
language (for example, negative (not good)
means “absence of a disease condition”).
2.3. Why studies are contradictory
Consumers look for simple certain data to
help them being healthy. The problem is that
single studies rarely provide such certainty.
Instead, contradictory studies appear in the
media almost weekly. The general public is
becoming increasingly sceptical about advice on
health and ask why researchers can’t get it right
the first time.
The IFIC Review explains the nature of the
scientific process which is “a road of discovery”,
but “not necessarily a straight line”. It is
conjectures, assertions, and contradictions... In
addition, although such cycles often frustrate
non-scientists and can contribute to increasing
public scepticism about advice on food and
health, it is important to understand that science
is evolutionary, not revolutionary… Because
scientific research explores the unknown,
uncertainty is an unavoidable part of current
investigations. Only through repeated research
and analyses do certainties emerge” [7].
Everybody will agree that consumers read
health-related literature to get answers. However
the results section of a study provides “data”
instead, and these data should be properly
interpreted to become answers.
2.4. Understanding
consumer health materials
Much consumer health information regarding
disease or treatment risks and benefits is
essentially quantitative in nature that makes it
difficult to understand to consumers because the
interpretation of this type of information requires
significant quantitative skill.
Consumers choosing between health care
alternatives need to understand the likelihood of
both the negative outcomes (risks) and the
positive outcomes (benefits) associated with the
available options to make informed choices
between them. For example: a women making
decisions about hormone replacement therapy to
treat menopausal symptoms must understand
and weigh the reduced risk of osteoporosis,
cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and
Alzheimer's disease against the increased risk of
cerebrovascular disease, and thromboembolic
disease [8]. Even fractions and proportions used
to present risks and benefits are challenging for
the average person. Furthermore, even highly
educated people have difficulty performing the
quantitative operations that are commonly
required in the interpretation of likelihood (for
example, converting from percentages to
proportions and vice versa). This shows that “the
understanding of information regarding risks and
benefits proves challenging for many, if not all,
people” [8].
However there is an evidence that “the format
in which likelihood is presented—verbal,
numeric, or visual—influences understanding”
[8]. Below is a brief summary of recommended
Verbal format. Verbal labels are used only
to describe probabilities that are unknown
or vague. The meaning of a verbal label
changes with the outcome being
described, particularly if the outcomes
range from very low-probability events to
higher-probability events. As a result,
verbal labels should not be used to
describe multiple likelihoods in a single
communication. For example, for lowprobability risks a 1% chance is labelled
high, but when verbal labels are used in a
more general context (for example, to
describe the likelihood of a false positive
test result), a 10% chance is considered a
small possibility. The interpretation of
these two labels in a single communication
presents difficulty for the information
consumer that, increases the level of
Numerical format. Numerical format of
probability are better when likelihood can
be precisely specified (for example, the
likelihood of medication side effects can be
precisely specified on the basis of clinical
representations, frequency format (for
example, 5 times out of 100) is most
preferred, followed by percent (e.g., 5%).
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Probability format (like 0.05) is not
recommended as being most difficult for
consumers to understand. When frequency
format is used to present multiple risks, the
size of the comparison group should be
held constant (for example, 1 in 100, 5 in
100, and 20 in 100, but not 1 in 100, 1 in
20, and 2 in 10).
Visual format. Pictographs showing
frequency representations of likelihood
tend to be the easiest format to
understand. The only disadvantage is that
they take up a large amount of space,
particularly in comparison to numerical
representations and, thus, may be
inappropriate when there are many
likelihoods to be communicated or when
presenting very low probability events.
3. Educating health care consumers
Ukraine to prevent heart disease
Cardiovascular disease is recognized to be
one of the most prevalent world health problems
and is of considerable concern in Ukraine.
According to the data from the Regional Medical
Information & Analytical Centre in the city of Lviv,
cardiovascular disease is known as the primary
cause of death for 62 % of those who died in
Ukraine during the year 2007. At present, 10.3
persons from every 1000 of the Ukrainian
population die from cardiovascular disease.
Overall, cardiovascular morbidity in Ukraine
increased by 9.36 % in comparison with the year
2003. Morbidity of cardiovascular origin not only
causes a deterioration of health status and
shortened life expectancy but also has increased
the rates of related disability, which has
negatively affected the quality of life for people in
3.1. Patient education project
Although patients in Ukraine get adequate
medical treatment they remain at high risk of
continued cardiovascular sequel because the
medical treatment provided is not adequately
reinforced by relevant modifications of patient life
style in such areas as diet, exercise, smoking
cessation, and reduction of alcohol consumption,
for example. Most cardiovascular patients have
poor knowledge of how to change their
behaviour using disease specific lifestyle
modification in the outpatient rehabilitation
period, and moreover, they seldom are educated
to understand that lifestyle modification is a
lifelong commitment toward maintaining or
improving their own health. The aim of our
project was to promote relevant life style
changes in the city of Lviv, Ukraine and the
nearby region by direct provision of health care
consumer educational services that focused on
educating patient and caregiving families in the
proper ways of modifying life style to improve
cardiovascular health conditions. By accessing
the most current sources of health information
through access to the Internet; development and
dissemination of current information for health
care providers and educational materials for the
general public on cardiovascular disease and
lifestyle modification, improvements in both
Additionally, health professionals, social workers
and caregivers were trained to provide outreach
educational programs about cardiovascular
disease prevention in the community at large.
3.2. Patient
educational materials
Classes for patients and other health
consumers on modification of life style, disease
management and social rehabilitation were
professionals on the design and provision of
educational programs about heart disease
prevention were conducted once a month.
professionals and interested community groups
in the general public about heart disease and
related issues were conducted once a month in
Lviv Regional Cardiology Center.
A series of consumer pamphlets titled
“Learning Ways to Protect Your Cardiovascular
Health” was published and distributed to a
selected target audience and mailed to regional
health and academic libraries, hospitals and
cardiology centres in Ukraine. Additionally,
patient handouts are available from the
http://www.ukrcardio.org website. Initially this
series was planned to include 5 pamphlets.
However, physicians from Lviv Railway Hospital
and specialists from the Ukrainian-American
Birth Defects Program provided so much
additional material on vital related topics that this
information was formatted as three more
pamphlets and included in the printed
educational series. As a result, the final printed
educational series now consists of 8 pamphlets
on the following topics:
Blood Pressure Notebook
Ischemic Disease
Eye Conditions in Hypertension Patients
Birth Heart Defects. Hypertension in
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Diabetes in Hypertension Patients.
Therapy: Diet and Exercises
Pamphlets and patient handouts were
discussed at patient meetings and at Ternopil
Medical Library in particular. The educational
program, based on a 5-step strategy was
developed and improved according to opinions
expressed by physicians from Lviv Regional
Cardiology Center and Lviv Railway Hospital:
1 - what is a disease and risk factors;
2 - what warning signs are;
3 - what diagnostics techniques are used;
4 - what drugs are administered and why;
5 - lifestyle to follow.
3.4. Patients’ attitude
A brief review of the project evaluation
questionnaires indicates that:
(1) all patients know a normal blood pressure
level, but only 20 % patients know a normal
cholesterol level;
(2) respondents highly rated the utility of the
educational pamphlets (4.9 score out of a 5
point scale), but they are slightly less positive
about the comprehensibility of the pamphlets
that were developed (4.1 score out of a 5
point scale);
(3) healthcare professionals indicated that a
formal patient education system makes their
work less time-consuming and more effective
provided that patient learning groups are
kept small in size, otherwise patients
indicated that they prefer speaking to a
doctor individually during a healthcare visit.
3.3. Project evaluation
4. Conclusions
Questionnaires and evaluation forms were
completed by health care professionals and
consumers so that the researchers could learn of
beliefs and attitudes towards the patient
education system and materials developed
during the project.
Our analysis of questionnaires and evaluation
forms (completed by 162 patients, 43 physicians
and nurses, 36 librarians and information
specialists, and 23 administrators) shows that
overall participant attitude has been positive
cardiovascular health.
All respondents considered attending patient
classes to have been a very useful adjunct to the
drug therapy.
All participating physicians reported that they
recommended the pamphlets and handouts to
their patients.
Several physicians and information specialists
(12 people) joined the project team to present
patient classes and develop the pamphlets.
A focus group of patients (20 people)
demonstrated an improved level of cholesterol,
weight and exercise activity and better
understanding of risk factors related to lifestyle
(diet and smoking).
Implementing improvements will be the aim of
our continued effort after initial project
completion to include the development of
additional more focused educational materials
and improvements to the delivery of the
educational program itself based on the
questionnaire recommendations noted above.
We think that the educational project could be
improved if in future:
(1) a cholesterol-related class would be added
to the program;
(2) pamphlets would be peer-reviewed for
readability and comprehension;
(3) training in understanding and interpreting
health-related numerical information would
be added to the program;
(4) patient groups should be limited to 5-7
persons instead of the typical 12-15
members attending each class during the
initial project. Attending the patient classes
has become very popular among the patients
in Lviv Regional Cardiology Center but it
remains important to keep each class size
small for improved communication.
Both Ukrainian health care professionals and
consumers have responded positively to the idea
of continuing these patient education services.
The increasing number of participants in this
project is further evidence that the initial conjoint
cardiovascular project we have described has
dealt with important topical and meaningful
health issues and concerns of both the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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populations in Ukraine.
5. References
[1] C.D. Norman and H.A. Skinner, eHealth
Literacy: Essential Skills for Consumer
Health in a Networked World, J. Med Internet
Res, 2006 Apr–Jun; 8(2): e9, Published
online 2006 June 16. doi: 10.2196/jmir.8.2.e9
[2] Institute of Medicine, authors, Health
Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion,
The National Academies Press, Washington,
DC, 2004.
[3] C.D. Norman and H.A. Skinner, eHEALS:
The eHealth Literacy Scale, J. Med Internet
Res, 2006 Oct–Dec; 8(4): e27, Published
online 2006 November 14. doi: 10.2196 /jmir.
8. 4. e27
[4] Q.T. Zeng and T. Tse, Exploring and
Developing Consumer Health Vocabularies,
Journal of the American Medical Informatics
Association, 13, 24-29, 2006.
[5] I. Berezovska, The Use of Proper
Terminology as a Prerequisite for Effective
Databases, Proceedings of the workshop on
Information Support in Health Care Services,
Biomedical Research and Education, LigaPress, Lviv, 123-125, 140-159, 2002.
[6] M.C. Sievert, T.B. Patrick and J.C. Reid,
Need a bloody nose be a nosebleed? or,
lexical variants cause surprising results, Bull
Med Libr Assoc, 89(1): 68–7, 2001.
[7] How to Understand and Interpret Food and
Health-Related Scientific Studies, Review
from the International Food Information
Council Foundation.
[8] J. Burkell, What are the chances?
Evaluating risk and benefit information in
consumer health materials, J. Med Libr
Assoc., 92(2): 200–208, 2004.
Itinerant Chemistry History Museum Discussions on “Biotechnology”
C. Miranda, D. Gossani, L.C. Passoni
and W. Ruggeri Waldman
LCQUI - CCT / Universidade Estadual do
Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro
walterw @uenf.br
Abstract. The approach on the subject
‘biotechnology’ by the Itinerant Chemistry History
Museum includes the explanation of the theme to
demystify the term and the science that is
involved with it, together with the development of
easily executable experiments using readily
available materials for demonstration of the
Keywords. Biotechnology, Beer, Museum.
1. Introduction
In recent evaluation by PISA (Programme for
International Student Assessment) carried out
with 15 year-old students all over the world, it
was shown that Brazil had the worst
performance in sciences among countries with
similar economic and geographical situation, like
Argentina, Uruguay and Chile [1]. For the
authors, some of the important facts for this
lower performance are the lack of interest in
science by the students and the high deficiency
of teachers with specific formation in sciences.
Regarding the lack of interest in sciences [2],
research done in 2007 by the Ministry of Science
and Technology (MCT) revealed that 58% of the
Brazilians interviewees have little or any interest
in science and technology and 73% gets little or
none information on science and technology. In
both cases, the main alleged reason was to do
not understand the subject (respectively 37%
and 32%). In the same research, only 4% of the
interviewees declared to have visited a museum
of science in the last year. The 96% of the
interviewees that did not visit any museum of
science in the last year, 35% alleged that there
are not any museums of science in their area
and 12% alleged that the museums are very far,
in other words, 47% alleged problems of location
of the museums for not visiting them. Once
science museums are supposed to be a place for
dialog between the society and the scientific
production [3], this absence of contact with
science museums may have strait connection
with the lack of interest in sciences observed for
a significant part of the Brazilian teenager
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Formal and Informal Science Education
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Low salaries and inadequate work conditions
has shrunk the number and skills of teachers in
sciences to inadequate numbers, been
necessary even to count on teachers without
specific formation for the discipline that they
teaches. For secondary schools, only 9% of
physics teachers and 13% of the chemistry
teachers have academy degree in the discipline
that they teach [4], to this point it is common that
history or portuguese teachers goes on science
teaching. This lack of specific formation may be
one of the components responsible for students’
low motivation by the inability to do experiments
that could connect theory with reality. Together
with this deficiency in the science teacher
formation, we must to consider the inadequate
structure of the schools for practical activities.
The “Itinerant Chemistry History Museum"
(ICHM) appears in this context to deliver
experiments that could promote historical
background to theoretical concepts and its link to
day by day life and technology. Allchin
demonstrated that historically backgrounded
experiments may be more efficient than the
usual experiments in teaching of sciences [5].
The historical approach adopted by the ICHM is
clearly stated in the declaration of I.I. Rabbi,
physics professor of the University of Columbia,
in "Project Physics" first page [6]:
“I propose that science be taught, at whatever
level, from the lowest to the highest, in the
humanistic way. It should be taught with a certain
historical understanding, with a certain
philosophical understanding, with a social
understanding and a human understanding, in
the sense of the biography, the nature of the
people who made this construction, the triumphs,
the trials, and the tribulations.”
The experiments are planned to be low cost
and easy to made, employing house hold goods
or ones easily available in stores. The
experiments will be followed by explanations of
the concepts in simple terms, in order to make
them useful also by chemistry teachers without
specific formation.
The experiment chosen to demonstrate
biotechnology was brewing. Beer was probably
discovered by the sumerians in the year 9.000
B.C. it is believed that stored grains, especially
barley, were observed to become sweet if in
contact with water. That happens due to the
action of enzymes that are present in the grains,
which are activated with watering and convert
the starch of the grain in malted sugar. These
enzymes are present in larger amount in the
barley. Those grains were used to make
thickened porridge like soups. When left aside
for some days, the porridge became effervescent
and somewhat alcoholic. The fermentation
occurred due to wild yeasts that converted the
malted sugar of the grain in alcohol and CO2.
That was a primitive form of beer [7].
Beer had a very important role for Egyptian
culture. In several documents it is mentioned the
great variety of beers that existed at that time.
Beer was the most mentioned food in an analysis
done on the Egyptian literature. According to the
legend, the beer existence might have saved
mankind from the destruction. Rá, the god of the
Sun, noticed that mankind was plotting against
him and ordered the goddess Harthor to punish
humans. Although, later, Rá was afraid that
nobody would remain to worship him, due to the
Harthor’s great cruelty. He then prepared a great
amount of beer and it dyed it red so that it was
similar to blood and spread it on the fields, the
spilt reflected Harthor image as in a great mirror.
Admired with her own image, the goddess
approached it and tried the beverage, got drunk
and felt to sleep, forgetting about her bloody
mission. From them on, Harthor became the
goddess for beer and fermentation.
1.1. Nutrition and potability of water
In the beginning most of the beer was
consumed with little time of fermentation. At that
time beer had low alcoholic content compared
with the current patterns, and great amounts of
suspended yeast, which made it rich in proteins
and vitamins. Proteins were mainly finding in
meat, a scarce commodity at the transition from
hunting to agriculture.
The use of hot water for the production of
beer made it much safer for drinking than fresh
water that was usually contaminated with
microorganisms from human waste. This took no
long to be noticed, if it was not possible to get
clear running water from sources somewhat
distant from villages, then beer was preferred for
consumption. Beer was then a nutritious safe to
consume liquid.
1.2. Medicinal beer
Besides being nutritious and a safe source of
water, beer was also a source of medicines, and
so was used by the Egyptians and
mesopotamians. In Egypt the beer was used as
moderate sedative, and was the base for the
production of several medicines done with herbs
and spices. The oldest registration about the use
of the alcohol in the medicine is a cuneiform
writing from Nippur, about 2100 B.C. that
contains a list of prescriptions that used beer as
main ingredient.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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2. Experimental
All of the experiments were designed with
seeds of integral wheat instead of barley, due to
it easy to find in stores at Campos of Goytacazes
city, where UENF is located.
2.1. Control of the malting condition
For this experiment, it was used integral
wheat, water, ordinary whitewash, absorbent
paper, coffee filter paper, funnel and pots with
First it was made about 100ml of saturated
solution of ordinary whitewash. The solution was
left to allow for decantation of undissolved
whitewash. The suspension was then filtered to
obtain a translucent solution. This filtration can
be made with two coffee filters assembled one
inside the other. The obtained filtrate, 80ml, was
called original solution (OS). Half of the OS, 40
ml, was put aside for the experiment, the other
half was diluted to 80ml again. this procedure
was repeated twice. If no volumetric flasks are
available, the volume measurement for the
dilutions may be done with small coffee cups,
each coffee cup holds about 40 to 50 ml. Five
pots were prepared by covering the bottom with
a filter paper bent three times. It was poured
40ml (one coffee cup) of water in pot 1; 40ml of
the OS in pot 2; 40ml of 50% diluted OS (called
OS 1/2) in the pot 3; 40ml of the 25% diluted OS
(called OS 1/4) in the pot 4 and 40ml of the
12,5% diluted OS (called OS 1/8) in pot 5. One
dozen of grains of integral wheat were then put
in each pot and allowed to germinate.
Table 2. Identification codes for germination pots
OS 1/2
OS 1/4
OS 1/8
2.2. Fermentation as a function of stirring
For this experiment, one will need sugar,
bakery yeast, water, kitassato, glass tube, basin,
universal support, latex hose, heating plate with
stirring and thermometer. A system for
measurement of CO2 was assembled as follows:
In a basin half full of water three graduate
cylinders completely full of water were carefully
introduced upside down letting no air to enter the
cylinders, the cylinders were clamped to the
support. Each fermentation system was linked to
one of these cylinders by latex hose so to bring
the CO2 formed in the fermentation to the
measuring cylinder. For the fermentation, three
kitassato flasks were prepared with 30g of sugar
and 20g of yeast in 200ml of water for each flask.
The flasks were topped and a hose was
connected to the lateral opening, the other end of
the hose was introduced in the measuring
cylinder. All solutions were kept in 30oC constant
temperature. The flask 1 was kept under
moderate agitation for thirty minutes. The flask 2
stood still during the experiment and was stirred
at the end of the time. The flask 3 was stirred
during one minute, every four minutes,
summoning six stirring cycles by the end of 30
minutes time.
2.3. Fermentation as a function of grain
For this experiment wheat, bakery yeast,
water, backer and heating plate were used.
Three different systems were prepared for
fermentation: (1) with grain of raw integral wheat,
(2) with grain of integral wheat cooked during
one hour and (3) with grain of malted integral
wheat, using the conditions determined in the
experiment described in 2.1. To each flask was
added a mixture of 30g of mashed grains, 200 ml
of water and 10g of bakery yeast.
3. Results and discussions
3.1 Control of the malting condition
For the malting of the grain it is necessary to
leave it in moisture to allow for germination and
then to the transformation of starch into sugar.
However, the moisture condition also allow for
fungi growth, which is harmful for the process. To
avoid fungi, the grains were left to germinate in
the presence of whitewash. This experiment was
conducted to identify what is the ideal
concentration of whitewash for the control of
fungi during the malting of the grains, with no
influence in germination, with low cost materials
and minimum of laboratory apparatus. The pot 1
(water) presented great proliferation of fungi with
low development of the seeds. For pot 2 (OS),
no fungi was observed, although, the
germination was also low. In pot 3 (OS 1/2) the
seeds had an excellent germination, and it didn't
happen proliferation of fungi (Figure ). It was
observed that in the pot 4 (OS 1/4) happened a
good germination, but large proliferation of fungi.
In pot 5 (OS 1/8) few grains germinated and
large amount of fungi was observed (Table ).
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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CO2 nor ethanol. From flask 2, 136ml of CO2
were collected, the lack of stirring allowed for
yeast anaerobic metabolism liberating ethanol
and CO2. For flask 3, 92ml of CO2 was observed,
an intermediate value, in good agreement with
intermediate stirring condition.
3.3. Fermentation as a function of grain
Figure 1. Germination results as a function of the
solution with 50% from saturated solution used for
Fungi proliferation
Not good
(Fungi presence)
Not good
(Fungi presence)
Not good
in excess)
It was observed that no fermentation
happened over two hours nor with the raw
integral grain, nor with the cooked integral grain,
however with the malted integral grain a constant
production of small bubbles of CO2 was
observed after 40 minutes stand, evidencing the
fermentation process. The fermentation did not
occur in flasks 1 and 2 because the seeds are
rich in starch that is not available for immediate
consumption by the yeast, which prefers sugars
as sucrose, glucose or maltose. On the other
hand, with the malted grain, the fermentation
began quickly, being noticeable by the bubbles.
The fermentation happened quickly because of
the malting process that converts starch into
simple sugars that are readily consumed by the
yeasts. For experiment with grain of raw integral
wheat, after around a week, a characteristic
odour of fermented beverage was noticed.
4. Conclusions
Table 2. Germination tests results
When irrigated with water only or with low
concentration of whitewash proliferation of fungi
is observed, therefore the malt obtained in these
conditions should not be used because of
contamination risk and the interferences on
flavour. With the saturated solution of whitewash
fungi were not observed, although the seeds did
not germinate, probably due to the high pH of the
solution. The best results were obtained for the
50% dilution of the original solution. In this
condition all seeds germinated and no fungus
was observed. This solution was chosen for the
malting of the grain.
3.2. Fermentation as a function of stirring
This experiment was done to check out for
the amount of CO2 produced in different agitation
conditions at 30oC constant temperature. Some
laboratory goods are required to accomplish with
this experiment, especially for keeping constant
It was observed that the solution 1 did not
liberate CO2, probably due to stirring that
oxygenated the solution allowing for the aerobics
breathing of the yeasts that produces neither
The germination experiment allows for
alternative procedures, the dilution of the
whitewash solutions could be done with smaller
gaps, allowing for better precision in the
determination of the best concentration for the
malting process and better visualization of the
results. It is an introductory exercise to the
interdisciplinary approach with the biology.
The fermentation with stirring experiment is of
easy execution, despite of the need for some
laboratory goods, and allows observing, in one
hour time, the effects of the introduction of
oxygen in the fermentation system.
The fermentation as a function of grain
processing experiment allows visualizing the
importance of the malting process in the
fermentation of grains, attributed to the alteration
of the chemical composition of the grain.
The proposed experiments permit flexible
execution conditions, in spite of some
experiments that need some laboratory
apparatus for its accomplishment. The execution
easiness of the suggested experiments incites
the students to reproduce them varying the
conditions, stimulating the interest for the
experimental practice.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
5. References
[1] http://www.estadao.com.br/ext/especiais/200
[2] I.C. Moreira and L. Massarani, Percepção
Pública da Ciência e Tecnologia no Brazil.
[3] P. Rodari and M. Merzagora, The role of
science centres and museums in the
dialogue between science and society,
Journal of Science Communication; 6(2):1-2,
[4] A.I. Ruiz, M.N. Ramos and M. Hingel,
Escassez de Professores no Ensino Médio:
Soluções Emergenciais e Estruturais,
[5] D. Allchin, History of Science-With Labs.
Science and Education 1999;8:619-632 apud
A. Stinner, B.A. McMillan, D. Metz, J.M.Jilek
and S. Klassen, The Renewal of Case
Studies in Science Education, Science &
Education, 12:617-663, 2003.
[6] The Project Physics Course. 1st edn. New
York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston; 1970 apud
G. Holton, What Historians of Science and
Science Educators Can Do for One Another.
Science and Education, 12:603-616, 2003.
[7] T. Standage, História do mundo em seis
copos, Jorge Zahar Ed, Rio de Janeiro,
The Wonderful World of Crystals
E. Niculescu
Liceul C. A. Rosetti, Bucuresti, Romania
[email protected]
Abstract. We, as educators, are considering that
a pupil is like a gem stone, which needs to be
daily polished. After years and years of careful
work, the diamond will finally shine and will be a
real wonder. In the project "The wonderful world
of crystals", we tried to involve many pupils, who
studied and created interesting things about
crystals. Our lessons have started at the
Mineralogy Museum in Bucharest, where there is
the most beautiful collection of crystals in
We were fascinated of what we have seen
there and we further discussed about the
importance of crystals, and then tried to improve
our knowledge by reading books and searching
on the net.
We then continued the lessons in the Science
Museum and further in the Natural Sciences
Museum in Bucharest.
After visiting the two Museums, the pupils
were divided in groups of four, according to their
preferences: each group has chosen a scientific,
philosophic, or artistic topic to study, all about the
fascinating world of crystals.
After studying the crystals from different
approaches, the groups prepared their
presentations. Finally, each group received the
appreciation from their colleagues and from the
Some of them achieved even CD’s with
crystals, others shaped the crystals as good they
could, others even have written poems published then in the school journal or uploaded
on school site.
They have presented everything they have
learned about the crystals: shapes, properties,
photos, movies, etc. Some presented the
experiments with chemical properties of some
crystals and made movies with their work. Others
presented physical properties like solving
crystals, re-crystallizing, growing crystals, piezoelectric properties, liquid crystals, and so on.
Some presented the colour and shining
properties with scientific explanations. Others
studied about crystals -therapy and Feng Shui as
a medical application. Some studied the
historical background of crystals as geographical
Some of the pupils created models of
crystals, using items found in the houses or
simply growing themselves the crystals. All tried
to find examples, to describe the beauty of
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crystals, in poetry or prose as well as in paintings
or photography or even in architecture. And – as
the most important - some of the students tried to
create some works of art or poems about
crystals and life. As a coordinator teacher I highly
appreciated the results of their work.
Strategy for Innovation and Quality in
R.V. Medianu and C. Timus
National Institute for Laser, Plasma and
Radiation Physics
[email protected]
Abstract. Working for the implementation of
Lisbon strategy, the paper is dealing with the
strategy adopted in a research institute in order
to improve the quality of the research activity,
both as working conditions and the quality of the
scientists. Both aspects are important as the
scientific activity means innovation and to
improve the quality of the endowment is a need
to be able to assure the performance; on the
other side the ever interest to improve the quality
of the young scientists means to develop the
different opportunities: access to grants,
conferences, working stages, conditions to
continue the activities initiated during the PhD.
The paper presents some statistics regarding the
evolution of the institute in this respect.
Keywords. Implementation of Lisbon Strategy,
Innovation, Young Scientists, Performance.
1. Introduction
1.1. S&T Characteristics in Romania
In order European Union to become the most
competitive economy in the world the “Lisbon
Strategy”stresses the need for an accelerated
scheme for economic development based on
science, technology and innovation (S&T&I) and
implicitly unification. The objective according
Lisbon strategy is the investment in research to
reach 3% GDP.
Romania’s aim is to meet the requirements
related to the harmonisation with the Acquis
Communitaire and the full integration of Romania
into the European System.
The process of Romania access to EU was
initiated much earlier than 2007 and education
and science were among the first chapters to be
worked. Moreover the international contacts
made the work to be done faster.
The regulations introduced and the obligation
to respect them pushed the things forward and
the approach of funding by competition
represented an important opportunity for the
institute: the high expertise of the scientists
allowed to promote many projects and to
improve the working conditions and the scientific
Recently accepted as full member of the EU
Romania make efforts to valorise the tradition in
science and technology enhancing the new
market-oriented management skills.
The delay of Romania with respect to EU is
due to the long transition from a command based
economy to a market economy, from the
knowledge based economy.
In the last years the alignment to the EU
standards by adopting the research funding
based on project competition allowed an
impressive improvement in the status of the
research. The partnership in the international
projects in FP6 and FP7 is another opportunity of
real progress for Romania.
1.2. Results in INFLPR
The institute, we are talking about has a quite
long history, as it derives from the former
laboratory “Optical Methods in Nuclear Physics”
of the Institute for Atomic Physics founded in
1956, the topics being mainly high resolution
spectroscopy. In 1996 it was accredited a
national institute www.inflpr.ro the main goals
being to develop research in using lasers in
different applications, plasma treatments to
enhance the hardness of materials, accelerated
beams for medical applications a.s.o.
The management of the institute was
conceived as to develop both the human
resources and the quality of the scientific act by
access to modern endowment.
1.3. The human resources
As regards the human resources policy the
goal was to rejuvenate the scientist corpus, to
enhance its expertise and to establish a right
report between the scientists and auxiliary
Nowadays, the average age of the scientists
in the institute is 39 years.
The policy adopted by the institute was to
employ the best graduates from the Faculty of
Physics or engineers in IT, electronics and
chemistry to be involved in international projects.
They have the opportunity to continue their
formation as professionals by PhD stages, or
post doc stages in the prestigious laboratories
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
from different universities and research institutes,
to develop their personality by having their own
responsibilities in the project development. Since
1996 it became the National Institute for Lasers,
Plasma and Radiation Physics[1].
Personnel number
Figure 1. Personnel configuration in INFLPR by 2007
The senior scientists from the institute have
the opportunity to developed academic activities
as well, at the Faculty of Physics from Bucharest
University by giving special courses organized
for last year’s students, while the young
collaborators prepare practical works, based on
their experience acquired in the research
laboratories. In this way the students are helped
to be in contact with up-dated endowment,
measuring instruments and be in contact with
elder colleagues, who could share their
experience acquired abroad and during the
common works in the professional teams.
The system is flexible and much more
efficient. These young scientists are stimulated
to promote in the professional hierarchy by
organizing promotion competitions. The human
resource evolution is one of the most important
tasks of the institute, since nowadays Romania
could take profit from the opportunities offered by
EU to access the development funds. To be able
to obtain project finance it is necessary to have a
qualified labour force and this is possible in the
scientific institute, using the experience of the
senior scientists and contributes to the formation
of the new ones.
The promotion is made based on publications
in the ISI journals and in this respect the institute
has a very prodigious activity which was
recognized in the national competitions. The
research funding based on the system of
participation in the competitions represents the
opportunity to obtain money for investment and
also for human resource qualification.
The contacts between the students and the
senior scientists begin during the scholarship,
since the Faculty of Physics is in the Physics
Campus Magurele and students are interested in
the special courses held by scientists, while the
practical laboratory activities are coordinated by
the young scientists. The students could
conceive their thesis under the coordination of
the scientists from the institute. The best
students choose to have a job in the institute
after graduation, to take profit of the
opportunities offered nowadays in the field.
Many of them are already project
coordinators. The young scientists having
improved their professional level are encouraged
to return home; they apply for all the specific
opportunities offered by the National Authority for
Science and Technology as grants. These grants
allow purchasing up dated equipment and
accessories necessary to continue the scientific
activities, developed abroad and also have
decent salaries [2].
The system of funding the scientific activity
through competitions was very stimulating and
contributed to enlarge the possibilities to improve
the professional endowment as well as the
working conditions in the laboratories.
Laser metrology http://metrology.inflpr.ro/ was
developed in the “Laser Metrology and
Standardization Laboratory” having for long time
collaborations with the laboratories specialized in
the topics, participation in round robin
experiments, services and international expert
The mission of the laboratory is to offer
metrology services as measurements and
calibrations of coherent and non coherent
radiation, as well as metrology services using the
optical radiation as transducer.
The Metrology and Laser Standardization
Laboratory is accredited by the Accreditation
Association from Romania –RENAR and the
accreditation as calibration laboratory according
SR EN ISO/CEI 17025:2005 is in progress
Laser metrology is developed in a special
laboratory accredited for control of laser based
equipment used in medicine, entertainment and
The Centre for Science Education and
Training was organized since 2006 to assist the
activities to enhance the interest for science in
schools and civil society. The international
contacts are extended by attending international
conferences and symposia by encouraging
teachers to approach new forms of teaching,
using the modern facilities, to attend courses for
improving the professional level, to organize
different events to promote talents, to make
students to be involved in innovation, to promote
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
the participation in the international projects and
take profit of all the facilities, that EU offers to
spread the good practices in teaching
The activity will be focused mainly on frontier
research on the interaction of hyper intense laser
beams with the matter.
Figure 3. Experimental set-up for direct fs laser writing
Figure 2.The laboratory accredited for laser metrology
2008; about 60 scientists are involved in the 10
European projects in progress, while 25 are
partners in EURATOM Program, since 2001.
The three national projects co-coordinated by
INFLPR dedicated to the research infrastructure
development :
1. “Capacities for Facilities” Solid State multi
TW laser in femtoseconds pulses and high
processing equipment
2. “Capacities
Integrated centre for advanced laser
3. “Extreme Light Infrastructure” Preparatory
The interaction between hyper intense laser
pulses and matter is approached experimentally
[3] and theoretically, as well [4,5]. Very recent
topics as ”advanced femtosecond laser beams
nanostructuring “ is of high interest in co –
operation with other scientific groups from
Romania and abroad. Integrated Centre for
Advanced Laser Technologies Based on the
experience already acquired the very recent
project is the organization of an integrated centre
for advanced exploratory and frontier laser
photonic technologies. This centre of advanced
research in photonics is the single one in
Romania and in South-Eastern Europe.
The Centre will contain 3 laboratories :
1. Laboratory for frontier research on the
interaction of hyper intense laser beams with
the matter
2. Laboratory
technologies by photonic processing using
3. Laboratory for investigation in photonics
associations RSP (Romanian Society of
Physics), SPIE (Society for Photo-Optical
Engineering, EOS (European Optical Society,
British Carbon, etc. represents another
opportunity to stimulate morally the scientists, as
making them conscious about the importance of
the field of activity and the responsibility of their
own contributions to the top subjects.
There are collaborations with professionals
from different universities or research institute all
around the world, the young scientists have the
opportunity to develop working stages in other
laboratories, there are co-tutelle PhD activities
and in the jury to defense the PhD title foreign
professors are invited.
The participation in conferences and
seminars as well as organizing international
conferences represents other forms to enhance
the professional level of the scientists.
INFLPR is organizer of the international
conferences in the field: at every 3 years since
1982, the first editions “Trends in Quantum
Electronics“, then since 1994 «ROMOPTO»
reporting the most important results in optics and
applications of lasers. INDLAS is another
international conference organized each year to
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
report the industrial applications of optics and
INFLPR has quite a long experience in
organizing the international conferences in the
topics ROMOPTO since 1994 (and the previous
3 conferences “Trends in Quantum Electronics”
since 1982) and recently INDLAS. A sharp
priority in the institute is to valorise the most
prominent ideas and the scientific results able to
become useful tools or technological processes.
The two devices produced have been exposed at
“Hannover Messe 2008” and at the “European
Sallon of Research and Innovation” on June 5-7
Paris-Porte de Versailles:
─ DTL medical laser designed to be used in
rheumatology, dermatology, sport medicine
─ DTL ophthalmologic model
─ the deposition of thin and thick layers of
Tungsten by using “Combined Magnetron
sputtering and Ion Implantation” a process of
simultaneous magnetron sputtering and
energy ion bombardment. Hard nano
composite coatings of nc-Ti2N/nc-TiN, 10 nm
grain size,2,500-4,000 HV0.1hardness and
10-30 µm thickness had been deposited on
cutting tools enhancing the life time up to 12
2. Characteristics
As a result of the periodical ion bombardment
the following effects occur:
An increase of the surface mobility of the
deposited atoms which leads to a high
densification of the layer. Using a titanium
magnetron target, nc-Ti2N/nc-TiN nanocomposite layers with a hardness of 30 ÷ 50
GPa have been obtained.
A featureless, extremely dense, pore free
nano-structure is produced. The typical
columnar structure of TiN does not exist
anymore. TEM analyses have shown
crystallites with a size of less than 10 nm.
A stress relief at the interface and within the
layer. Due to this effect, layers with a
thickness of 10 – 30 µm have been
Figure 4. Industrial Unit for Tungsten thin films
deposition by “Combined Magnetron Sputtering and Ion
Implantation”( CMSII) technology
3. Applications
A. Synthesis, characterization and testing of ncTi2N/nc-TiN for tooling applications - Nanocomposite nc-Ti2N/nc-TiN coatings with a
thickness of 8 – 12 µm and a hardness of
2500 - 4000 HV0.1 have been deposited on
high speed steel and cemented carbide
milling cutters. As a result of this coating,
their service lifetime increased by approx.
300 % when steel components has been
processed. For particular turning cutters
working on bronze B11G21 and aluminium
alloys the service lifetime increased up to
1200 %.
B. 10 µm W coating of CFC (Carbon Fibre
Composite) tiles for thermonuclear fusion
This unit is supposed to be used to deposit
tungsten layers on 1 000 CFC tiles for Joint
European Torus (JET) wall in the frame of
the EURATOM Programme. JET is the
biggest Tokamak in the world. The
deposition chamber (Φ 800 x 750mm)is
equipped with 24 magnetrons and provides a
useful volume of Φ420x370mm. CMSII
technology was selected by competition
among other nine PVD and CVD techniques
as being the single able to produce tungsten
coatings withdrawing the thermal tests
without delamination
C. 10 µm W coating of particular components
for a low pressure plasma electron source.
In order to improve the discharge stability at
high temperature the plasma chamber walls
are coated with approx. 10 µm W by CMSII
D. 5 – 10 µm Cu coating of alumina wafers for
microwave components
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
4. Conclusions
The paper suggests the efforts of the managerial
body to align the policy of a research institute to
the nowadays realities, to integrate the scientific
activity into the national economy to accomplish
the international agreement in the field and finally
to contribute to build a knowledge based society
in Romania
5. References
[1] The White Book of Research, Development
and Innovation in Romania-2006, CTIIRECSON – ISBN 973769410-4, 19-23,
[2] Public Service Review: European Union,
issue 14, 168-169, 2007.
[3] R. Dabu, “Optical Parametric Oscillators and
Amplifiers”, in Encyclopedia of Optical
Engineering, Editor Ronald Driggers, U.S.
Army Research Laboratory, published by
Marcel Dekker, New York, 2004.
[4] A. Popa, "From Quantum to Classical Effects
in Interactions Between Electrons and Very
Intense Laser Beams", IEEE Journal of
Quantum Electronics, Vol. 43, December
[5] A. Popa, "Accurate calculation of high
harmonics generated by relativistic Thomson
scattering", Journal of Physics B: Atomic
Molecular and Optical Physics, 41,(2008),
[6] C. Ruset, E. Grigore, H. Maier, R. Neu, X. Li,
H.Dong,R. Mitteau and X. Courtois, «W
Coatings Deposited on CFC Tiles by
Combined Magnetron Sputtering and Ion
Implantation Technique, 11th International
Workshop on Plasma-Facing Materials and
Components for Fusion Applications (PFMC11), October 10-12, 2006, Greifswald,
Germany, Phys. Scr. 2007, T128,1174,
Hands-on Activity as a Source of
Motivational Effectiveness of
Learning Tasks in Science Education
J. Trna
Masaryk University, Faculty of Education
[email protected]
Abstract. Learning tasks are very important part
of science education. The teaching/learning
technology based on constructivism considers
students’ heuristic hands-on activities crucial for
effective learning process. A lot of learning task
in lessons are not motivated for students and
therefore have a low level of educational
effectiveness. Our research discovered and
proved the fact that hands-on activity is a strong
source of motivational and educational
effectiveness of learning tasks. We found out the
taxonomy of learning tasks based on hands-on
activities in science education. Concrete
examples of hands-on activities into learning
tasks are presented in the paper.
Keywords. Hands-on Activity, Learning Task,
Motivation, Science Education.
1. Introduction
The learning task is a specific requirement set
to students during learning/teaching. Learning
tasks have specific form from the elementary
tasks demanding only memory reproduction of
knowledge to the complicated tasks demanding
creative thinking. Learning tasks fulfil various
functions, primarily based in the teaching phase
(motivation, exposition, fixation, diagnostics and
One of the main science educational
objectives is creation and development of skills
necessary for problem solution. Not only memory
knowledge is needed to understand natural
phenomena and patterns but also its application
during meeting with problem situation which has
to be completed successfully by a student.
Teachers can evoke problem situations by
means of learning tasks, especially the problem
ones. The significance of the learning tasks
solution is emphasized by Talyzinova ([3], p. 76):
“…without problems, without tasks, neither skills
nor knowledge can be acquired”.
Analogously to other factors of education,
there is needed to assure effectiveness of
application of learning tasks during teaching.
Quality of learning tasks is therefore an important
research topic to which is paid attention [2]. Our
research into physics education in lower
secondary schools with use of video-study
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
brought conclusions that teachers solve the
learning tasks most frequently in interactions with
students, most of the learning tasks require
verbal solution and experimental learning tasks
are rare [7]:
Figure 1. Frequency of types of learning tasks (form of
setting and solution)
Low frequency of learning tasks based on
experiments leads to low students’ motivation [6].
The finding that some teachers did not even use
any experimental tasks is alarming. Therefore we
tried to use hands-on activity as a source of
motivational effectiveness of learning tasks in
physics (science) education.
2. Learning
Learning tasks sorting can be based on
various sorting criteria, primarily on: educational
objectives, difficultness of cognitive operations
needed for task solution, level of calculations use
during task solution, form of task setting and
solution and especially teaching phases.
Students make psycho-motor activity during
the learning task solution and that’s why the task
serves primarily for skills acquirement. Hands-on
activity in learning tasks is useful mainly during
fulfilment of educational objectives in the form
of skills. Elementary partial skills, so as reading
with understanding of the task text, graphs
drawing, modification of algebraic expressions,
etc., are being developed during learning task
solution. Partial skills form complex skill of
learning task solution as a problem. Hands-on
activity itself can serve as an educational
objective or tool for acquirement of other
educational objectives.
Tollingerova [4] classified learning tasks on
the basis of Bloom taxonomy into five basic
categories based on difficultness of cognitive
operations needed for learning task solution:
1. learning tasks demanding memory
students use memory operations,
2. learning tasks demanding simple mental
operations with knowledge so as
3. learning tasks demanding complicated
mental operations with knowledge so as
transformation, verification,
4. learning tasks demanding knowledge
interpretation when students interpret not
only the results of their own solution but
also its progress, conditions and phases,
5. learning tasks demanding creative
thinking based on the previous
operations, ability to combine these
operations into wider complexes and
come to new solutions.
Hands-on activities can occur in all these
groups of learning tasks but their importance
grows from the first to the last one.
Learning tasks are classified as qualitative
and quantitative according to the level of
calculations during task solution. Hands-on
activities belong mainly to the group of the
qualitative learning tasks demanding a minimum
of calculations. Appropriately connected with
measurements and ICT, they can also be a part
of the group of the quantitative learning tasks
when an output is a numerical value of the
wanted physics quantity.
According to the form of setting and
solution, learning tasks can be classified as
verbal, numerical, graphic, experimental, etc.
Hands-on activities are primarily the part of the
experimental learning tasks.
According to the teaching phase, learning
tasks can be classified as motivational,
application. Hands-on activities can occur in all
these groups of learning tasks but they play the
most important motivational role in the
motivational tasks.
As we mentioned above, hands-on activities
can be included in various types of learning tasks
and they can play various roles. We focus
especially on motivational effectiveness of
hands-on activities in learning tasks.
3. Motivation of hands-on activities
Hands-on activities are strongly motivational
activities [5]. Students are motivated mainly by
the fact that hands-on activities are incentives
exciting students’ cognitive needs. Hands-on
activities are therefore considered to be
motivational education techniques [6]. The basic
feature of motivational education technique is its
incentive and/or impulse effect on some of
students´ needs, which are excited in education.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Every suitably chosen hands-on activity has
motivational effect. This activity, mostly in the
form of experiments, has strong motivational
effect because the hands-on experiment
becomes an incentive activating several
cognitive needs at the same time. It concerns
particularly the following cognitive needs [6]:
problem solution
senses and muscular activity
modelling of natural phenomena
Hands-on activity could be a complex
incentive in activating all these cognitive needs.
This simultaneous activation of some cognitive
needs can result in strong motivation of students
in physics (science) education. An evidence of
experiments is also in their commercial use in
form of toys both for children and adults (yo-yo,
click-clack, some wooden toys etc.).
4. Motivational learning
hands-on activities
We glue a coin on the base of a polystyrene
cylinder. The coin has the same diameter as the
cylinder. Height of the polystyrene cylinder will
be adapted so that only the coin extends from
the surface of the water. We turn the cylinder
coin down and place it in the water again. How
deep will the cylinder with the coin dip?
(a) the height of an extending polystyrene is
the same as the height of the coin
(b) polystyrene will not extend from the
surface since the coin pulls it to the bottom
(c) the higher part of polystyrene than the
coin will extend from the surface
classification of learning tasks based on handson activities, there is a need to form these
learning tasks for their application during
teaching. Thus the students can be more
motivated in physics and science lessons. We
use our applied research to form these
motivational learning tasks and divide them into
groups. Concrete examples of these learning
task groups follow:
Correct learning task solution: (a). This is
about Archimedes’ principle application. Weight
of the cylinder does not change during turning
and therefore buoyant force and volume of the
sunken part of the cylinder will be the same.
4.1. Problem learning tasks
4.2 Play learning tasks
The problem based teaching is the significant
innovation of science education. Psychological
substances of problems determine the taxonomy
of learning tasks. Motivational effectiveness of
problem learning tasks based on hands-on
experiments results from increasing students’
cognitive needs and their consequent satisfying
by way of students’ active cognitive working.
Psychological base of increasing cognitive needs
is “perception and conceptual conflict” [1]. This
conflict becomes an incentive which causes
strong motivation and thus students become
active which heads towards conflict elimination
and satisfaction of the need. An induction of that
conflict has several variants [1], namely surprise,
paradox, doubt, uncertainty and difficulty.
An example of problem learning task based
on hands-on experiment follows:
We define a toy as an object which displays a
feature that is remarkably emphasized (elasticity,
colour, distinctive behaviour etc.). The toy in the
role of hands-on activity stimulates the needs to
have sense and muscle activities. The relaxation
function of the play is also remarkable. There are
many toys manufactured commercially but
students can create their own. We can form the
play learning task based on hands-on activity
and apply it in education.
An example of play learning task based on
hands-on experiment follows:
Problem cylinder
Figure 2. Problem cylinder
The objects with a lower centre of mass do
not capsize. It is recommended to use the
commercial toys, oval covers or polystyrene
eggs. Explain the base of the demonstrated
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Correct learning task solution: The
phenomenon to understand is the balance of the
objects. The centre of gravity of the object is so
low that it cannot be overturned.
during swimming, bathing and diving. Water in
ear canal pushes on ear-drum at this time. The
result is deflection of the ear-drum.
5. Conclusions
Figure 3. Balance
4.3 Modification learning tasks
Strong motivation and support of creativity
development is brought by learning tasks which
modifications. Students are familiarized with a
hands-on experiment and their learning task is to
create similar hands-on experiment or, on the
contrary, an experiment with additional physics
phenomenon. These learning tasks are
appropriate especially for gifted students.
Learning tasks based on hands-on activities
are an important part of physics and science
education. They are a source of significant
motivation because they excite and satisfy
primarily students’ cognitive needs. Learning
tasks sorting should be done according to
educational objectives, difficultness of cognitive
operations needed for task solution, level of
calculations use during task solution, form of task
setting and solution and especially teaching
phase. Because of the quick increase of physics
and science education efficiency, information
about learning tasks based on hands-on
activities should be inserted into both pre-service
and in-service teacher training.
6. Acknowledgements
The paper was created and supported within
the project projects “Special Needs of Pupils in
Context with Framework Educational Program
for Primary Education“(MSM0021622443).
7. References
Figure 4. Overpressure
As an example of modification learning tasks
based on hands-on experiment follows the
learning task aimed at demonstration of an
additional phenomenon:
Underpressure and overpressure:
underpressure chamber is often demonstrated.
An experiment with membrane flex in an
underpressure container is well-known. Make an
apparatus for demonstration of the inverse
phenomenon in an overpressure chamber. How
does this phenomenon appear on human body?
Correct learning task solution: Test tube
covered by rubber membrane arches by
overpressure in the plastic bottle. The rubber
membrane simulates behaviour of ear-drum
[1] D.E. Berlyne, Notes on Intrinsic Motivation
and Intrinsic Reward in Relation to
Instruction, In: H.F. Clarizio, R.C. Craig, W.A.
Educational Psychology, London, 1977.
[2] D. Leutner, H.E. Fischer, A. Kauertz, N.
Instruktionspychologische und fachdidaktische Aspekte
der Qualität von Lernaufgaben und
Thonhauser, J. (Hrsg.). Aufgaben als
Katalysator von Lernprozessen. Münster,
New York, München, Berlin: Waxmann, 169181, 2008.
[3] N.F. Talyzinova, Utvareni poznavacich
cinnosti zaku, Praha, SPN, 1988.
[4] D. Tolingerova, Uvod do teorie a praxe
programovane vyuky a vycviku, Odborna
vychova, 21: 77-78, 1970/1971.
[5] [J.
Experiments, In HSci2005, Hands-on
Science in a Changing Education, University
of Crete, Rethymno (Greece), 169-174,
[6] J. Trna, E. Trnova, Cognitive Motivation in
Science Teacher Training, In Science and
Technology Education for a Diverse Word,
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Lublin (Poland), M. Curie-Sklodovska
University press, 491-498, 2006.
[7] I. Vaculova, J. Trna, T Janik, Ucebni ulohy ve
vyuce fyziky na 2. stupni zakladni skoly:
vybrané vysledky CPV videostudie fyziky.
Pedagogicka orientace, 2008: 18(4): (in
Consequences of a Quadratic Law of
the Lever
A.K.T. Assis and F.M.M. Ravanelli
Institute of Physics ‘Gleb Wataghin’
University of Campinas – UNICAMP
13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. We present the discussion which
exists in the literature related to Archimedes’s
demonstration of the law of the lever. One
important aspect of the argument concentrates
on the meaning of his postulates. In order to
clarify this whole subject, we analyze what
consequences would arise if nature followed a
different law of the lever. We concentrate, in
particular, in the case of a torque proportional to
the square of the distances of the bodies to the
fulcrum. We consider not only a linear lever but
also a horizontal triangle which can rotate around
a horizontal axis parallel to one of its sides.
Keywords. Archimedes, Classical Mechanics,
Law of the Lever.
1. Introduction
Archimedes (287-212 BCE) demonstrated the
law of the lever in Propositions 6 and 7 of his
work On the Equilibrium of Planes. In an earlier
work, [1], we quoted all his words as taken from
Dijksterhuis’s book, [2]. In the present paper we
quote all of them from Heath’s translation, [3, p.
192]: “Propositions 6, 7. Two magnitudes,
incommensurable [Prop. 7], balance at distances
reciprocally proportional to the magnitudes.”
To demonstrate these results he utilized
seven postulates, [3, p. 189-190]: “I postulate the
following: 1. Equal weights at equal distances
are in equilibrium, and equal weights at unequal
distances are not in equilibrium but incline
towards the weight which is at the greater
distance. 2. If, when weights at certain distances
are in equilibrium, something be added to one of
the weights, they are not in equilibrium but
incline towards that weight to which the addition
was made. 3. Similarly, if anything be taken
away from one of the weights, they are not in
equilibrium but incline towards the weight from
which nothing was taken. 4. When equal and
similar plane figures coincide if applied to one
another, their centres of gravity similarly
coincide. 5. In figures which are unequal but
similar the centres of gravity will be similarly
situated. By points similarly situated in relation to
similar figures I mean points such that, if straight
lines be drawn from them to the equal angles,
they make equal angles with the corresponding
sides. 6. If magnitudes at certain distances be in
equilibrium, (other) magnitudes equal to them will
also be in equilibrium at the same distances. 7.
In any figure whose perimeter is concave in (one
and) the same direction the centre of gravity
must be within the figure.”
Although the concept of the centre of gravity
appears in postulate 4, it is not defined in any
extant work of Archimedes. Heath, Duhem,
Stein, Dijksterhuis, Assis and many others have
studied how Archimedes implicitly utilized this
concept to calculate the centre of gravity of many
figures. For references see [4] and [5]. From
these studies it seems that Archimedes
understood the centre of gravity to be a point
such that if the body were suspended from that
point, released from rest and free to rotate in all
directions around that point, the body would
remain at rest and would preserve its original
position no matter what the initial orientation of
the body relative to the ground.
Archimedes’s demonstration of the law of the
lever was criticized by Mach, [6]. He thought
Archimedes’s demonstration was a fallacy due to
the fact that, according to Mach, Archimedes had
utilized the law of the lever in his demonstration.
Dijksterhuis and others objected to Mach’s
criticism, [2, p. 289-304], [4, p. 177-185]. They
pointed out the relevance of Archimedes’s sixth
postulate. They understood Archimedes to
interpret “magnitudes equal to other magnitudes”
as “magnitudes of the same weight” and
“magnitudes at the same distances” as
“magnitudes the centres of gravity of which lie at
the same distances from the fulcrum.” This
interpretation conferred a reasonable meaning to
the sixth postulate and removed Mach’s
objection to Archimedes’s demonstration of the
law of the lever.
We agree with Dijksterhuis’s points of view.
To illustrate the crucial role played by postulate 6
in Archimedes’s demonstration of the law of the
lever, we consider what would be the
consequences if nature behaved in such a way
that the law of the lever were quadratic in the
distances of the bodies.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
2. A generalized law of the lever
Suppose a horizontal beam acts as a lever
that can rotate around another horizontal axis
orthogonal to the beam of the lever and passing
through its fulcrum. We consider N bodies on
one side of the fulcrum and M bodies on the
other side. A generic body i has weight Wi, with
its centre of gravity being suspended by the
beam of the lever at a distance di from the
fulcrum. We define a generic “alpha” torque τ
exerted by these bodies as
i = N +1
i =1
Wi (d i )
Wi (d i ) . The exponent α characterizes
the behaviour of the lever as a function of the
distance to the fulcrum. In real life α = 1 . In this
work we wish to compare this normal condition
with hypothetical situations for which α ≠ 1 . To
this end we postulate what we call a generalized
law of the lever. That is, we postulate the
following behaviour for the lever released at rest
horizontally, being free to rotate around the
fulcrum: If τ N = τ M , the lever remains in
equilibrium. If
τN >τM ,
the set of N bodies
inclines towards the ground. If
τ N < τ M , the set
of M bodies inclines towards the ground.
We now consider simple symmetrical
situations of equilibrium. First we have two equal
weights W suspended at points B and D from a
lever which can rotate around a fulcrum located
at C between B and D. If BC = CD, the lever will
remain in equilibrium for all values of α. This is
our configuration (I). The lever will also remain in
equilibrium for any value of α when the two
weights W are suspended together at C. This is
our configuration (II). That is, in this case we can
replace the two equal weights at B and D of
configuration (I) by a single body of twice the
weight at the midpoint C without disturbing the
equilibrium of the lever for any value of α. The
centre of gravity of the two equal weights WB and
WD can be considered their midpoint.
Archimedes proved this fact in Proposition 4 of
his work, [3, p. 191]: “If two equal weights have
not the same centre of gravity, the centre of
gravity of both taken together is at the middle
point of the line joining their centres of gravity.”
demonstrated the law of the lever considering a
very simple case. Consider three equal weights
suspended at points A, B, and D. The lever is
free to rotate around the middle point B. If AB =
BD, the lever will remain in equilibrium no matter
the value of α. This is our configuration (III). Let
us call C the midpoint of the segment BD. By
postulate 6 we will not disturb the equilibrium of
the lever by replacing bodies B and D by a single
body of twice the weight acting at C. This new
configuration (IV) is a special case of the law of
the lever because WA/WC = BC/AB = 1/2, or BC =
Let us now assume that α ≠ 1 and our
generalized law of the lever. In this case the
configuration (III) continues to be an equilibrium
configuration, no matter the value of α . But
configuration (IV) is no longer in equilibrium. If
α < 1 , the weights at C will incline toward the
ground. In contrast, if α > 1 , the weight A will
incline toward the ground. The new equilibrium
situation according to the generalized law of the
lever and the definition of the “alpha” torque is
the configuration with the equal weights WB and
WD acting together at another point E such that
WA/WE = (BE/AB)α, that is, BE = (1 / 2 )
1/ α
α = 2,
α = 0,
BE =
. If
2 / 2 AB ≈ 0.707 AB .
the solution diverges. If α = 1 / 2 , we
have BE = AB / 4 .
We can go from configuration (I) to
configuration (II) without disturbing the
equilibrium of the lever for all values of α . On
the other hand, we can go from configuration (III)
to configuration (IV) without disturbing the
equilibrium of the lever only if α = 1 . If α = 2 ,
we can maintain the equilibrium of the lever only
by combining the weights WB and WD at another
point E given by BE = 2 AB / 2 ≈ 0.707 AB .
This last situation shows that Archimedes’s
postulate 6, as interpreted by Dijksterhuis, would
not be valid if α = 2 . This conclusion lends
support to his interpretation of this postulate and
to the fact that this postulate was essential in
order to allow Archimedes to demonstrate the
law of the lever.
3. Equilibrium of a Triangle
Archimedes also demonstrated how to locate
the centre of gravity of a triangle, [3, p. 198 and
201]: “Proposition 13. In any triangle the centre
of gravity lies on the straight line joining any
angle to the middle point of the opposite side.”
“Proposition 14. If follows at once from the last
proposition that the centre of gravity of any
triangle is at the intersection of the lines drawn
from any two angles to the middle points of the
opposite sides respectively.”
We now consider a generic horizontal
triangle ABC with height H and base BC. This
triangle can rotate freely around the horizontal
axis DE which is fixed relative to the ground and
is parallel to BC. We want to find the distance R
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
between this axis and the side BC that will let the
triangle be in equilibrium for a given value of α ,
with 0 < R < H.
Our generalized law of the lever implies that
equilibrium will happen when the alpha torque
exerted by one side of the axis,
dW , is
equal to the alpha torque exerted by the other
side of the axis,
∫ r'
dW ' . Here r and r’ are the
distances between the rotation axis and the
strips of weight dW and dW’ on either side of the
After performing these integrals we obtain
that equilibrium will happen when [1]:
k α + 2 − (α + 2)k − (α − 1) = 0 .
The constant k is defined by k = (H – R)/R.
For α = 1 there are three solutions to this
equation, namely, k1 = 2 , k 2 = −1 and
k 3 = −1 . Only the first solution is physically
reasonable, implying R = H / 3 ≈ 0.333H . This
is the usual solution of an axis passing through
the centre of gravity of the triangle, which was
Archimedes’s solution. To demonstrate this
result he also utilized implicitly postulate 6.
For α = 0, there are two solutions to Eq. (1),
k1 = 1 + 2 ≈ 2.414
k 2 = 1 − 2 ≈ −0.414 . Only the first solution is
R ≈ H / 3.414 ≈ 0.293H . This axis parallel to
the side BC will not pass through the intersection
of the medians. It will be closer to the base BC
than the previous equilibrium axis for the case
α = 1.
For α = 2, there are four solutions to Eq. (1),
k1 ≈ −0.693 , k 2 ≈ −0.546 − 1.459i
k 3 ≈ −0.546 + 1.459i and k 4 ≈ 1.784
Only the fourth solution is compatible with the
condition 0 < R < H. We are then led to
R ≈ H / 2.784 ≈ 0.359 H . This axis parallel to
the side BC will not pass through the intersection
of the medians. It will be closer to the vertex A
than the equilibrium axis for the case α = 1.
This conclusion shows once more that
postulate 6 is essential to demonstrate not only
the usual law of the lever, but also to find the
usual centre of gravity of a triangle. If nature
behaved with a generalized power law with
α ≠ 1 , the results demonstrated by Archimedes
would not remain valid.
4. Acknowledgements
One of the authors (FMdMR) thanks
PIBIC/SAE/UNICAMP for an undergraduate
research fellowship during which this work was
5. References
[1] Assis AKT, Ravanelli FMd. Consequences
of a generalized law of the lever. Accepted
for publication in the American Journal of
Physics, 2008.
[2] Dijksterhuis EJ. Archimedes. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1987.
[3] Heath TL, Ed., The Works of Archimedes.
New York: Dover; 2002.
[4] Assis AKT. Archimedes, the Center of
Gravity, and the First Law of Mechanics.
Montreal: Apeiron, 2008. Available at:
[5] Assis AKT. Arquimedes, o Centro de
Gravidade e a Lei da Alavanca. Montreal:
Apeiron, 2008.
Available at: www.ifi.unicamp.br/~assis
[6] Mach E. The Science of Mechanics, Open
Court, La Salle, 1960.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Senses Built up the Students about
Themselves as Learners
A.R. Goulart1, J. Moraes2
and M.C.C. Magalhães1
Departamento de Lingüística Aplicada e
Estudos da Linguagem, Pontifícia Universidade
Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP), Brazil. Rua
Monte Alegre 948, Perdizes,
05014-001 - São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Escola Estadual Padre Antonio Velasco
Aragón, Diretoria Guarulhos Norte, Secretaria de
Educação do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. This work has as its general aim to
investigate the deep hopelessness that could be
learnt from the speech of three sixth grade
students of a public school of Guarulhos, an
industrial town in metropolitan area of São Paulo
(State of São Paulo, Brazil). The specific
objectives were to investigate the senses built up
by the students about themselves as learners
and about the reasons of their actions in the
classroom. This research is based on the SocialHistorical Cultural Activity Theory and it will
discuss the following theoretical aspects: sense
and meaning; learning and development,
emotions and feelings. The data were collected
during the months from October and November
of 2006 in a public school in the outskirts of
Guarulhos. The researcher and three students
took part of this research. The methodology
chosen for this dissertation had as objective to
raise students’ senses in order to understand
their situation of hopelessness. In order to
understand such matters, the following items
were used as research tools: classroom data
collection and video session (that were not
analysed) questionnaire and interview with the
focal students. In the data analysis it was used
as category: surveying of theme content of
researcher and students speech, the lexical
choices of the participants and the interpersonal
relations during the interview, focusing the verbal
and paraverbal aspects. The results reveal
students´ lack of hope to learn in school context,
as well as the lack of significance of school for
Keywords. Teaching-learning, Senses and
Meanings, Emotions, Affection.
Comparison between Orientation of
Kindergartens Students by Traditional
Distance Learning and e-Learning
S. Seixas
Universidade Aberta, Rua Escola Politécnica, 14,
1269-001 Lisboa (Portugal)
[email protected]
Abstract. This work compares two groups of
teachers of kindergarten orientated by distance
learning with two different methodologies, in an
annual university discipline called Seminar. The
aim of Seminar is teach to teachers of
kindergarten how to implement didactic projects
in biology field in their schools. The first group
was orientated by traditional distance learning,
telephone and e-mail, and the other group was
oriented using e-learning with a page in Moodle
platform. Some students prefer the new system
other prefer the personal contact. But in general
the students agree that an interactive page in a
learning platform is very helpfully.
Keywords: E-learning Platforms, Kindergarten,
Science Education.
1. Introduction
In a course for Kindergarten teachers that
complement, the last discipline is called Seminar.
This discipline develops along one year and
consists in practical work done in each college
by the students. The evaluations of the students
were made by the written report, according by
the manual [1], and by oral presentation of work
and oral discussion.
The aim of this discipline is to learn the
kindergartens teachers how to plain an activity
and how to teach science to young kids. The
students also evaluate the impact of these
actions in children and involved community.
The students (kindergarten teachers) live and
work in several parts of the country including
Atlantic Islands (Madeira and Azores). Because
of these facts the distance learning is the only
possibility to have these students in the some
The types of work development by the
students were mentioned in other paper [2]. The
discipline Seminar can be considered that had
four parts. The first part is where the students
must fill a sheet and is where they choose the
theme and made a scheme of how they intend to
implement it. The second part is the application
of what they propose to do. The third part is
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
writing of work done. The fourth part is the oral
presentation and discussion of it.
in first session was also inserting. Were open a
forum to doubts (Figure 2).
2. Methodology used
Distance learning was used. In school year of
2007/2008 the system used was essentially
traditional distance learning using the telephone,
e-mail and videoconference. Last year
(2006/2007) a page of Moodle was put at student
disposition but there were very few seeing and
none put questions. By inquiry in the end of the
year the students mentioned that they did not like
to use learning platforms, because almost of
them did not trust in it [2]. So, in this school year
(2007/2008) it was decided to use a different
approach for the Seminar. A page was opened in
Moodle platform with information, insert of
documentation and several forums to discussion.
This was also done to encourage the students to
share experiences between them and help each
Figure 1. Page open in Moodle platform with placard of
news and presentation forum
3. Development of work
3.1. First part – choose the theme
When the discipline started the professor
made an oral session. During this session the
objectives of the discipline were presented and
the methodology that will be used during the year
was explained. This year, 2007/2008 the
professor teach them how to use Moodle
platform and turn an obligation the inscription in
platform of university. In previous year,
2006/2007, they could make their inscription in
platform and in discipline or not. This year all the
students were insert by the professor in the page
of discipline.
Initially in discipline page were open a placard
of news and a forum to personal presentation
(Figure 1).
Every time the professor inserted something
in platform the students received in their
personal e-mail a message referring it.
In Placard of News some students asked
questions and solicited material to decide the
theme want to development.
In presentation forum the students were
encourage to mention their names, place where
they live and things they like to do in free time.
Some of them inserted a photo. The intention is
that they start to contact each other. This was a
success and all students made their
After all of them made their presentation
another window was open below with the photo
of manual and their index. The PowerPoint used
Figure 2. Page showed to students in first phase
They only participated after the professor
insert a post with title “There are any doubts”.
After this incentive they start to put questions
about the theme. But, almost them preferred to
telephone to the professor to discuss the theme
individually. The reason of this was because they
didn’t want that colleagues follow what they will
do and had a little ashamed that the colleagues
think that their doubts were not proper.
The themes chose, in this phase by students
Year 2006/2007
• Pine forest
• Country plants
• Vegetables gardens
• Domestic animals: cows
• Feline animals such as cats
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
• Domestic animal - dogs a
• Diversity of turtles
• Zino´s petrel (bird from Madeira island)
• Monk seal - preserve
• Animals in general
Year 2007/2008:
• Vegetable gardens - its importance
• The world of aunts
• Azorean biodiversity
• Wild mammals in Portugal
• Fish and relation with environment
• Abandoned dogs
• The Azorean buzzard
• Animals in general
intention was that they assist to colleague’s
The professor opened another item with title
“Advises to oral presentation of the work” and a
forum to discuss it. The participation in this forum
was above our expectations.
In this phase, they put some doubts in other
forums and revealed that almost of them were
very nervous when wrote the messages.
The presentation was made with a computer
program Microsoft PowerPoint, in university
installation by continental students and by
videoconference for island students.
Only 50% of students assisted to colleague’s
3.2. Second phase – development of project
4. Conclusions
In the second phase the students send to the
professor the scheme and what they intend to
do. They send to the professor, individually, the
proposal of their work to be approved. After all
the works were approved the professor inserted
in page the themes chosen and the name of
student responsible for it. It was open a forum to
discussion between students and between
students and the professor. The entire students
were incentive to participate in forums and to
share experiences between them. This did not
result as expected. The students revealed very
individualist and did not like to participate and
help the colleagues.
The methodology applied in year 2007/2008
conducted that these students discussed more
with professor the theme to choose and the
possibilities to their disposition than in year
During the reading of the works written by our
students it were noted that the students did not
follow exactly what was recommended such as
rules to text reference and references in end of
work. The reasons appointed by them were that
they forgot to apply the rules but all of them said
that understand them.
The inquiry done after the classification
revealed that student preferred individual
contact, but 50 % of them said that the page was
very useful. The reason appointed by them to
justify not discuss the work with colleagues and
share their own experiences were because they
had ashamed of it.
The development of the works done by the
kindergartens teachers with their children in year
2007/2008 had more visits to places outside
kindergarten. Another interested point is that this
year almost of them invited experts on area
(subject studied) to visit kindergartens, and in
last year only few done that. Of course this
allowed children learn more and be more
interested in project development by their
3.3. Third phase – write the work done
When they finished the work and began to
write, it was opened another item with roles to
write a work, like how to refer the authors in text,
rules to made references, etc. Three forums
were open at that time with the titles:
- “How to made references”
- “How to made index”
- “Other doubts”.
In this phase they only began to participate
after the professor have inserted some
messages to encourage their participation. The
written works were sent to the professor by post.
Some students asked if they can send it using
the platform. After the deadline to send written
works some students (20%) inserted their work
in platform in a way that colleagues can read it.
5. Acknowledgements
To all my students.
3.4. Fourth phase – oral presentation and
6. References
After the deadline to send written works, all
the received works had their titles published on
the page and the data of oral presentation. The
[1] Pereira, A., Miranda, B. Problemas e
Projectos Educacionais. Universidade Aberta,
[2] Seixas, S., Work Done in Kindergartens by
Our Students Orientated by Distance
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Learning. Proceedings of the 4th International
Development, Diversity and Inclusion in
Science Education. 178-181, 2007.
Appropriate Technology in Biological
Sciences for Developing Countries –
A Do It Yourself Program
C. Peres da Costa
Depto. de Fisiologia e Farmacologia,
C.C.B.,UFPE, Cidade Universitária,
Recife.PE 50670-901 Brazil
[email protected]
Abstract. Instrumentation plays an important
role in the development of Biological Sciences.
Educators and researchers in countries under
instrumentation due to inadequate training and
lack of funds to purchase, install, maintain and
repair their equipment. The objective of this
Program is to divulge alternative techniques,
models and instruments many of which are
simple, low cost and can be built using parts and
resources which are available locally. This
information on how to do, is supplied in form of
blueprints. This paper describes how the
program works.
Keywords. Appropriate Technology, Biological
Sciences, Equipment.
1. Introduction
One of the problems which countries under
development confront is lack of appropriate
technology to manufacture equipment used in
science laboratories. This forces institutions to
import ready-made equipment or to pay royalties
for purchase of know-how. In the field of
Biological Sciences, most of the equipment used
in these countries is imported from diverse
origins with precarious repair and maintenance
facilities. The funds that educational institutions
can spare to equip laboratories with equipment
are always scarce and limited, and when the
time comes to repair, the situation is worse due
to lack of adequate planning and stocking of
spare supplies. There is also a shortage of
trained people to carry on the repairs. Various
alternatives exist to fulfil the increased demand
of equipment:
(1) Importation of equipment according to
demand. This requires foreign exchange,
payment of custom duties, necessity of
ordering and stocking spares etc.
(2) Manufacture under payment of royalties.
This also implies evasion of foreign
exchange and the technology transfer is
never complete.
(3) Manufacture locally. Although attractive it is
not always feasible. First of all there must be
an adequate demand for the product. There
is a need of an investment to build the
manufacturing unit, of technical know-how,
and of a marketing infrastructure. Insufficient
demand leads to increase in the price of the
The establishment of a local industry to
satisfy the limited demand of equipment of a few
underdeveloped countries really poses the
question if it would be feasible to manufacture
certain types of equipment with a limited demand
in an industrial scale.
An option would be to each user to construct
some of the simple equipment he would need,
making use of locally available resources.
This alternative approach of matching
equipment to local constraints and resources
lead us to implement a “DO IT YOURSELF”
program for Biological Sciences. This project has
as its principle aim to help educators and
researchers, and teach them how to choose,
test, calibrate and carry basic maintenance
procedures on their equipment.
2. General objectives
(1) To encourage educators and researchers to
know better the equipment they use.
(2) To help to substitute some of the imported
equipment by constructing them using locally
available resources.
(3) To advise equipment users on the choice,
purchase and maintenance of their
(4) To divulge information on what has been
published on how to construct instruments.
(4) To further an exchange between teachers
and researchers with a view to solve
common problems.
3. Specific objectives
(1) To develop low cost Instruments/ prototypes,
and techniques.
(2) To prepare “blueprints” of developed
prototypes and distribute them among users.
(3) Test, evaluate and improve prototypes of
instruments which have already been
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
(4) To examine the viability of using “ alternative
4. Method of implementation and operation
(a) User access:
The way an educator or researcher has
access to the “DO IT YOUR SELF” blueprints is
through a regularly distributed folder listing all the
blueprints available. On consulting the list, he
ticks the items of interest and remits the cost of
photocopy plus postage. Before ordering the
blueprints, a coding system on the folder permits
him to identify:
(1) If the blueprint describes a technique (T), a
construction project (C), or if it is an item of
general information (G).
(2) If the item demands for its execution a
working knowledge of workshop practice (M),
electronics (E) or both (A).
(3) If the construction project listed is difficult to
construct (D) or easy to construct (F)
(4) The approximate cost.
(5) If further bibliography is available.
(6) The number of pages comprising the article.
On receiving the blueprint, if it is a
construction project, it describes the principle of
operation, specifies the sensitivity, range and
other characteristics. A block diagram, a
schematic diagram, a parts list and description
for mounting the components are given next,
followed by testing, calibration and maintenance
techniques which are required for good
performance. The user is instructed to contact, if
he runs into difficulty, or needs furthers
bibliography on the subject.
(b) Blueprint preparation:
Blueprints are prepared in response to user
needs. A questionnaire is sent to intended users
and members of biological societies to evaluate
user needs. The following flowchart (Figure 1)
details the steps used in the elaboration of
(c) Blueprint characteristics:
Figure 1. Flowchart for developing new instruments or
In preparing the blueprints special attention is
given to:
(1) Simplicity in the language of expression and
terms used.
(2) Clarity in the detail of figures.
(3) Detailed specifications of the components to
be utilized.
(4) Highlighting of the critical parts in the
construction process.
(5) Incorporation in the instrument if a system to
test (auto-diagnose) whenever possible.
(6) Listing bibliographic references which are
available for consultation.
Here is a list of some of the blueprints
presently available. Up to now we have 36 items
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
CBPMF00012 - How to construct
peristaltic pumps.
CCEEE00003 -How to construct a cautery.
CCDMF00S09 – How to construct Stoboscopes.
CDAAF00S06 - How to construct an apnea
CDGEF00003 - Drop detector with audio output.
CEEED00S08 - Electronic Stimulator for student
CFAFF00S14 - Designing electronic power
CGQEF00S04 – Modifying an electronic
calculator for drop counting.
CLCAF00004 – Lighting system for small
CMVMF0002 - Venous Valves- a teaching
CQWMF0006 – Low cost student kymograph.
GF000000011 - Making proper use of tools.
MCQF00S10 - Guidelines for constructing
5. Conclusions
The “Do it yourself” program is an interesting
and practical alternative to buying readymade
(generally imported) equipment and has many
attractive features: for underdeveloped.
1) It is educative:
2) It helps the user to learn how some of the
instruments he uses, function.
3) It is challenging:
4) It helps the user to locate faults and carry
basic repair on the equipment he uses.
5) It fosters creativity:
6) It helps the user to build some of the
equipment he uses for his work.
Sometimes the first result might not be
perfect, but with practice it can be pretty
7) It saves time:
8) The user does not have to wait and
depend for the arrival of purchased
imported equipment.
9) It helps to save money:
By constructing the instrument by himself (or
through locally available help) the user saves
foreign exchange which can be spent to import
equipment which cannot be easily built
The Brazil Chemistry Discovery.
Itinerant Museum of the History of
Chemistry - Approaching on “Food
A. Morais de Sousa
and W. Ruggeri Waldman
LCQUI - CCT / Universidade Estadual do
Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. The Itinerant Museum of the History of
Chemistry has the objective of complementing
the science teaching in the public schools of the
Rio de Janeiro State North region, introducing
science practices and science history to the
public school students. Teachers and students
can have a closer contact with chemistry,
through the adaptation of experiments for
practicing in class and of the visits that we do at
the schools for presentation of the developed
themes. This work is about conservation of foods
using spices as cinnamon and clove, and
describing their properties and history. Samples
of rice pudding were prepared with cloves and
cinnamon under different conditions, and then
compared using the emergence of visible
microorganisms at the surface of the samples as
a function of the time as a parameter. Both the
cloves and the cinnamon, when cooked with the
rice, showed activity in the control of the visible
microorganisms. This activity showed great
impact close to the students with the advantage
of stimulating them to repeat similar experiments
with other spices or seasonings.
Keywords: Cinnamon,
History of Science.
1. Introduction
The concern with a historical approach in the
experiments of sciences is already known for
some time. In the end of the 19th century, the
Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach
was a defender of this practice [1]. In the
beginning of the 20th century, also touched with
the problems faced by the teaching of sciences,
Pierre Durheim also took the theme to the
discussion, seeking to introduce the history of
the science in the teaching of sciences [2].
A recent research of international assessment
of the teaching of sciences quality, accomplished
by PISA (Programme for International Student
Assessment) with 15 year-old youths, showed
discouraging results for Brazil that was in the last
positions. In comparison with countries of similar
economic situation and within the same region,
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
like Argentina, Uruguay and Chile [3], Brazil still
keeps the worst places: a solid evidence that the
situation of the teaching in Brazil lacks
The result of this research, in the authors'
interpretation, presents direct relationship with
the lack of interest about sciences. The national
research promoted by MCT in 2007, involving
the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the Museum
of Life (FIOCRUZ), FAPESP and Labjor
(UNICAMP) demonstrates this lack of interest
[4]. The research found that, among all
interviewees, 58% have little or any interest in
science and technology and 73% have little or
any knowledge on science and technology. The
main reason answered by the interviewees in the
two cases was not to understand about sciences
(respectively 37% and 32%). In the same
research only 4% of the interviewees visited a
museum of science in the last year and of the
96% that didn't visit museums of science, 47%
declared problems of location of the museums
for not visiting, such as: 35% said there were no
museums of science in his/her area and 12%
said that the museums were very far.
Museums and science centres changed
historically from a place of scientific production
[5], to a place of representation of the science
and finally to a mediation environment between
the society and the scientific production [6].
Today a science centre or museum of sciences
has as function to offer a meeting atmosphere
between the scientific development and the
social instances and of exhibition of the scientific
accomplishments and their implications for
society. Some authors have been highlighting
the visit to spaces of science as valuable in the
teaching of sciences and in the perception of the
world, as it can be noticed in the following text:
“the Museums of science and
technology help the visitors for, after the
visit, look at the world in a different way,
see things that they had never seen and,
eventually, make things that they had
never done because they thought they
were not capable. This is the
environment of the Centres and
Museums of Science: the sensitization
for the scientific culture, the removal of
eventual "anti-scientific" blockades and
the incentive of the attitudes and of the
processes of the science, specifically the
curiosity and the critical spirit.” [7]
1.1. Itinerant Museum of
History of
to contribute for the reversion of this situation in
the Rio de Janeiro State North region,
concerning chemistry teaching. Complementary
to the situation presented above, regarding the
public perception of science, other two factors
guided the implementation of this project:
a) Poor chemistry teachers' qualification, mainly
among those without specific background,
resulting from the lack of chemistry teachers in
the high-school [6]. In addition to the insufficient
use of science history in the teaching of
sciences, a powerful instrument for this purpose
[8-9], this problem motivated the creation of
courses of educational improvement starting
from the historical approach of chemistry
concepts studied in the high school, currently
under implementation with the help of Regional
Coordination of Rio de Janeiro State North
Teaching I.
b) Museums of sciences with chemical approach
have some problems that avoid its wide use, as
development cost and maintenance of the
modules, safety and management of the
residues. [10] The Itinerant Museum of the
History of Chemistry works four themes, present
in the life of people that make possible the
approach of scientific concepts in the high
school. The themes approached by the museum
- Candle: Reproduction of the experiments of
the book "the chemical history of a candle" of
Michel Faraday, approaching the evolution from
the raw material of the fat to the paraffin and
production of didactic texts for understanding of
chemical concepts,
- Beer: Experiments based on the history of
the beer and production of didactic texts for
understanding of the chemical concepts,
- Soap: Experiments based on the history of
soap. Preparation of soap from ashes and soda
and development of attractive experiments
involving surfactants action. Production of
didactic text for understanding of the chemical
- Conservation of foods: Techniques of
conservation of foods. Development of easy-tomake experiments with spices, salt and smoking,
understanding of the chemical concepts.
The great concern of the museum is to
develop low cost experiments, with little or no
danger and of easy handling to make possible
the replication at home or at the schools, and to
help in the understanding of science history in
The Itinerant Museum of the History of
Chemistry was created as an extension activity
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
1.2. Conservation of foods
molecules in them contained, they were one of
the motors of the Discoveries Age.
At this paper we will describe the work based
on the theme Conservation of foods.
1.2.1 Historical context
Traditionally, the word "spice" didn't
designate, specifically, any seasoning used at
the kitchen, but just the exotic products, mainly,
from India. These products were marketed
intensely, therefore they were to disguise odours
of the foods in rotting, they gave a pleasant
flavour and they still symbolized status. Besides,
the spices were so valuable that a pound of dry
pepper (approximately 454 grams), for instance,
was enough to buy a servant's freedom [11].
Between the centuries XI and XIV, during the
feudal system, the farmers' exploration was
remarkable. Problems such as climatic
alterations and terrible crops resulted in low
agricultural productivity and high prices of the
products. The exhaustion of precious stones also
generated economical difficulties. This picture
had as consequence revolts, escapes and
farmers' protests [12].
In addition to these problems, the epidemic of
black plague killed about 1/3 of the European
population. The pains were very strong, and
death could happen within five days after the
manifestation of the first symptoms. Everything
that left the body of the patient, breath,
perspiration, blood of the lungs, had very bad
smell. Exotic medicines were prescribed by the
doctors as serpent minced meat, myrrh, saffron,
pearls or triturated emeralds, powder of gold and
mainly mixing done with rare spices. It was
already demonstrated at that time that some
patient estimated the therapeutic value of the
medicine for its cost [13].
The physicians used spices (Figure 1) as
prevention against the plague, because it was
believed that the propagation of the disease was
through "humours" emitted by the patients and
the bodies in decomposition. The "humours",
according to the faith of the time, would be the
transmitters of the disease, hence the use of
spices to filter them. [14]
The social, economic and health crisis were
the starting point to understand the transition
process from Feudalism to Capitalism. The
servants, that then were "free workers",
possessed neither machines nor other goods, so
they were soon forced to sell their workforce in
exchange of money. It was in that context that
the Europeans rushed to the marine discoveries.
The trade of the spices and consequently the
flavour, the smell and the properties of the
Figure 1. Representation of the physician prepared to
have contact with the sick people. The beak at the mask
was filled with spices
traditionally to stimulate appetite, to increase
digestion, to relieve the tension and to give more
energy. Spices are known for a long time to
possess preservative properties, as antimicrobial
and anti-oxidizers. Recent studies showed that
clove, cinnamon and oregano suppress the
growth of Escherichia coli, present in raw meats
1.2.2 Chemical composition
The spices are dry, aromatic or spicy parts of
the plants. They contain a volatile oil (also known
as essential oil) and they are used mainly as
seasonings, and do not like food. Although the
chemical constitution of the volatile oils is much
differentiated, they have characteristic odours in
common and, normally, they are immiscible in
water, but they are soluble in ether, alcohol and
in the most part of the organic solvents.
The essential oils of some seasonings have
inhibits the growing of microorganisms in meats,
sausages, breads and juices, but in order to
have this kind of effect, they would be necessary
very big amounts of spices in the food, what
would result in an unpleasant flavour.
1.3. Cinnamon
Cinnamon (Figure 2) is derived of the dried
inner bark of a tree that belongs to the laurel
family. The tree is native of Asia (Sri Lanka),
and, therefore, cinnamon was an article in the
trade of spice from East to the West. Cinnamon
was valuable for Egyptians for embalming and
for culinary purposes. Cinnamon was described
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
as magic, being used in love potions and also in
medicines, a drink prescribed for colds by a
Roman doctor - hot liqueur and cinnamon - it is
still in use today. Formerly the cinnamon was
more precious than gold. Cinnamon was a long
time an essential ingredient in the Moroccan and
Greek chicken and beef serves, and in Middle
East it is usually used with meats, especially
lamb. [16]
cholesterol tax and significant reduction of sugar
in the blood with the ingestion of around 3 grams
of extract of cinnamon daily. It is not known for
sure if the consumption of cinnamon is effective
in the combat to the arterial hypertension. There
are three studies in process monitoring the
subject of the effect in the blood pressure. [17] Cloves
Cloves (Figure 4) the dried buds of trees
originated in the Moluccas Islands in Indonesia,
during a long time called also as Spice Islands.
Centuries before the birthday of Jesus Christ,
cloves were used by the Chinese, Egyptians,
Greeks, and Romans. The name “clove” comes
from the Latin word clavus, which means “nail”
and describes its appearance. The Portuguese
were the first from the West to reach the Spice
Islands and create a monopoly on the clove
trade. [18]
Figure 2. Picture of cinnamon - Cinnamomum
zeylanicum [16]
Figure 3. Representations of the molecular structures of
Eugenol (below), and cinnamaldehyde (above)
Cinnamon is a spice since ancient times in
the History, and its use is told since the biblical
times as in Exodus 30:23, “Take also for yourself
the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred
shekels, and of fragrant cinnamon half as much,
two hundred and fifty, and of fragrant cane two
hundred and fifty” or in Proverbs 7:17, “I have
sprinkled my bed With myrrh, aloes and
They possess pleasant smell, sweetened
flavour and they are slightly spicy. They come
commercially in peels or powdered. The
cinnamon has an essential oil of the leaf, rich in
eugenol and the one of the peel, rich in
cinnamaledehyde (Figure 3).
Studies were accomplished with cinnamon for
the combat to the effects of the diabetes melitus
type 2. It was verified the improvement in the
Figure 4. Picture of cloves: Syzygium aromaticum [19]
The main fragrant substance present in its
volatile oil is the eugenol. Plants produce strong
aromas to protect from insects and herbivore
animals that suck its sap or eat their leaves, the
eugenol besides contributing with its pleasant
smell, still acts in the combat to the natural
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
produced endorfine and the larger the final
Besides, the chilli peppers had a lot of
therapeutic use and a lot of folkloric importance.
The Inca considered them as sacred plants and
they used them in offers to the gods, they also
used to repel sorceries. Before Columbus,
Indians mixed pepper with other ingredients for
sore throat, coughs, arthritis, acid indigestion,
ear pains, to improve the vision and to facilitate
the childbirth.
In India and China, pepper is used thoroughly
to improve circulation and to improve
hypersensitivity to catch a cold, coughs, asthma,
kidney inflammations, and muscle and
committee pains. Pepper
2. Experimental Part
Figure 5. Picture of pepper: Capsicum annuum [20]
There are different colours, sizes and forms of
peppers that are present in the several species
of the gender Capsicum. The capsaicine
(C18H27O3N) and the piperine (C17H19O3N) they
are the responsible active ingredients for the
spicy sensation when we ingested it. (Figure 6).
Figure 6. Representations of the molecular structures of
Piperine (above), and capsaicine (below)
Some peppers present more piperine in its
composition, as for instance the pimenta-doreino, as it is called in Brazil, has more piperine
while the chilli pepper has more capsaicine.
However, both are quite burning, what can be
explained by the similarity of their molecules.
Each pepper has characteristics of different
flavour. The essential oil gives the flavour, while
their piperine molecules and capsaicine give the
pungency. Peppers contain potassium, calcium,
sodium, magnesium and iron.
Good chemical reasons explain why we ate
and we liked pepper. After we ingest a spicy
meal, the brain produces as natural answer to
the pain, endorfine that satisfies us of pleasure.
The larger the amount of responsible capsaicine
for the pungency of the pepper, the larger the
pain, in other words, the larger the amount of
Chemistry teaching is a great challenge in the
public schools, taking into account the lack of
structure for practical lectures. In this work we
propose an interdisciplinary experiment, easy,
low cost and low risks, in order to involve and to
motivate the student on the discussed subject.
The experiment is based on the adaptation of a
popular plate of the Brazilian cookery, the rice
pudding, “arroz-doce” in native language, added
of some spices and left out of the refrigerator to
deteriorate. The comparison of the time for the
emergence of signs of microorganisms was the
parameter of the antimicrobial efficiency of the
2 g of recently-grated cinnamon were used, 2
g of clove, 2 g of powdered cinnamon, 350ml of
solution of sugar of concentration of 40g.L-1,
beakers of 100ml, heating plate, plastic pots and
140g of rice.
Was added in each beaker, 50ml of sugar
solution and they were heated to the boiling.
After the boiling, 20g of rice and 1 gram of spice
were added in each beaker, except for the
standard sample, cooked without spices (Figure
7). The prepared samples were the following
a) standard Rice pudding, without spices.
b) Rice pudding cooked with recently-grated
c) Rice pudding cooked with expired powdered
d) Rice pudding cooked with cloves
e) Rice pudding just added of expired powdered
cinnamon at the surface after the preparation of
the rice pudding.
f) Rice pudding just added of cinnamon recentlygrated after the preparation of the rice pudding
g) Rice pudding just added of cloves at the
surface after the preparation of the rice pudding.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
at the surface, in the rice pudding cooked with
the cloves there is still no sign of
Figure 7. Samples preparation step, with and without
The rice was cooking during 30 minutes. After
the cooking, the samples were cooled to room
temperature, and transferred for plastic pots,
covered with plastic film.
It is important to emphasize the flexibility of
the experiment, because the cooking can be
done in stove and the spices or seasonings can
be chosen as a function of the habits of the
students' region.
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Recommendations
All the experiments had as comparison
microorganisms in the samples of rice pudding.
The absence of visible microorganisms at the
surface of the sample does not mean that the
sample is safe to eat, because there is the
possibility of non-visible microbial forms,
therefore the material used in the experiment is
not to eaten. For the correct discard of the
experiment, cook the used material with the
microorganisms in a pressure cooker until
3.1. Spices effects
In this stage we compared the emergence of
visible microorganisms at the surface of the
cooked samples with and without the cloves and
Comparative experiments with samples of
rice pudding left out of the refrigerator showed
microorganisms, after five days to room
temperature. As it can be observed in the Figure
8, while it is not more possible to visualize the
rice for the development of the microorganisms
Figure 8. Efficiency of clove in the rice pudding
conservation, observed after four days (below) and five
days (above)
About this experiment it is important to
observe that in the standard rice pudding of the
Figure 8, as well as in the prepared repetitions
during the works of development of this
experiment, different microorganisms are
developed in each replicate. These differences
happen due to the heterogeneity of the microbial
population of the air that infects the samples
during the cooling after the cooking. Therefore
replicates done in different moments can have
different results, however always with larger
efficiency of the cooked samples with the clove
and the cinnamon, tested in this work.
3.2. Volatility effect
Some spices are sold already grated to save
the effort of their processing, as the cinnamon.
Some cooks dissuade this practice due to the
loss of the volatile components of these spices,
preferring their grinding just before use. To test
this statement with the experiments that we
propose in this article, we compared a cooked
sample with cinnamon just-grated with a cooked
sample with cinnamon already grated and
expired, to increase the contrast and the
discussion with the students on the importance
of the information of expiration at the foods.
As it can be observed, the cooked sample
with powdered cinnamon, after expiration (Figure
9, below) presented larger development of
microorganisms than the cooked sample with
just-grated cinnamon (Figure 9, above).
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
after the cooking (Figure 11, right). The samples
with cloves just added after the cooking
presented the same performance as the cooked
sample with the rice pudding, with no significant
effects of antimicrobial activity.
Figure 10. Prepared samples for comparison among
kinds of addition. A) Standard without spices; B) rice
pudding added on the surface of just-grated cinnamon;
C) rice pudding just added of clove; D) rice pudding
cooked with clove; E) rice pudding cooked with justgrated cinnamon
Figure 9. Evidence of the loss of active components for
volatilization comparing cooked rice pudding with
cinnamon just-grated with rice pudding cooked out with
expired powder of cinnamon after 4 days of out of the
This result can be explained by the largest
superficial area of the grated samples that it can
take to the loss of volatile substances with
antimicrobial activities, as the essential oils.
Another possibility is the largest superficial area
of the grated spices to allow larger access of the
air oxygen to the substances with antimicrobial
activities, allowing its oxidation.
3.3. Kinds of addition
It is usual cover the surface of the rice
pudding with a fine layer of powder of cinnamon
before being served, because of the
arrangement of flavours. With the experiment
proposed in this article, it can be tested if the
simple presence of the spice without cooking
together of the rice has antimicrobial activities
(Figure 10). The weight of the spices used in the
cooking and on the surface of the rice pudding
was the same to allow comparison. We observed
that the cooked samples with cinnamon justgrated (Figure 11, left) present smaller
development of microorganisms than the
cinnamon just-grated added on the rice pudding
Figure 11. Cooked samples of rice pudding with
cinnamon (left) and cooked samples just added of
cinnamon over the rice pudding after the cooking (right)
With these results, it is possible to argue with
the students about concepts like extraction with
the boiling water in order to have the
antimicrobial activity of the cinnamon. The
cloves, without the extraction with the boiling
water, presented antimicrobial activity, showing
the same results as the sample of rice pudding
cooked with cloves.
4. Conclusion
The comparative experiment of rice pudding
with and without spices has excellent receptivity
with the students of the high school, for its easy
execution, and for the visual appeal of the
samples deteriorated by the microorganisms. In
the visits done at the public schools, the students
have been manifesting the intention of repeating
the experiments with other spices or seasonings
and suggesting the attempt with teas and other
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
ingredients, demonstrating the effectiveness of
the experiment in the awakening of the interest
for the science and their methods.
5. Acknowledgements
The authors thanks to UENF for Anne’s
fellowship. We also thank to Antonio Carlos
Pavão for his provocative phrase that “Brazil was
discovered due to the chemistry of food
6. References
[1] Mach, Ernst. Popular Scientific Lectures.
Open Court Publishing, 4a Edição, 1910.
[2] Paula, Ronaldo César de Oliveira, Master
dissertation “O uso de experimentos
históricos no ensino de física: um resgate da
dimensão histórica da ciência a partir da
experimentação”. Universidade Federal de
Brasília, 2006.
[3] http://www.estadao.com.br/ext/especiais/2007
[4] http://www.mct.gov.br/index.php/content/view/
[5] Lopes, Maria Margaret. O Brazil Descobre a
Pesquisa Científica: os museus e as ciências
naturais do século XIX. São Paulo:
HUCITEC, 1997.
[6] Rodari P, Merzagora M. The role of science
centres and museums in the dialogue
between science and society. Journal of
Science Communication, 6 (2), 1-2, 2007.
[7] Gil, F.B., Lourenço, C.M. Que ganhamos hoje
em levar os nossos alunos a um museu.
Comunicar Ciência. 3: 4-5, 1999.
[8] Hottecke, D. How and what can we learn from
replicating historical experiments? A case
study. Science and Education, 9: 343-362,
[9] Vitória Maria Machado Pinto, Master
Dissertation. “Módulos interactivos de
Química em centros e museus de Ciência”,
[10] Holton G., What Historians of Science and
Science Educators Can Do for One Another.
Science and Education, 12: 603-616, 2003.
[11] Le Couteur P, Burreson J. Os botões de
Napoleão: as 17 moléculas que mudaram a
história. Editora Jorge Zahar. Rio de Janeiro:
[12] http://www.algosobre.com.br/historia/crisedo-modo-de-producao-feudal.html
[13] http://www.galeon.com/projetochronos/chron
[14] Ujvari SC. A História e suas epidemias, A
microorganismos. 2nd edition, Rio de
Janeiro, Editora Senac Rio, 2003.
[15] Erdogan Ceylan, M.S., Donghyun Kang, and
Daniel Y.C. Fung. Reduction of Escherichia
coli O157:H7 in Ground Meat by Selected
Spices. Institute of Food Technologists'
(IFT's) 1998 Annual Meeting & FOOD EXPO
in Atlanta June 21, 1998.
[16] http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canela
[17] Keogh JB, Clifton PM. Health benefits of
herbs and spices: the past, the present, the
future. Journal of the Australian medical
association, 185(4):S1-S24, 2006.
[18] Kiple KF, Ornelas KC. The Cambridge World
History of Food. Cambridge University Press,
1757-1759, 1999.
[19] http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cravo-da%C3%ADndia
[20] http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pimenta
Improving Pre-School Children Initial
Ideas about Terrestrial Snails
R. Gaspar
Associação Viver a Ciência
Av. da República nº34
1050-193 Lisboa, Portugal
[email protected]
Abstract. The focus of this paper is supported
by the constructivism and the conceptual change
learning theories. It focuses preschool children’s
initial ideas about snails and their life cycle and
how they changed after an instructional session.
Data were collected in one classroom of 4 to 5
year old children living in a city. The
methodology of this work has three steps. First,
children were asked to do a drawing about the
life of a snail and were questioned about snails
during classroom conversation; their answers,
comments and questions were audio recorded
and categorized. Secondly, children received a
theoretical and practical lesson conducted by
older children (8 to 9 years old). It included the
contact and observation of living snails and their
eggs. Finally, the first approach was repeated.
Children’s drawings of snails had only two
tentacles. The aspects of the snail life cycle
represented were related with imagination and
their experience. Children’s initial ideas about
snails showed anthropomorphic but also
teleological explanations. During the instructional
session younger children asked questions,
touched and observed the living snails. After this
session, most of the children’s drawings
represented the four tentacles. The drawings
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
also represented feeding, excretion, reproduction
and mucous protection. These and other aspects
(habitat, lifetime, function of the body structures)
were then included in the answers about what is
a snail and how are its life.
Keywords. Pre-School Education, Snails.
Why are Crabs Disappearing from
Recife? The Use of a Short Film in a
Non-Formal Context in Elementary
School Teaching
K.M. Euzebio da Silva, A. Flora Pereira
and F. Muniz Brayner Lopes
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco
(UFRPE) Brazil
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. Mangroves and the city of Recife
(Brazil) have an intrinsic relationship, as the
ecosystem has social, economic, ecological and
cultural importance to the city. Thus, there is the
possibility and need for work addressing this
environment in different science education
settings and in different manners, thereby
characterizing the methodological plurality of the
field. In this context, the use of short films offers
different possibilities and advantages, among
which we stress the sensitization of students and
the dynamization of the approach to scientific
concepts with the inclusion of cinematographic
language. Furthermore, the short exhibition time
helps minimize the dispersion of the students
and enables the later development of specific
activities. Thus, the aim of the present study was
to analyze the content of discussion panels
made up of elementary school children from
public schools in the metropolitan region of
Recife regarding the reduction in the numbers of
crab, which is one of the most characteristic
mangrove species, following the screening of the
short film “Mangrove Fish”. For such, we carried
out a 60-minute activity during the 1st Regional
Encounter of Biology Teaching with Schools,
held in the city of Recife in April 2008. After the
screening of the short film produced by
Propágulo (UFPE environmental education
group), the following question was drafted from a
contextualized fact: “The city of Recife has
several mangrove areas and many species of
crabs have been disappearing. How do you
explain this process?” The participants were then
organized into teams and cards, coloured pens
and crayons were made available for the
formation of panels that were to present an
answer to the question. Content analysis of the
posters, which displayed images of the
environment and crabs, along with textual
production analysis converged for the following
results: pollution from different sources was
indicated as the main cause of the
disappearance of the crustacean, followed by
deforestation and overexploitation. Similarly,
alternatives were presented as an explanation
for the situation, including the need for species
conservation and maintenance and an emphasis
on the importance of crab meat as a food source.
It should be stressed that we observed difficulties
in the interpretation of the question and the
establishment of more elaborate answers that
included a broader comprehension of all the
variables implicit to the question posed. We may
infer that there was an initial development of
skills and abilities in a conceptual perspective
directed toward the need for interpretations of
quotidian situations based on scientific
foundations, thereby coming closer to the notion
of Scientific Literacy.
Keywords. Mangrove, Crab,
Elementary School Teaching.
Continuous Formation for Teachers
of the Initial Series of the
Fundamental Teaching. “Projeto Mão na Massa”
R.C.P. Borges1, B.A.C.C. Athayde2, S. Falconi2
and K.F.O. Matos2
Escola Agrotécnica Federal de Cáceres-MT,
Estação Ciência, Brazil
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. The University Science Center
Estação Ciência began in July of 2001 a project
of continuous formation for teachers of the initial
series of the Fundamental Teaching with a
proposal based in investigative activities. On
those seven years of development of the project
the team accomplished in the formations, actions
as: discussions on teaching of sciences in the
initial series, didactic procedure with the
development of investigative activities of
sciences; scientific concepts; and the attendance
of the implementation of the project in the
schools. This work presents analysis of the
attendance model and of the results of
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
implementation of the Project Hands On Scientific Initiation in the Ciclo I, in partnership
with the Municipal Education authority of São
Paulo, in the schools.
Keywords. Attendance of Teachers' Formation;
Teachers' Continuous Formation.
Espaços da Ciência of the CECIERJ
V. Cascon, V. F. Guimarães, P.C.B. Arantes
and M. S. Dahmouche
Fundação CECIERJ – Rua Visconde de Niterói,
1364 Rio de Janeiro/RJ
Brazil 20943-001
[email protected]
Teachers´ Participation in Guided
Visits at Museu de Ciências Naturais
PUC Minas
A.C. Sanches Diniz
Museu de Ciências Naturais. Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 290, Bairro Coração
Eucarístico. Belo Horizonte MG Brasil
[email protected]
Abstract. The Museum of Natural Sciences PUC
Minas on average receives 60 a thousand
visitors per year. 70% of this public come from
schools and look for guided visits. The Educative
Program organizes these visits in two phases:
preparatory and it visits. The present work will go
to describe these phases, detailing the Space of
the Educator, a work of two hours, carried
through to the Mondays, that the dialogue
between Museum and School through the lecture
accomplishment promotes, visits to the Museum
and interactive dynamic that assist professors to
transform its visit into a much more beneficial
Abstract. The CECIERJ Foundation develops
many different programs and interactive
exhibitions aiming to increase the public
awareness of science in the Rio de Janeiro
State. The “Espaços da Ciência” program
promotes the creation of very small science
centres in towns in the hinterland of the Rio de
Janeiro State in collaboration with local City
Halls. This is an innovative project, without
parallel in Brazil. The first of these science
centres implemented was “Espaço da Ciência de
Campos dos Goytacazes”, that stayed opened to
the public from 1999 to 2003 and was re-opened
in 2006 in the neighbour district of São João da
Barra. Besides this, two more Science Centres
are currently open in the cities of Três Rios and
Paracambi, where Planetariums were also
installed in 2002. This program intends to
promote the diffusion and popularization of
science and technology to the general public, but
is primarily aimed to the students and teachers of
the regional schools. The Espaços da Ciência
present interactive exhibitions with hands-on
experiments acquired, designed and built by
CECIERJ staff, and shared by partner
institutions. These Science Centres also
contribute to improve science teaching by
offering their facilities to teachers of the local
schools, so they can develop research and other
pedagogical activities with theirs students. The
“Espaços da Ciência” program also intends to
promote cultural activities in their science
centres, increasing the cultural offers in these
towns and fostering thus their integration in the
local people’s lives. These Science Centres in
the hinterland are important for the local
populations that usually don’t have access to
social events of scientific and cultural nature.
Keywords. Science Center, Hinterland, Handson Experiment.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The project “Ciência ao Vivo”:
itinerant science demonstrations
M.C. Hermida Martinez Ruiz1, A. Gaspar2
and R. Deus Lopes1
Estação Ciência – Pró Reitoria de Cultura e
Extensão Universitária - USP
Faculdade de Engenharia de Guaratinguetá UNESP
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. The project “Ciência ao Vivo” (Alive
complementarity of the program of science of
basic education and science literacy of public in
general. In relation to formal education, the
project searches the rescue of motivating
experimental demonstrations in classroom. From
the point of view of scientific literacy, the set of
experimental kits aims an active acquisition of
basic knowledge of science approaching
scientific questions to daily practical situations.
Joining simplicity to correction, 30 kits were
constructed and are being lent to school
teachers and exhibited in park and science fairs.
Keywords. Experimental Demonstration Kits,
Interactive Science Demonstrations, Itinerant
Mathematics Demonstrations.
1. Introduction
The idea of circulating expositions of sciences
is not new. Many initiatives of this sort have
already been carried through. Among these, we
detach " Experimentoteca" , project developed
by the CDCC - Center of Scientific and Cultural
Spreading of University of SãoPaulo, in São
Carlos, a complete set of kits with experiments
linked to the program of Sciences of basic
education. Also itinerant exhibitions have already
been developed by national institutions of
scientific spreading as the MAST, Museum of
Astronomy and Similar Sciences, the Espaço
Ciência Viva and the Museu Paraense Emilio
experiments, microscopes and telescopes to
squares, beaches and slum quarters of Rio De
Janeiro, Belém of Pará and neighboring cities so
that the population of many of these places had
a first contact with science. The project “Alive
Science”, however, matches the objectives of
these initiatives: without neglecting formal
education ⎯ its presence in the classroom is
one of its basic objectives ⎯ looks also for
accomplishing in science literacy of
public in
2. Theoretical postulations
In relation to formal education, the project
“Alive Science” searches the rescue of the
experimental demonstrations in classroom, as a
motivating element that is capable to unchain
social interactions which facilitate and promote
the learning of science concepts. Considering
the inexistence of experimental equipments in
official schools of basic education, the project
aims at the creation of an itinerant instructional
material, where each package, beyond
containing an experimental demonstration which
is adequately integrated and ready to be
presented, is also an element of support to its
presentation. From the point of view of literacy in
sciences, the project aims the teaching of basic
knowledge of sciences, bringing up to date the
scientific questions and approaching them of the
daily practical situations, joining simplicity to
correction and looking for to complement formal
education from a practical, motivating and
interactive approach. Continuous changes in
scientific knowledge made science literacy of
vital importance for citizenship conquest. The
domain of a set of basic scientific and technician
knowledge is an essential condition to the
conscientious participation of people in the
understanding the process of teach-learning from
a point of view that considers the social and the
cultural factors, the project intends to stimulate
the questioning, the inquiry
and an active
acquisition of the scientific knowledge.
3. The project development
The project included the research of industrial
drawing and visual communication that could
maximize the potentialities of the set of kits,
improving the aspects of language clarity, the
proper information hierarchizing, as well the
independence of ambience of available
infrastructure. Playful and motivating aspects
related to the materials and graphical and
chromatic compositions, that stimulate the active
participation in the assembly and development of
the experiment, have been qualities analyzed
and incorporated to the kits. Sponsored by CNPq
(National Council of Research and Development)
a set of 30 kits was constructed. They have
been being presented in Science Fairs as
recently occurred during the 59th. Annual
Meeting of the Brazilian Society for Progress of
Science (SBPC), in Campinas and lent to school
teachers in a way that is very similar to that of a
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
library. From March to June,
46 teachers
explored the kits with more than 4 thousand
students. Figures 1 is a photograph of kits when
presented at 60th. SBPC.
[2] Gaspar A. Experiências de Ciências para o
Ensino Fundamental. São Paulo: Editora
Ática; 2003.
[3] Tomazello M G C, Schiel D. O Livro da
Ciências da Natureza A través de Práticas
[4] Vigotsky L S, Pensamento e Linguagem. São
Paulo: Martins Fontes; 1987.
Rescuing Astronomy of the Great
Navigations. Teaching Astronomy
through Instruments of XVI Century
P. Leroy, H. Fabiano de Castro
and A. Alex de Paula
Grupo de Astronomia e Astrofísica.
Departamento de Física e Química, Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 500. Belo Horizonte MG Brazil
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
Figure 1. Some kits at the 60th. SBPC
Electromagnetism, Air, Water, Linear Systems,
Trigonometric Functions are some of the themes
that can be explored in this first set of kits. The
research and development included the
Faculdade de Engenharia of UNESP and the
Instituto de Matemática e Estatísitca and the
team of Estação Ciência – USP. Another set of
20 kits is being developed. This set will contain
kits of Astronomy and Biology and is being
sponsored by the Fundo de Cultura e Extensão
of USP.
4. Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank the support of
CNPq and Fundo de Cultura e Extensão-USP to
the project “Ciência ao Vivo”.
5. References
[1] Gaspar A. Museus e Centros de Ciências –
Conceituação e proposta de um referencial
teórico – Tese de Doutoramento – Faculdade
de Educação da USP; 1993.
Abstract. In this work, wooden replicas of some
of the main astronomical instruments used by the
great Portuguese navigators of XVI century have
been made: an astrolabe, a sextant and a
measurements of the position of some
astronomical objects had been carried through
as a practice of the discipline introduction to
Astronomy of Physics course of the PUC Minas.
The measure of the height of the sun when
crossing the meridian, during one year had been
taken and a table of zenithal distances to be
used in the calculation of latitude of a given place
had been made. The used procedure of the
navigators “to weigh the Sun” to determine the
latitude of the place was then reproduced,
determining the latitude of the comment place.
Through the graph of the variation of the height
of the sun during the year when crossing the
meridian, it had been explained the seasons of
the year and the variation of aspects of the sky
with the latitude and time of the year. Aspects of
the measurement of angular distances between
astronomical objects had been made with the
sextant and balestilha, emphasizing its use for
the navigation through the stars. The main
results of this work are: a bigger interaction
between disciplines (Astronomy, History of
Sciences) bigger interest and better learning on
the part of the students, for dealing with concepts
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
and concrete applications in a world each day
more electronic and virtual.
Keywords. Astronomy, History of Sciences.
E-portfolio – A Modality of Optimising
the Evaluation in the Process of Initial
and Continuous Training of the
E. Mănucă1, B. Constantin Neculau2,
A. Sevastian3 and R. Gavrilas3
Center” Educaţia 2000+”, Romania
Universitatea “Al.I. Cuza“ Iaşi, Romania
Normal School “Vasile Lupu” Iasi, Romania
[email protected],
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. This paper proposes to formulate a
series of considerations which derive from the
experience of trainers involved in the process of
initial and continuous training of the teachers, a
process which witnesses inherent changes
demanded, on the one hand, by the development
of NTCI and, on the other hand, by the necessity
of reporting to the reality of the educational
system from the European space.
Keywords: e-portfolio, Initial and Continuous
1. Introduction
In The Report Project on the Improvement of
the Quality of Professional Training, presented
by the Commission for Culture and Education
(Brussels, 26 March 2008), there were weighed
in the efforts the teachers have to face, efforts
that have become more and more numerous,
taking into consideration the fact that the
educational environment has become more
complex and more heterogeneous, as a
consequence of the progress registered by the
On these conditions, the Commission for
Culture and Education of the European
Parliament recommends in the same project, the
necessity of promoting a continuous and
coherent training for the teachers during their
The report project on the improvement of the quality of
professional training, Brussels, 2008 a
nguage=Ro, pp.4-5.
entire career. The teachers must have the
possibility to improve and actualise their
competences and qualifications, as well as their
pedagogical knowledge. Only such an approach
of the professional training can lead to a
correlation between the teachers’ level of training
and the performance of the educational system.
The McKinsey report realised within the PISA
Program of OCDE establishes the main
determining factor in the viability of education in
schools, regarding the students’ performance:
the teachers’ quality. According to this report, the
educational systems which reach high results,
centre their educational policy on three
directions: they attract the right candidates for
the jobs of teachers, they help them to become
efficient teachers and set into action systems
and structures to make sure that each student
will benefit from high quality teaching.5
2. The aspects of using ICT in the didactical
In the Romanian educational context, the
introduction of Internet in the educational system
is the event that precipitates the emergency of a
new paradigm in education. The convergence,
on the account of the major social changes, of
several factors such as: 1. the technological
development; 2. The new pedagogical theories,
3. The sharing of responsibility for education with
different other institutions – lead to the emphasis
of certain features which set the measure of this
paradigm: fluidity of the roles, curricula oriented
towards the necessities of the trainee (the
students, involved in his initial training/teacher
involved in his continuous training), distributed
resources, virtual facilities, non-synchronised
In the context of the accelerated rhythm of
development of the new technologies, in the
Report for Evaluating Research – EVAL SEI
2008 one inacceptable aspect in such an
advanced stage of the informational educational
system can be noticed. In the answers of the
teachers who participated in the current statistic
study, there can be found in a very small
proportion (if not at all) training programs which
refer to the pedagogical aspects of using ICT in
the didactical process - those courses of
The Study, the Content and the quality of training teachers
within the EU area Institute of Education, University of
London, UK,
6 (Bruxelles, 2008)
Istrate, Olimpius, Distance learning in www.elearning.ro.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
“assisted computer training”. At the beginning of
2008, we might say we still are in an incipient
stage concerning the efficient use by the
teachers of the new technologies to teach, learn,
Regarding the teachers’ level of participation
to courses of using ICT, one third of the teachers
did not attend any course that were related to the
new technologies, a surprising fact taking into
account the early character of the initiatives,
projects and programs referring to the
introduction of ICT in the Romanian educational
Regarding the utility of the existing training
programs, related to the actual needs of the
class activity, most of the teachers (58%) thought
they were adequate for the beginning, but
efficient didactical activities with the help of new
technologies claim direct experience and
practice, 7,4% of the teachers consider that the
initial and continuous training programs should
be improved.
The introduction of more practical exercises
and simulations could be a direction where the
teachers’ training in using new technologies
might be improved (signalled by 10,8 % of the
practicians). Furthermore, the organisation of
cyclic training activities, staged form simple to
complex (16,4%), differentiated on subjects or on
levels of difficulty (6,5%), supported by an
considered by the teachers as an approach that
would help a more efficient training, with real
benefits for the improvement of the pedagogical
practice with an ICT component.
Remarking a significant difference between
the number of teachers who declare that they do
not know how to use the computer and the
number of those who never attended a training
course in using ICT, the authors of this study,
specialists in educational sciences, consider that
it would be necessary “an increased
preoccupation for the acknowledgement of the
competences in this field obtained through non
formal training steps. Such a certification would
be even more necessary since it would support a
clearer differentiation between the “use of new
technologies” and “the use of new technologies
for education”.
On these conditions, the process of initial,
and more important, continuous training, through
e-learning system, will know new stages, thus
contributing to the development of the modern
society that is of the society of knowledge.
The institutions that offer continuous training
courses (universities or other institutions involved
in the teachers’ training process), in the context
of organising courses of distance learning/elearning, must take into account the modalities of
projecting a program of this type that should be
cantered on learning and on educational
performances. The elements that should be
taken into consideration in projecting such elearning courses are: target group, learning
content, didactical strategies, ICT tools used (email, web site, videoconferences, educational
software, learning sites), resources, objectives of
the programs.
On the other hand, there must be assured
adequate services of evaluation and self
evaluation of the knowledge acquired by the
trainees (teachers, in the case of continuous
training), by appealing to specific online and/or
off line methods.
Beyond a series of principles of the evaluation
within the open distance learning, the paper
structures a few considerations connected to the
relation between the objectives and the
evaluation of the objectives; it proposes a series
of concrete modalities of organising and realising
the evaluation within the open distance learning
in the context of initial and continuous learning.
We especially propose to bring into discussion a
number of modalities of optimising the
evaluation, starting from a contrasting analysis
between the traditional methods and techniques
of evaluation (oral, written and practical
evaluation) and the modern ones (portfolio, eportfolio, project, essay, investigation, inter and
self evaluation).
3. e-Portfolio
Among these, the e-portfolio, as an
instrument of evaluation and learning, can be a
(http://roinfocds.blogspot.com), wiki (http://tmtgr3.wik.is) or integrated application which,
according to the implementation, it contains
proofs of the personal development, a
development plan; it allows the management of
knowledge, the evaluation of the trainees’
As a modality of optimising the evaluation
within the open distance learning, the e-portfolio
assures the achieving of the feed-back, both for
the trainer and for the trainee (student or teacher
involved in the process of continuous training).
On the other hand, by revaluating the e-portfolio
opportunities – as a modality of evaluation, the
trainer can diminish as much as possible the
Idem, op.cit., pp.25-27
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
mistakes which appear sometimes within the
evaluation through the traditional methods8.
Here are several aspects which can lead to
subjectivity in evaluation and are no longer
justified in the case of the evaluation in absentiain praesentia, by using e-portfolio:
¾ The “halo” effect or the error of global
association was described for the first
time in 1920 by Thorndike and it refers to
the appreciation of effective performance
by correlating it with the global
performance of the trainer;
¾ The “Pygmalion” effect, Oedipal or of
anticipation. The evaluation is influenced
by the constant opinion that the teacher
has about the student/trainee;
¾ The contrast effect and related to it, the
order effect, which manifests when the
teacher tends to evaluate similarly
consecutive papers, yet of clear different
¾ Logical error or speculative evaluation.
This effect consists of punishing by
grades certain mistakes, even if these are
not essential elements of the content.
The revaluation of the e-portfolio created by
the trainees on an online platform leads to the
elimination of these effects and offers both to the
teacher and to the student/trainee a coherent
image of the didactical course. The trainer can
offer an objective value judgement and can
follow the progress or the regress of a trainee,
especially if he also appealed to an initial
We will make an appeal to several obvious
examples from the performed evaluation in the
context of some courses of initial and continuous
training, through which we intend to prove that eportfolio is a valid (measures what it should
measure) and revealing (shows constant results
after a repeated application under the same
conditions and to the same group of trainees)
instrument of evaluation. Obviously, from the
perspective of its applicability – another feature
which needs to be fulfilled by an efficient
instrument of evaluation, there are voices which
consider that by using an e-portfolio, the trainer
will come across a series of difficulties in
interpreting the information offered by this
instrument, about the trainee’s evolution during
the training course.
The evaluation of e-portfolio documents in a
structured, systematic and credible way, certain
competences established in the evaluation
Constantin Neculau, The specific of evaluating
distance learning, in Distance learning. Guide for Tutors,
(coord. Constantin Cucos), Editura Universitatii “ Al. I . Cuza”
Iasi, 2004, pp88-89.
scheme of the portfolio9 (the scheme that refers
to the following criteria: checking list of the
portfolio, appreciation of the management of the
portfolio, appreciation of the content of the
The e-portfolio should offer an efficient feedback to both the trainee and the teacher. The
use of an online MOODLE type platform allows,
as it will be demonstrated, a self/inter/evaluation
of the e-portfolios created by each of the
The Moodle system promotes the “pedagogy
of the social constructivism”, supported on the
following concepts:
1. Constructivism: the new, acquired
knowledge is deposited in permanent
relation to their cultural and informational
background, and not by simple
2. constructivism: the learning gets to be
effective when it shared, discussed,
explained to the others;
3. Social Constructivism: disseminating the
information is done in a systematic ,
organized manner, thus leading to the
community – the social web;
4. Connected and Separate: tries a
thorough look on the motivations which
entertain the participating people to the
dialogue within the cultural community
Advantages of the Moodle site in the process
of continuous training
1. A flexible and ergonomic system of
administrating the information;
2. Possibility of on-line editing of the
materials in HTML and text format;
3. Easily accessible course support,
searched and indexed, which contains
further materials than the ones taught
during the classical classes and
to other sources of
4. Increases the ability to adapt of the
educational process to the demands of a
dynamic market, an objective which is
The evaluation /appreciation scheme of the e-portfolios by
the Master Intel Teach trainers, within the course Intel Teach
"bases of teaching in the society of knowledge" - SIVECO
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
attainable by using an equally dynamic
environment of learning/communicating
- world wide web;
5. Allows the insertion of hyper-connections
to Web locations to other materials;
6. Within the section Activities the following
types of activities can be added:
Diary, Quizzes, Questionnaires;
7. The activity is not synchronized;
8. The activities can be configured (forum,
chat) so that they should give the
possibility of a collaboration among all
course participants;
9. The supporting activity for the trainees
can have for example the form of a
tutorial activity
where the trainer
mediates the relation between the
trainee and the material to learn (that is
between the trainee and the authors of
the course);
10. The technologies are interactive, allowing
a total feedback, in real time, and
formative or summative, quantitative or
qualitative evaluation in a very easy way
by even the wisest evaluators.
High costs for the development of the
2. the trainees are required to
experience in working on a computer;
3. The trainees must be extremely
motivated to attend. The phenomenon of
school leaving is much more frequent in
distant education by using Moodle than
in the traditional frames of education;
4. The relative “dis-humanization” of the
courses until the development of the
optimal strategy of interaction and of
focusing on the student and not on the
4. Conclusion
The evaluating process will reflect the
paradigm change, from the evaluation which is
mainly quantitative to a qualitative evaluation; it
will be oriented towards an approach from the
perspective of critical thinking; it will have a
strong metacognitive impact.
5. References
[1] Ambrosi, A., Word Matters, Editura C&F
Editions, Caen, 2005.
[2] Brut,
Computerised guide of the modern teacher.
Editura Polirom, Iaşi,; E-learning instruments.
Computerised guide of the modern teacher,
[3] Buckmann, Nicola. Nekeman Paul. Dictionary
of distance education terminology; EADTU,
[4] Cucos, Constantin(coord.), Distance learning.
Guide for tutors, Editura Universitatii “ Al. I .
Cuza” Iasi, 2004.
[5] Distance learning : planning considerations
and options. University of Michigan,
Information Technology Division, 1995.
[6] Făt, Silvia, Theoretical Fundament in ELearning, Elearning.România, Bucureşti,
[7] Istrate, O., Distance Learning. Projecting the
materials, Editura Agata, Botoşani, 2000.
[8] Potolea, Dan, Noveanu Eugen (coord.),
Olimpius Istrate, Simona Velea, Cornelia
Novak, Petre Botnariuc; Computerising the
educational system. SEI Program. Report of
evaluative research - EVAL SEI 2008 /
Bucureşti: Agata, 2008.
[9] Stroe, Antoaneta Daniela, Elearning systems
and standards, Editura Edusoft, Bacău,
[10] www.1educat.ro/elearning
[11] www.elearning.ro.
We can notice the fact that the web 2.0 tools
(blog, wiki, Moodle platform) that are used within
the continuous training courses of e-learning
type for the teachers facilitate the obtaining of
feed-back for the course tutor and for the trainers
too, each of them being able to reach a coherent
image of the educational course. The e-portfolios
created during the e-learning course, existing on
the learning/evaluating platform, offer an
opportunity to reflect upon one's own
professional practice and to share the achieved
experience with other members of the
professional community.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Evaluation of the New Practical
Approaches in the Biochemistry
Course of the Universidade Federal
de Pernambuco, Brazil
R. Freitas e Silva, A. Pavão,
M. Vanusa da Silva and M.T. Santos Correia
Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
[email protected]
Abstract. Biochemistry is a science field with
quick development in the latest years. For this
reason, it becomes more complex to keep up to
date. Nowadays, the way of teaching is aided by
practical approaches that can stimulate students
to search for theory and results. At the Federal
biochemistry discipline is offer for all graduate
courses in biology and health. Each semester,
60 hours of course are offered, with theoretically
(30 hours) and practical lectures (30hours).
Teacher’s assistants (TA) have been largely
used to aid teachers during the educational
procedures. The practical program was done at
least a decade ago without changes. To provide
a better development of the students we
proposed the introduction of new activities. After
theoretically lectures, students were conducted
to laboratories. Three new practical lectures
were offered: DNA extraction from Human and
Plant Cells, Vitamin C Activity as Antioxidant and
Informatics as Tool for Learning Biochemistry.
Every student received a data sheet containing
the program (theory and protocols). At the end of
the lesson, a questionnaire sheet with multiple
choices was given to evaluate the opinion. The
results show that a high percentage of the
students accepted new approaches for practical
lectures (for DNA and Vitamin C lectures it was
100% and for Informatics lecture it was 93%). As
well, the TAs have a good participation and
importance during the course. The practical
classes contributed to better understanding of
the biochemistry theory. However, classes using
informatics as tool showed good results as well
while difficulties in the laboratory structure and
Keywords. Biochemistry, Practical Lectures,
Teacher’s Assistants.
Problem Solving and Device
M. Firer
Museu Exploratório de Ciências. Unicamp, Brazil
[email protected]
Abstract. Oficina Desafio, Challenge Workshop,
is a project of UNICAMP Exploratory Science
Museum – the Science Center of the State
University of Campinas (Brazil). It is an outreach
project, based on a fully equipped mobile
workshop constructed on a truck, which visits
schools and gives the students open solution
real problems challenging them to “design,
construct and operate a device” capable of
solving the challenge. It runs short term activities
(4 hours long), called Small Challenges, and also
a long term annual contest, the Big Challenge,
when teams of children and teenagers engage in
up to for month designing and building their
devices. After running for two years and
attending about ten thousand young people,
analysis of evaluation forms answered by
students (more than 800 questionnaires) and
journals written by participants in the Big
Challenges, we can understand what those
activities mean to the participants and what kind
of skills and knowledge are actually encouraged
and developed. The focus of the presentation will
be on team-working competences, learning of
basic mechanic and electronic and methodology
of project development.
Keywords. Informal Education.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Synchronizing Head & Hands
together for Excellence:
Role of Technology Communication &
Technological Temper
-An Attitudinal Analysis
M. Patairiya
National Council for Science
& Technology Communication
New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi – 110016, India
[email protected]
Abstract. More often, we tend to satisfy
ourselves by accomplishing around 80% task
and feel as if we had contributed enough, but the
excellence lies in the remaining 20%. Even out of
the 80% accomplished work, only a fraction of it
can be attributed to as excellent, as in most
cases, we are unable to put our head and hands
together in harmony for a particular work.
Knowledge and attitude together play a major
role in achieving excellence in every walk of life,
be it a worker, student, scientist, technician,
teacher, housewife, or even an artist or
astronaut. Here the hands-on science becomes
more significant in all spheres of human
We have been talking about science
communication, education and scientific temper
and very less has been discussed about
technology communication and technological
temper. Although, in general, when we talk about
science, it also inherently incorporates
technology. In fact, the most part of our science
communication activities involves technology
communication, as well. Be it an exhibition, or a
hands on activity, such as origami, science toys/
games, teaching/ learning aids, model rocketry,
experiments with aerodynamics, water testing or
HAM radio, etc.
However, at the dawn of 21st century, when
we have arrived at a crucial turning point of
sustainable development and multifarious
technological advancements and challenges, we
cannot proceed randomly and have to step
ahead in much professional and systematic
manner. Hence, equal focus is required to be
given on technology communication and
technological temper in a fast advancing world,
where technology plays a vital role in not only the
life and work of mankind, but also acts as one of
the important deciding factors, responsible for
the strength and wellbeing of a nation.
One’s attitude is a highly complex attribute
and varies on a variety of factors, i.e. upbringing,
surrounding, parenting, schooling and above all
socio-economic and cultural milieu. The present
paper examines various attitudinal patterns
especially amongst children and tries to find out
various factors impeding them with possible
ways and means to overcoming these barriers
with a dose of technological awareness and
technological temperament.
Keywords: Synchronization, Alignment, Finetuning, Combining, Harmonizing, Conditioning,
1. Introduction
When Galileo Galilee discovered that it was
the earth, which revolves around the sun and not
the sun around the earth, he was simply stating a
fact of nature. Science is to understand the laws
of nature, or in other words the process of
understanding nature is science. So science is
not stray from nature, science manifests from
nature. Science doesn’t create something new; it
rather puts forward another application of a
natural phenomenon. When man experiments
with nature, he could simply be trying with a
different magnitude or dimension of nature. In
orbiting of a manmade satellite, in experimenting
with nuclear structure, in decoding genetic setup,
it could never meant going against nature.
Science lies buried in nature. However, as a
science philosopher observed, “nature can bury
science and the world, if these do not go in
Is it necessary that one has to learn from his
own mistakes or commit mistakes to learn?
Perhaps no! Wiser one learns from other’s
mistakes. But he has to keep himself abreast of
communication in science is paramount because
science has lot to do with nature and, more
precisely with life. Science has a bearing on the
way one thinks, lives, conducts and behaves in
the society. And thinking scientific is thinking
natural. Thinking scientifically is establishing
harmony with nature, of which we talk so often.
This activity could best be promoted by
communicating science in a scientific way.
Accuracy, while communicating science needs to
be emphasized. Distorted information is no less
dangerous than a slow poison.
Technology is an application of science.
Technology is believed to have descended in
man’s world earlier than science. This is an
observational obscurity. To the man, technology
bears supreme importance. Man’s quest for
science began from his urge to master
technology. This unfolded a chain of
technological evolution, as man resorted to druid
replication of nature. Many of so called
technological feat have been marred by known
and unknown hazards on life and surroundings.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Man in many terms is a quick learner and he
knows that he has but no other alternative.
Though science emerged after technology, it
is too obvious to witness that science and
technology are strongly interconnected with each
other and their progress is interdependent.
Science in its early stages was hardly
distinguishable from technology. The knowledge
of man regarding the use and control of fire,
development of tools, primitive agriculture, use of
medicinal and herbal plants, etc. during ancient
age are the examples of rudiments of
technology. In fact, for a long span of time during
early stage of evolution of human civilization, it
developments were more frequent; despite there
being no scientific concepts. Therefore, several
scholars have conceptualized technology as
applied science.
The origin of technology can be traced back
from the beginning of the human civilization,
when the early man had discovered the fire and
understood its use and control, and explored
natural resources for his benefit. A million years
ago, human beings learned how to handle and
shape the mud, stone and wood for different
uses. Thus development of technology
progressed simultaneously with the evolution of
human civilization.
However, science as an organized body of
thought is generally considered to have begun
with the Ionian school of Greek philosophers
about 600 BC. Nearly around the same time,
Gautam Buddha, in India, gave the cause and
effect theory and preached about spirit of
enquiry, the basics of scientific thinking.
Discoveries or inventions prior to 600 BC were
generally referred as examples of technology.
2. Technology Communication
Technology communication is as old as the
Although its form was entirely different from the
present one. The origin of communication can be
traced back to the beginning of human
civilization, when the early man might have
communicated with each other through body
language. The art of communication further
developed and got refined as was visible in
Subsequently, man had started making sketches
on the walls of the caves, rocks and on other
similar objects to express his ideas, observations
and imaginations. One can see the beautiful
cave sketches at Bheem Betka, Near Bhopal
(MP) made by the Stone Age man, depicting
various technologies of that time, such as stone
axe, etc. Of late, written scripts were developed
and man started communicating through written
words and sketches on moist soil and mud
boards, clay tokens, bark of the trees, wood,
stone, metals, like iron, bronze and copper, etc.
The term “technology communication” is a
“communication”, which is referred to the flow of
technological information, thoughts and methods
from their origin to the user, through a medium or
mediator. In other words, all aspects related to
dissemination of technological information and
inculcation of a technological temper among
people through all possible means, modes,
methods, media, techniques, tools and
processes can be referred as technology
It is well understood that concerted and
communication/popularization can help achieve
the goal of overall development of mankind, by
making the people technologically aware and
inculcating a technological temper among them.
It is believed that a scientifically informed,
technologically capable and rational society
could progress in a much coherent way.
There is, however, an enormous gap between
the common masses and scientific and
technological information and an acute shortage
of personnel suitable for the role of an S&T
communicator, who could take up this
challenging task of taking S&T to the people.
The human knowledge and intellect is driving
quest for science and technology research and
advancements in various streams of scientific
and technological endeavours, we have to
consider science communication and technology
communication of technological information or
performances, puppet shows, exhibitions Jathas,
presentations in seminars, symposia, meetings,
etc. is included into the gamut of technology
3. Objectives
technology communication are hardly different
from those of science communication. However,
some specific objectives, among others, can be
summarized as follows:
1. To communicate and popularize the
confronting our day to day life, to the
common people.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
2. To inculcate a technological temper
among them.
3. To infuse the spirit of innovation and
technological advancement in every
sphere of human activity.
4. To make them aware about assimilation
and adoption of the latest technology and
its confluence with the traditional
5. To
understanding of various technologies
available around and those we use.
6. To enable people to appreciate the
technological changes, that is taking
place due to various kinds of research
and developments.
7. To bridge the gap between the head and
hands and to integrate different attitudes
and cultures of white collar and blue collar
8. To develop and enhance the level of
technological literacy among various
cross sections of the society.
When we go to market, we observe that a
particular mechanic or carpenter or any other
such professional is excellent in his work and we
even recommend his name to others also. What
is this! This is recognition of his technological
temper in real term. In fact, by way of inculcation
of a technological temper, a qualitative and
systematic performance is expected from a
person, in every walk of human activity that
would lead him to perfection and excellence.
More or less, it has become a modern system
(!) that various technologies may be available,
but of no use. For example, you will find a hand
pump, but not working and municipality’s tap with
leakage of water. Similarly, one can find a public
telephone, with no dial tone. This situation needs
to be corrected. Here the role of State may be
important, but above all, it is the role of our
attitude, the technological temperament, which
we are talking about. If we are able to develop a
technological temper among masses, it can
change the situation up to a remarkable extent.
4. Technology Literacy
3. Technological Temper
The state of mind geared up to use of hands
in a systematic manner in any technological
operation is known as technological temper. In
other worlds, the technological temper can be
referred to the spirit of using head and hands for
accomplishment of any task in a systematic and
orderly manner.
Generally, in teamwork, if there is a mistake,
we tend to put it on other’s head, but in case of a
success; we try to take credit of it. If everybody
contributes his or her due part in teamwork, such
as in an industry, mill or plant, with a high degree
of proficiency and accuracy, there may be hardly
any chance of a failure. The failure occurs, when
any member of a team does not contribute his
due part or contributes in an unsystematic
manner. This is called the lack of a technological
temper. The failure of the launch of GSLV
spacecraft is an ideal example of the lack of
technological temper, where a small lapse of
someone leads to a grand failure.
It may be possible to make it more vivid by
citing an interesting example. Generally, it is
difficult to find an electronic engineer capable of
undertaking even a small repair work of his own
transistor set. On the other hand, one can find a
number of persons, who have not undergone the
regular educational training, but have acquired
the knowledge and skill only with the application
of technological temper, which is nothing but the
common sense. This reflects the application part
of a scientific knowledge.
The technological literacy, understood as an
everyday working knowledge of technology, is as
necessary as reading and writing (literacy in the
commonly understood sense) for a satisfactory
way of life in the modern world. Technological
literacy is necessary for there to be a capable
workforce, for the economic and healthy wellbeing of the social fabric and every person, and
for the exercise of participatory democracy. It
also implies the ability to respond to the
technological issues that pervade and influence
our daily lives. Technological literacy does not
mean detailed knowledge of technological
jargons, phenomena or deeper aspects, etc.,
however, it rather points out of the
comprehension of what might be called the
technological approach, or the systematic and
orderly way of doing things and with more
In this sense, a technologically literate person
should posses a general sense of understanding
technological things happening around, such as
the boring for tube well, the working of a film
projector, etc. There is universal need for
technological literacy, since it is the basic
requirement for the enhancing and strengthening
further technology communication activities
around the globe. Although, the magnitude of
this need may vary from country to country and
region to region, based on exposure of people to
various kinds of technologies available around
them. For example, a person coming from a
remote village may not know about a pager or a
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
digital diary. Similarly, a person from a city may
not be aware of the seed driller or potter’s wheel.
In our day to day life, we come across various
kinds of technologies, products, gadgets, etc. at
home, at work place, in a market or all around.
But generally, we do not try to understand their
mechanism or techniques as how do they work
and what kinds of technologies are involved in
their working. Accordingly, the technological
literacy can be considered as a working
knowledge of various kinds of technologies we
use and see around us. This would not only
develop an understanding about various kinds of
technologies, but also develop a sense of
confidence. Simply, most of us may not know as
how a tube light works or how a cold storage
keeps vegetables fresh or even how a fountain
pen works. These are the simple examples from
our everyday life, where most of us lack the
technological literacy.
With a view to identify a certain level of
technology literacy, we have to bench mark the
desired level of understanding of technologies
available around a particular sect of society. This
bench marking can be different from area to area
and community to community, based on the
general level of awareness of people.
Accordingly, to reach to a certain level of
technology literacy in a given area or community,
the efforts of technology communication may be
concentrated to fill the void. When a certain level
is achieved, then it would almost automatic that
societal understanding and inception of
technology, changes to those at higher levels.
This is the natural way to enhance technology
literacy to make any society technologically
strong and enlightened.
5. Scope
The scope of technology communication is
very wide. It ranges from communication of
traditional technologies to the latest ones. The
country has a great treasure of traditional
technologies, which form the most part of our
rural technology base. For example, in Himachal
Pradesh, traditional water storage systems are
found in remote villages. Underground tanks are
constructed in front of the houses and
arrangement is made to collect the rainwater and
snow falling on the roof of the house, into these
tanks via mud pipes. It is called “Khatriyan” in
local language. This water is utilized for various
domestic purposes, other than drinking,
throughout the year. This technology needs to be
propagated in other parts of country. Though,
Government has now recognized the worth of
this potential technology and encouraging
harvesting of rainwater from various buildings.
Many more such technologies are scattered here
and there, especially in far flung areas of the
country, needs to be communicated from one
place to another, depending upon their suitability.
Minor modifications can be suggested as per
local requirements.
A number of technological advancements are
taking place across the country in various
laboratories under Government and private
sector. These technologies are useless, unless
they reach to the end user. The technology
communication efforts may be geared up for
taking such newly emerged technologies to the
people. There are a number of farm
technologies, rural technologies, construction
technologies, etc., which are not only cost
effective but also time saving and durable.
Information on such developments may flow from
their origin to the user by way of different modes
and means of communication, such as mass
media, technology jatha, technology fair and
technology exposition, etc.
One of the major objectives of technology
communication is to create an urge for newness.
Generally, most people feel comfortable to follow
the beaten track. But some of them love to
introduce their innovation. In other words,
technology communication and technology
temper also lead to certain modifications in the
existing technologies, besides creating new
ones. Therefore, science communication does
not only make people aware about a particular
technology, but also try to develop a spirit of
innovation, motivating them to exercise
innovativeness and creativity in every sphere of
their life and work and to achieve
accomplishment more perfectly and properly.
One of the major activities of technological
communication programme can be to identify a
technical/technological problem at local level and
finding its solution. There may be plenty of
technological problems prevailing at local levels.
These can be solved with the intervention of
technological communication. For example,
industrial pollution in Kosi River, near Rampur
(UP) poisoned the ground water of about 60
villages. An NCSTC’s group of science
journalists identified this problem, during an
exercise of on the spot reporting. The detailed
reports appeared in media and installing
treatment plants at the polluting industries solved
the problem. That apart, in case, some
technological input or innovation is needed to
solve a local technological problem, concerning
technologists, engineers and experts can provide
it and help solve the problem.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
6. Technology and Media
Mass media plays a pivotal role in bringing
technological information and technological
aptitude to the common men. There may not be
science columns in various newspapers and
magazines, but one can find columns in various
newspapers and magazines covering latest
technologies, products, households, etc., not
only in national dailies but also in regional
newspapers. Technological columns have
become an attractive and vibrant source of
general reading. On television, there are many
programmes on various technological products,
though they are mostly confined to a commercial
activity, but still they provide some sense of
technologies. On Internet, a number of products
and technologies find prominent places with
detailed description and visuals, sometime
animated also.
In fact, big players in mass media know the
pulse of common man and act very fast, as and
when the demand arises. However, in order to
harness the potential of mass media for
technology communication, there is a great need
for providing suitable technological information in
the form of articles, features, reports, interviews
with technologists/technocrats/industrialists, etc.,
visuals/photographs/illustrations. More precisely,
we need a whole host of technological
s, who can contribute on various technological
developments/issues in mass media, especially
in vernaculars to cater to the common people
and to fulfil the fast emerging demand of quality
stuff on technology.
In our country, various efforts are going on for
technology transfer and technology extension.
But the target users hardly acquire any
understanding of the same. These efforts need
to be integrated with technology communication,
so that, while using a particular technology, the
users can also develop a feel and some degree
of understanding of the technology they use or
come across.
7. Technology Day
May 11, 1998 was a very special day for
Indian technology. We had three great
technological events on that day. The first event
of the day (12:50 p.m.) was of the successful test
flight for final certification of Hansa – 3, the first
all composite indigenous aircraft, built by CSIR.
The second was (followed a few minutes later)
the successful test firing of the Trishul missile.
The third and the most momentous were the
three successful nuclear tests, known as
Pokharan-II. In view of the series of our
technological successes, Prime Minister has
declared 11th May as the National Technology
Day, just as 28th February is celebrated as
National Science Day in recognition of discovery
of Raman Effect. Consequently, to give more
impetus on technology communication and
inculcation of a technological temper, we have
been celebrating technology day each year on
11th May since then to develop spirit of
innovation and encourage innovativeness and
creativity in the society.
8. Towards an Innovative Society
Infusion of innovativeness and creativeness
may be one of the major tasks before any
technology communication effort. Technology
communication does not only mean to
communicate technological information from
laboratories or technological institutions to the
people. It can be two ways. In case, some kind of
technologies or technological ideas emerges
from among the people that can also be carried
to the scientists and technologists, so that it can
be evaluated in terms of its viability, efficacy,
workability and novelty. It can also be reshaped,
modified and upgraded, if necessary.
It emerged from the current study that in the
age group of 15-25, the creativity of children and
youths is very high and they come up with a
number of novel ideas. As an average, at any
given time, 2-3 such brilliant students do exist in
each medium city/town, who are interested in
creative endeavours and putting things together
in their own novel way. A mechanism can be
worked out to harness the potential of such
individual innovators. It has also been seen that
such persons are least interested in text books or
curriculum, but they possess a proven ability of
doing technical/technological things. Obviously,
they cannot secure good marks in their
examination, but at the same time, their
technological endeavours can prove them as an
asset for the society. Such efforts need to be
promoted and supported. The mechanism can
be developed so as such technologically
motivated persons driven with zeal and gleam in
their eyes to doing something new and relevant,
reach to the scientific/technological R&D
institutions, laboratories, technology centres, etc.
communication and inculcation of a technological
temper stimulate the spirit of innovation among
people, they must be made aware about
intellectual property rights to protect their
innovations and developments. Technological
innovations are visible in various farms, rural and
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
domestic technologies across the country. But
almost no patent has been taken for such
technologies, due to lack of awareness and
technicalities involved in patenting process.
Common people and even educated people are
unable to file a patent with patent office and get
patent right in their names for their invention. As
a contrast, some people seek patent right,
though their innovations may not be patentable.
Therefore, the awareness about patentable and
non-patentable inventions, preparation of
application for a patent, writing/drawing a patent
specification, process of getting a patent and
maintaining a patent is required to be spread
deeper in to the society in the light of WTO and
GATT, and this may form a major component of
technology communication.
9. Recommendations
Besides routine activities concerning handson science, various other activities are envisaged
to be organized : i) at school level, involving
children, students and teachers, etc., and ii) at
community level, involving community people,
especially women, weaker sections of the
society, etc. Some activities are indicated below:
i) At School Level
1. Identification of local technological
problem and/or finding its solution.
2. Identification of the need for some
change or modification in the existing
tools households and other such gadgets
to make them more efficient, useful and
3. Identification of local/regional traditional
technologies and collection of information
on them.
4. Constituting technology clubs/forums in
5. Organizing discussions on various
technological issues, such as CNG Vs.
conventional fuels, etc.
6. Designing, developing and making new
educational aids.
7. Collecting
technologies around and motivating
concerned authorities to putting them to
use and in order.
8. Finding the areas where new inventions
are needed, developing ideas and
converting them into reality by making
working model.
9. Some time a new attachment/device can
add to the quality and efficiency of a
machine or equipment; such small
attachments/devices can be thought of
and developed.
10. Organizing
demonstrations, do it yourself activities,
hands on activities, etc. and also
creating/developing such new activities.
11. Writing/preparing technical reports for
documentation and popular scripts for
mass media on the above aspects.
ii) At Community Level
1. Identification
technological problems/issues and finding
their solutions.
2. Involving women, especially from weaker
Panchayat, technology demonstrations,
technology appreciation, etc.
3. Arranging question and answer sessions
with the community people on various
subjects concerning the technologies
generally they use, such as, how does a
plough work, how does a seed driller sow.
4. Technological
technology exhibitions, Jatha can be
developed and organized on specific
5. Mass media can be harnessed for
technology communication. As such,
optimum use of print (newspapers,
magazines, etc.); broadcast (radio,
television); folk (puppetry, theatre, folk
songs, skit, etc.); interactive (lecture,
demonstrations, get together, etc); and
digital (Internet, CD-ROM, diskettes, etc.)
can be undertaken for technology
communication, as well.
6. Organizing
quizzes, etc. on various technological
7. Apart from technology day, some other
days related to technology, can be
celebrated, such as, disasters prevention
day, industrial safety day, etc. Foundation
days of various technological institutions,
industrial establishments, engineering
colleges, polytechnics, etc. can also be
celebrated with an involvement of local
8. Short term awareness programmes can
be organized to especially educate those,
who are exposed or likely to be exposed
to certain industrial hazard, occupational
hazards, etc. People located nearby a
educated about the possible industrial
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
hazards, so that in case of any fault, they
can save their lives and belongings.
10. Conclusion
Indian S&T can play a crucial role in
catalyzing and accelerating the economic and
social development. The comparative advantage
in the globally integrated technology knowledge
based world economy today is becoming more
relevant to those with an aptitude to absorb,
developments in science and technology, with
the traditional knowledge and technology and
harness them for national growth and
advancement. The best alignment of knowledge
and attitude by way of synchronizing head and
hands together to harness the benefits of
precision technology would be crucial for overall
Technology communication is dedicated to
technological developments. This is to augment
the efforts of the nation to channelize us to a
technologically evolved and technologically
thoughtful society. It is to work out and share
better methodologies and strategies for
spreading of technological literacy and
technological temper/aptitude across the society.
It is important to inculcate the technological
attitude especially amongst children in formative
stage with an inherent urge for doing things,
whatsoever it may be, in most finished way. It’ll
allow them to grow with a sharp edge and
contribute towards more conducive and rational
11. References
[1] Patairiya, Manoj, Technology Communication,
NCSTC Communications, May 2001.
[2] ibid, Vigyan Sanchar, Taxsila Publication,
New Delhi, 2001.
[3] Kalra, R.M., Popularization of Science in
Schools, Vikas Publishing House, Delhi,
[4] Einstein, A., Ideas and Opinion. Rupa
Publications, New Delhi, 1991.
[5] UNESCO Source Book for Out-of-school
UNESCO, Paris, 1986.
Learning in Interdisciplinary
(non)Formal Contexts – A Means of
Developing the Students’ Creativity
E. Mănucă, S. Alexandru and R. Gavrilaş
Normal School “Vasile Lupu”, Romania
[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. Our paper presents the way in which
such a solution can be performed at high school
classes. The paper is articulated around the
opportunities of an interdisciplinary project which is
going to be developed on an on-line learning site
which will facilitate the elaboration of a learning unit.
Keywords. E-portofolio, Formal and
Formal/Informal, Interdisciplinary Project.
1. Introduction
The paper we propose derives from a series
of considerations regarding two essential
1. Realities of Romanian educational
system, reflected in a number of statistic
studies and research realised by
specialists of the Institute of Science and
Education Romania and in reports of the
European Commission too.
2. Realities of the European educational
system (Austrian and Spanish in
particular) and European solutions for
rendering the didactic act efficient. These
solutions, their viability and degree of
adaptability – of being performed at the
level of the realities from the Romanian
high school educational system have
been analysed by us within a mobility of
Leonardo da Vinci type, of teachers and
2. Experimental Learning by using ICT
Specialists in educational politics consider
that the realisation of the “postmodern education”
cannot exclude a possible conflict between
“formal education” (the official one) and the
“informal education” (the random one) (Anton
Ilinca). Recent studies have reflected the fact
that the educational institutions responsible in
Romania offer too little attractivity to motivate
young people. [1]
In 2006, in Eurostat EU - Adult Education
Survey it was mentioned the necessity of
transforming a traditional approach into a more
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
centred one on an individual perspective, this
being one of the challenges of the future. In 2008
the European Commission proposes a program
for the 21st century schools [2], insisting on the
necessity of more individualised approach of the
learning process and a more creative use of
evaluation, so that there can be fulfilled, among
other objectives of the strategy of Lisbon, those
which refer to reduction of early school leaving
and improving school attendance.
Regarding the aspect of improving the degree
of the students’ involvement in their own process
of training, we consider that experimental
learning, by using ICT in (non)formal
interdisciplinary contexts is a European
educational solution, viable for the Romanian
educational system as well, and it can lead to the
increase of students’ motivation and the
development of their creativity.
The necessity of cultivating the technological
humanism which refers to the realisation of
equilibrium between the grounding and the
rational-technical and scientific formation of the
students and the release and cultivation of
sensitivity and creativity, determined us to
propose three solutions of experimental learning,
articulated around two concepts: hands on
approach and hands on science.
The paper is articulated around the
opportunities of an interdisciplinary project which
is going to be developed on an on-line learning
site which will facilitate the elaboration of a
learning unit. In this virtual space, both students
and teachers, will be involved in the collaborative
non formal activities which will use, on the one
hand, the theory of the multiple intelligence, the
approach proposed leading to the formation of
key competences for the students and to the
development of their creativity too.
On the other hand, the teachers involved in
the project, some of them having already been
the beneficiaries of the educational program Intel
Teach, where they developed their teaching
skills, by means of the efficient use of
technology, will create contexts of learning so
that the computer and the Internet should be
used as tools of communication of documenting
and development of the students’ creativity, who
will manifest in a active-participant manner. The
opportunities of such an interdisciplinary project,
non formal activity conceived as a natural
prolongation of an interdisciplinary course taught
in class, in an interdisciplinary team, for two
years, emphasise the ideas of the specialists
according to whom, non formal education must
be understood from the perspective necessary to
the complementary and cohesive relation
formal/non formal/informal and not seen in
parallel towards the formal education.
The interdisciplinary project Travellers
through cities of Europe (Romanian, ICT, foreign
languages, History, Geography, Sciences) was
projected as a learning activity and as evaluation
as well on the online site, in this format being
delivered both the theoretical contents and the
products realised by each of the mixed
participant teams (students - teachers). The
participant teams (Romania, Spain, and Austria)
will present their local communities, from the
perspective of the concept La Lecture
Europeenne de la ville (the European city
reading) as Cities of education, Culture and
Science (CECS). The projects realised by each
team will emphasise the relevant aspects of their
cities, from the perspective of history, culture,
education, science justifying the belonging to the
European Community, not only as a
geographical location but as specific ethos,
assuring thus the unity in diversity.
The presentations will use multimedia tools.
The relevant information and contents for the
chosen city’s ethos will respect the rules of the
journalist genre, such as: written/audio/video
reportage, written/audio/video interview, poster,
reportage/virtual photo gallery of presentation of
the important realities for CECS. All these
multimedia products will make up the
presentation portfolio of the students-teachers
3. e-Learning
transnational cooperation
The project represents one of the themes that
will be approached in the first semester of the
school year 2008-2009, in the context of a
multinational Comenius project, where Romania
Lupu”http://elweb2.wordpress.com/pm-romania/ )1 is a
partner together with Italy, Portugal, Germany,
Sweden, Poland and Bulgaria. The project theme
derives from the necessity of developing the
students’ 21st key competences. “E-learning and
Web2 tools as means of enhancing education
cooperation” (http://elweb2.wordpress.com).
The project team consists of : Sebastian Alexandru - I.C.T.
MITeacher (coordinator), Mihaela Ungureanu - teacher of
Pedagogy, school head master, Elena Manuca - MITeacher
of Romanian, Irina Cosovanu - teacher of French, Roxana
Gavrilas - teacher of English.(
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The other themes:
will allow the communication between the
students-teachers teams.
The project proposes to involve in its
developing and implementing a team of 6
teachers and a number of 72 pupils (10% of the
total number of pupils from school). The mobility
will refer to a number of 6 teachers and 18
pupils. The project will allow by our involvement
in an active European partnership to realize a
comparative analysis of the educational systems
from the member countries of the partnership.
The concrete objectives are the following:
educational systems of partner countries
Improving the quality and the European
dimension of continuous training of
Diminishing the rate of school leaving by
stimulating the motivation and the
creativity of pupils who come from
disadvantaged environment
Early learning and profound study of
foreign languages;
We propose the following common tasks
which should actively involve all the participants
to the project:
The problems that we will approach are the
Diversification of the curriculum offer of
the school within the scope of reducing
the rate of school leaving and of
increasing the pupils’ motivation
competences in mother tongue /studied
foreign languages
Developing the intercultural competence
by the realisation of motilities and ecorrespondence
videoconference, forum)
Developing the competence of using the
ICT by means of e-contents and their
inter/transdisciplinary approaches
The ways of approaching /solutioning these
problems and, implicitly of achieving the
proposed objectives, are as follows:
Partnerships through which we aim at
training competent teachers for a United
Training activities for teachers within the
scope of using the new informational
technologies in education;
Offering and developing several optional
inter/transdisciplinary courses which are
to follow the pupils’ development of
linguistic competences by means of
using ICT;
refreshing stages with the teachers from
different curriculum areas, aiming at key
communication, the competence of using
new technologies in education – knowing
the e-learning platforms and developing
new teaching and learning methods for
the pupils capable of performance and,
especially, for those with special needs
or coming from disadvantaged families;
Extraschool activities organised within
the scope of pupils’ knowing of the
culture, traditions and customs of other
peoples and of developing multilinguism;
Activities of communitary voluntariate
within NGOs/associations with an
educational profile.
Realising a common Internet platform for
all the countries involved in the project;
During the first visit that will take place in
one of the project schools, there will be
initiative group to promote the open
collaboration and cooperation. Within
these teams, there will be established
the responsibilities for each participant
country. The theme of the meeting is
“We, Together, in the Cultural Space of
the EU” and has as scope the realisation
of a cultural e-portfolio/a virtual miniencyclopaedia posted on the Internet
platform and its multimedia CD - all
these being especially created for pupils
(a version in the language of the
respective country and one in English).
Realising online seminars by means of
the Internet platform where the teachers
will debate certain themes from different
areas (in the first year of the project
there will be discussed themes related to
the culture of the countries involved in
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
the project)
brochures and multimedia CDs in their
mother tongue and a copy in English to
be exchanged with the other schools
involved in the project about the ethos of
each country involved;
Organising videoconferences between
the schools involved in the project where
the teachers will debate themes related
to the project and will change opinions
and ideas about the development of the
Good practice exchange, methods and
strategies which envisage integrating
ICT in the process of teaching – learning
– evaluation.
Activities of evaluating the project by
realising a forum of talks where all the
involved partners will fill in a form of the
project evaluation.
Activities of promoting and disseminating
the results and the project impact
materialised through the presentation of
the final product on the project site, on
the site of each of the schools involved,
media promotion within the frame of
international conferences/colloquies.
The most important impact is a radical
change of the pupils’ attitude towards school,
towards its role in educating the young. On the
other hand, by means of the intercultural
dialogue that it wants to open, this project aims
at a more profound awareness of the pupils and
of the teachers. Through the proposed activities,
there will be developed the team spirit and
underlined the civilizing role that the school
should have in the society, which ensures the
developing of key competences for life. The
pupils will develop linguistic competences and
competences of using ICT, they will acquire
abilities of coordinating and organizing different
extra curriculum activities where they will
become motivated, creative, will promote their
own cultural values and will attribute and refresh
the techniques of using ICT within the scope of
enlarging the information horizon.
The pupils actively involved in the working
teams, coming from under-privileged social
environment, will also have an experience that
will open new perspectives in developing their
career and personality, providing them with
competences and abilities necessary to the
social insertion as future graduates.
The free time will be used for education in
several workshops, voluntariate activities, thus
offering the only viable alternative, favourable for
learning in a (non)formal environment and of
communication in a relaxed and creative
The teachers will be much more involved in
the community life, affectively and effectively
approaching it by raising the interest in using in
education modern methods of informing/NICT, of
adapting the learning contents to the pupils’ real
needs, of disseminating the good practice shared
by the partner teachers of the project, of
spending extra hours with the pupils outside
Within the project that responds to the needs
of teachers’ and trainers’ training, we will have in
view the following concrete measures:
¾ Activities of learning and profound study
of foreign languages within the scope of
promoting multilinguism in a multicultural
Europe by using PROLANG platform;
¾ Stages of teacher training within the
scope of developing abilities of using ICT
in the didactical activity and integrating
new technologies in the process of
teaching, learning, analysis, comparison
and exchange of methods and
pedagogical good practice;
¾ Partnerships through which we aim at
developing the intercultural competences
of the teachers and of the civic spirit;
¾ Workshops
encyclopaedias/educational soft within
the scope of finding some flexible and
balanced ways of their using in didactical
¾ Stages of presenting and using the elearning platforms and of developing
new methods and web 2.0 instruments
of teaching and learning for the pupils
capable of performance as well as for
those with special needs or coming from
disadvantaged families;
¾ Educational fairs organized to create and
integrated in the educational offer of the
¾ Online Summer School - ELITSCIENCEChallenges within the European Space,
proposed by a team of teachers from
“Vasile Lupu” Normal School, is
articulated around two concepts hands
on approach and hands on science,
which organize identically and practically
interdisciplinary manner.
The project will be launched at a national and
international level (within the active partnership
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
with the project schools), and then it actually
develops online, for three months, when there
are a series of individual or group activities, with
a diverse topic, of common interest for the young
teenagers. The online journalism school will end
with a competition on interdisciplinary projects –
multimedia applications which will be evaluated
by a jury formed from professionals from different
areas (science, literature, audio-video-written
journalism, photographic art, film direction). All
the projects realized during this summer school
will be the object of a final product, which will be
distributed to the schools involved in this network
of active partnership that we will initiate, as an
example of educational extra curriculum good
practice, valuing the multiple possibilities of NICT
in motivating and developing the pupils’ learning
Extra curriculum activities of creating
corporatist blogs/e-portfolios through
which we aim at e-communicating in the
web space.
The teachers’ role will be that of facilitators in
the activity of the pupils involved in the project,
during its entire period, as follows:
¾ In the implementation stage, by
developing the activities proposed
(debates, exchange of innovative
practice, realizing and bringing up-todate the project site, organizing the
online summer school, corroborating the
activities with those of the partners)
¾ In the evaluation and dissemination
stage, by realizing the final product,
posting it on the school site and
magazine, presenting all the multimedia
products on the platform of the E-lit
Science online summer school, the press
conference, presenting the project within
pedagogical meetings, national and
Bucharest, Hands-on-Science, Portugal,
The direct access to the online site to all eportfolios created by the participants will facilitate
the realisation of an intercultural change, the
project being, from this perspective, an efficient
and motivating modality for students to use
cultural diversity, of strengthening the interest for
the process of self-training, by using modern
educational methods, ICT, a viable solution for
the development of the competences of
communication-interrelation, of developing team
working spirit, of making the individual
responsible within the group, of increasing the
degree of empathy teacher – students and,
implicitly, a modality of dissemination of the good
practice models identified within the project.
5. References
[1] Costea, Octavia, editor. Contribuţia educaţiei
nonformale la dezvoltarea competenţelor de
comunicareale elevilor, Bucuresti, Institutul de
Stiinte ale Educatiei; vol II, 2004.
[2] Improving competences for the 21st century:
a program for European cooperation in
2 en.htm
[3] http://roinfocds.blogspot.com,
performed at the philology classes of the last
2 years of high school, for 2006-2008, by
prof. Elena Mănucă, trainer Centre
Educatia2000+, prof. Sevastian Alexandru
and prof. Roxana Gavrilaş.
4. Conclusion
The project results and products will be used
for the dissemination of the project as well as in
the pupils’ and teachers’ practice by exploiting
the key competences – competence of
communicating in the mother tongue/foreign
languages, competence of using ICT, by
continuing the partnerships with the partner
institutions, by starting other partnerships at both
national and international level.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Learning by Doing.
Filling Children with Enthusiasm for
Scientific Discovery
N. Erentay
Foundation School, Middle East Technical
University (METU)
06531, Ankara, Turkey
[email protected]
Abstract. Many organizations around the world
have programs to improve science education in
primary and secondary level schools. TUBA
(Turkish Academy of Sciences) members have
participated in international seminars on this
Following a meeting with field experts, a
summer conference was organized for science
teachers in 2004. An innovative pilot study in
Turkey was initiated in 2006 under the
coordination of TUBA.
The purpose of this paper is to give a short
history of the Science Education Project initiated
by TUBA and to give examples of unique
approaches and teaching methods which
encourage students’ active participation in
learning science, that have been shared during
the meetings and workshops coordinated.
Keywords. Science Education Project, Learning
by Doing, Educational Website, Development of
Scientific Resources.
1. Introduction to Project
In order to determine a strategy for improving
primary science education, TUBA’s Science
Education Commission held a meeting with field
experts on 9 May 2004. The following points of
view were adopted at this meeting:
ƒ Setting up a portal on science education
which will provide easily accessible materials
for teachers and will also enable them to
share the teaching methods they use
ƒ Organizing a summer school for science
teachers to enhance their own development
by exposure to new teaching methods
ƒ Promoting the foundation of science
centres in Anatolia to awaken the interest of
people towards science
ƒ Cooperating with schools to develop
alternative means and practices before the
university level to help students grow a liking
for science by also using technical tools, and
to combat the system of education based on
memorizing. [1]
Cooperation with different foundations and
institutions is envisaged within the framework of
this program and certain relationships have
already been set up. As a first step, a summer
conference was organized for 14 primary school
science teachers in Istanbul, between 29 August
and 4 September 2004. Following this summer
conference for teachers, a pilot study in Turkey
was initiated in 2006 under the coordination of
Prof. Dr. Yücel Kanpolat in Ankara. A series of
conferences, the first of which was held by Prof.
Dr. Kanpolat himself, were conducted for the
teachers. Prof. Dr. Yves Quere, who is a leading
name in the Science Education Movement in
France, was invited to Turkey. He delivered
presentations in Ankara on 17-18 April, 2007 and
in Istanbul on 19-20 April, 2007. In these
presentations, Prof. Dr. Yves Quere presented
how the ‘La main A La Pate’ (LAMAP - Learning
by Doing) Program was initiated in France, its
goals and the responsibilities of the teachers in
this program. He shared case stories based on
his own experiences. The teachers in the
participant schools acquired some first-hand
information and hands-on experiences through
these presentations. [1,2,3]
Following the conferences, evaluation
meetings were organized with the participation of
four primary schools. It was agreed that the each
participating school would deliver presentations
through which they would share examples of
their unique approaches related to science
education. First presentations were made by four
selected primary schools in Ankara in 2007
through which valuable exchanges and new
ideas were obtained and which, more recently,
led to an evaluation meeting with the same
schools. The second round of presentations with
the schools occurred in 2008. A regional
workshop with the participation of teachers both
from primary and government schools, scientists
and officials from Turkish Ministry of Education
took place in Zonguldak, Turkey between 25 and
29 June, 2008. [1]
2. Inquiry-based science teaching
Learning by doing is based on the personal
investigation which helps pupils develop
cognitive processes as well as the sense of
curiosity and creativity. In front of new and
unexpected concrete situations, they are invited
to reason, argue and question the nature itself,
thus building up a new relationship to the
sensitive world and to the "truth". Inquiry-based
them to
communication skills, through open debates in
the classrooms, and with the teacher. Instead of
the classical schemes of memorization and
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
concentration of scientific concepts or formulas,
the proposed methodology insists on the
appropriation of knowledge through the individual
investigation and questioning attitude, leading
the children to learn by experimenting in
partnership with the teacher.
A progressive and interdisciplinary approach
of science is favoured in a close collaboration
between pupils and teachers. Instead of
accumulating large amounts of knowledge,
teachers are encouraged to make the children
appropriate the scientific concepts and
experimental techniques through their own
process of investigation. [2,3]
3. Interdisciplinary projects and activities
A number of scientific projects, unique
approaches and teaching methods which
encourage students’ active participation in
learning science have been shared during the
coordinated by TUBA since 2006. Teachers were
invited to present their interdisciplinary activities
in an integrated teaching, which allows students
to reinforce their knowledge in various fields and
practice exciting science at the same time.
Four examples of these activities presented
by selected primary schools in Ankara in 2007
which successfully contributed to renovate the
manner of teaching science in these schools are
stated as follows. [1]
3.1. ‘Children as Researchers’ Project
Presented by: Private Arı Schools
In the 2006-2007 educational term, Arı
Primary School was involved in The European
Union’s Lifelong Learning / Comenius Program.
The project represents six different European
Regions, Turkey, Sweden, United Kingdom,
Norway, Lithuania and Latvia.
3.1.1 Aim of the Project
The aim of the project is to explore, compare
and identify the best ways to teach young
students in primary schools and preschools the
skills they need to become active researchers
and how this can be further developed and
embedded in their curricula
3.1.2. Integration of the Project into the
ICT (MS Power point presentation,
MS Excel, general MS Word skills)
3.1.3. Method
In April 2007, an educational program was
conducted at Arı Primary School. The teaching
program was made up of twelve sessions with
eighteen students and ten teachers. For three
sessions, the aim and the process of research
methods and the skills were discussed with the
Table 1. The research questions framed by the students
No of
(Class) Students
Research Topics
Why do babies cry?
Is coke harmful?
Why is it sold in schools?
How should class
arrangement be?
Why do people do
Which is more interesting
Mathematics or English?
Do students like using
Why do people blink their
Why do people listen to
the music or sing?
Are you prepared for an
Studying processes of eighteen students,
from different age levels in the study group, were
evaluated within the context of following criteria:
The pilot group of eighteen students was
selected from first grade through seventh grade.
Initially, students were informed about the steps
of research techniques. In groups of two, they
framed a research question and prepared their
research plans.
The students collected data for their research
study through interviews, observations and
questionnaires over a period of three weeks.
After the data analysis stage, the students wrote
their own research reports and disseminated
their findings.
Literacy (guided reading, analysis of
text and report writing)
analyse data)
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Table 2. The Evaluation Criteria
• Students’ readiness to begin,
continue and conclude studying.
• Being ambitious to study
• Being in need of the guidance
from teacher or parents
• Using oral ability, having
the ability of self expression
• Participation into the group
• Having
• Studying independently
3.1.4. Conclusion
Study results showed that little grades
needed more help from their teachers or parents.
However, they were so excited and enthusiastic
about the Project.
When their ages were getting upper, they had
more bias about their school life, and they could
be unwilling during the Project from time to time.
All students finished the Project successfully
and stated that they would research another
topic. This study showed that, teacher’s
guidance was very important for students and
they needed it. We decided to carry out the
Project as extracurricular activity as research
3.1.5. Evaluation and discussion
As some of the findings, which were obtained
at the end of the project implication period,
pointed out students gained:
ƒ critical thinking skills
ƒ study
management, analysis, evaluation
ƒ creativity
ƒ communication skills
ƒ heightened ethical awareness
ƒ motivation
ƒ raised self-esteem
ƒ independent learning
Once completed,
ƒ created a critical mass of research by
children and young people
ƒ provided a unique ‘insider’ child
ƒ informed our understanding of
childhood and children’s lives.
3.2. ‘Experiment and Observation’ Presented
by Elementary School of Tevfik Fikret
3.2.1. Stating the Problem
At the beginning of the lesson, a problem is
introduced to the students. They face with
problems for which they have to find a solution
through experimentations and debates in a team.
For example, the lesson starts with a question
like; ‘How can you change brightness of a bulb?’
The answers are discussed among the students
and the teacher. A second key question as ‘Can
you change brightness of a bulb by keeping all
elements of the circuit constant? And how?’
Follows the first one.
3.2.2. Seeking Solutions
The second step is to help the students build
a bridge between the problem case and the daily
life experiences by raising a question as ‘Is it
necessary to change brightness of a bulb in daily
Some of the students’ answers to this
question are as follows:
Figure 1. The students in Arı College collecting data for
their research study
Ugurcan: “We can save the electricity by
adjusting the brightness of a bulb depending on
the sunshine.”
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Mehmet Ege: “While babies are sleeping, the
intense light disturbs them. Thus, we can adjust
the brightness of a bulb.”
3.2.3. Testing hypothesis
ƒ Small groups are formed in order to
test the hypothesis. Each group is given
electricity circuit equipments.
ƒ Following instruction is given to the
‘Examine the circuit equipment and try to
change brightness of a bulb by keeping
battery and bulb constant’
3.2.5. Class discussion
Finally, the question of “How can this
knowledge affect our daily life?” is asked to the
students. An example of the answers is stated as
Ekin: “While I was utilizing devices at home, I
noticed the length of wire because resistant was
proportional to the length of the wire.”
3.3. ‘Expansion and Contraction’ Presented
by: METU Development Foundation
3.3.1. Science Activities in K-3
ƒ Then, ‘changing conductive wire in the
circuit’ is suggested to the students.
Each group is given:
- two wires at same length and same crosssection, but different type
- two wires at same length and same type,
but different cross- section
- two wires at same cross-section and same
type, but different length
ƒ Students are asked to take notes of
their observations during the experiment.
METU Foundation School is associated with
Middle East Technical University. Science
activities are performed in K-3.
These activities are:
ƒ in parallel with other disciplines
ƒ conducted with the collaboration of
home teachers.
ƒ integrated with Social Studies
ƒ based on inquiry based learning
ƒ hands-on experiments
ƒ enjoyable for students and provide
positive attitude towards science
3.3.2. General Frame of a Sample Activity
Title: Expansion and Contraction
Grade level: 3 rd grade
The program is free and implemented in every
two weeks.
Conceptual Strand: Most materials expand
(enlarge) when heated, contract (shrink) when
Guiding Question: ‘What causes
materials to expand and contract?’
Figure 2. The students in Elementary School of Tevfik
Fikret are testing hypothesis
3.2.4. Conclusion
Each student is expected to reach a
conclusion of the experiment based on his/her
own observations and to share his/her ideas with
each other.
Objectives: Based on the topic ’expansion and
Students carry out;
- investigations using inquiry based
- hands-on laboratory investigations,
- group activities.
ƒ Students are afforded the opportunity
to apply knowledge and prerequisite
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
skills, habits of mind needed for problem
An experiment is conducted in the classroom
in order for the students to observe the
expansion and contraction.
They develop critical thinking skills.
During this experiment;
Performance Indicators:
At Level 3, the student is able to:
ƒ explore thermal
ƒ carry out hands-on experiments
through the use of everyday tools.
ƒ solve problems related to expansion
and contraction in daily life.
3.3.3. Application in the Classroom
At the beginning of the activity, a problem is
introduced to the students as the first step. The
students respond to the question of ‘How can
you open the squeezed lid of a jar?’ by several
answers during the debate. One example of the
answers has been noted as follows:
Student: ‘We put the jar into the hot water and
then into the cold water, the lid of the jar
becomes loose and opens as if saying: I cannot
stand anymore!.’
3.3.4. Sample Case
Two pictures that illustrate the position of
electric wires both in summer and winter in the
same area, is shown to the students by their
teacher and the question of ’What causes the
electric wires sag?’ is followed. The students
search for the answers and bring their personal
experiences into the debate by saying for
ƒ Fifteen cm of clear tape is stuck to
the dull side of aluminium foil.
ƒ This bi-material strip is held over a
candle, keeping it high enough over the
flame to avoid frying it.
ƒ The question of ‘What happens and
why?’ is asked to the students.
The students discover the fact that different
materials expand by different amounts and at
different rates. The bi-material strip bends toward
its aluminium side as it heats up; away from its
aluminium side as it cools down. On heating, the
tape expands faster, bending towards the slightly
shorter aluminium. On cooling, the tape contracts
faster, bending away from the slightly longer
3.3.6. Solving the Problem
At this stage, the question of ‘How do you
think you can open the lid now?’ is asked to the
students. Without any scientific background, they
have to question, search for the answers,
speculate how it may be opened, give arguments
to support their speculations, draw conclusions
and finally learn the scientific investigation
process. By experimenting, they put the jar
upside down into a bowl filled with hot water. The
lid enlarges and leaves the jar.
‘‘The wires are getting closer in winter.’
‘As far as my father is concerned, the rails...’
And the discussions are made about the
3.3.5. Experimental Investigation: Expansion
and Contraction of Bi-Material Tape
The students build hypotheses which they
have to test through new experiments. The
experiments are defined by the teacher in order
to help the students. They explore their path step
by step before reaching the final solution.
Figure 3. The students in METU Foundation School are
separating two locked glasses
3.3.7. Applying the Knowledge
Finally, a number of new problems that may
have been originated from the students’ personal
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
experiences are discussed with the students.
They then are asked to search for the solutions
through experimental methods. The sample
problems and questions are as follows:
Problem 1: The glasses are locked.
Question: How can you separate two locked
Problem 2: In summer, glasses become loose
and drop.
Question: Can you think of any solution for
3.3.8. Conclusion
Stating the problem
focus on learning and provides appropriate
feedback for each student team. Being hands-on
and student-centred, problem solving approach
is a very effective method for the students to use
their critical thinking skills and practice working in
Problem solving approach has a structured
format of different stages when compared to
inquiry based learning which has an open format
that allows students to create their own learning
Teaching methods that incorporate problem
solving approach and inquiry based learning may
be used at schools since both methods have
proved that they are promising practices.
3.4. ‘Science Camp’ Presented by: Ankara
University Development Foundation
Primary School
3.4.1. Description of the Study
Bringing personal experience
1. Predicting 2. Performing
3. Observing 4. Recording
Sixty one students from 7th grade and thirty
teachers from Ankara University Development
Foundation School took part in Science Camp
Project in 2008-2009 educational year. Prior to
the camp activities, preparatory meetings were
organized by the school twice. The students
were divided into groups of ten. Groups were
guided by their teacher and took after the name
of a famous scientist. The students researched
for the biography of the scientist and prepared
the posters illustrating his/her work. The camp
lasted for one and a half day during the weekend
at the school backwoods.
3.4.2. Aim of the Project
Simple evaluation
Drawing conclusion
Transferring to life
Solving similar problems
The aim of the Science Camp Project is to
create a nature based learning environment in
which, through outdoor activities, the students:
ƒ explore the dynamics of natural
scientific processes
ƒ learn scientific methods by example
ƒ learn actively through increased
interest and curiosity
ƒ practice hands-on and minds on
activities which encourage them to ask
and experiment questions
ƒ develop their skills in student-student
and student-teacher social interaction
In problem solving approach, the teacher
takes on a different role as compared to
traditional teaching methods. In this approach,
the teacher is a guide. The guide maintains to
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
3.4.3. Science Activities at the Camp
Name of the Activity
Let’s Make Cookies
Nature and Science
Food Webs
The Relationship Between the Beak
Shape and the Feeding Type of the
Rodents and Insects
Physics, Behind the Natural
Phenomena All Around Us
Observing Sky
3.4.6. Data Collection and Findings
Immediately prior to and after completing the
camp activities, pre and post tests were
administrated to the students. The findings were
stated as:
3.4.4. Competitions and Games at the Camp
Name of the Activity
Science Station
Creating a Frog Model
A Sandbag of 100 kg
Can You Take An Egg Down Without
‘The Best Scientist’ Presentation
‘The Best Plant’ Photography Competition
‘The Best Animal’ Photography Competition
‘The Most Attractive Activity’ Photography
‘The Funniest Memory of the Camp’
Photography Competition
‘The Most Interesting Memory of the Camp’
Photography Competition
3.4.5. Artistic Activities at the Camp
Name of the Activity
Art Workshop
Tale Webs and Shadow Games
Creating a Camp Picture
( Painting Activity )
Figure 4. Students at Science Camp
3.4.7. Evaluation and Sustainability
In the Science Camp for two years, it was
observed that the students started to look at the
nature from different edges, to be more curious,
to ask more questions, and to be more interested
in scientists’ life. In order for Science Camp
Project to be more sustainable, Science Camp
was generalized by Scientific Committee. An
update / revise in the camp program, according
to students’ outcomes changed in per year, was
accepted as main principle of sustainability.
Extending the length of the camp and
disseminating the camp to every topic were
viewed as the issues needed to be developed.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
4. Conclusion
Science Education Project: A Nation-Wide
In the future, TUBA hopes to help teachers by
specialists and teachers dealing with students
aged four to eight in Turkish schools through an
educational portal (website). This website will be
based on the framework of the Science
Education Project. From the web site, the
teachers will be able to access resources and
activities for the classrooms, documentations,
ask questions and exchange information with
their colleagues and scientists. They will also be
linked to the world of research through this site.
Development of scientific resources and
international projects will be encouraged.
5. References
[1] www.tuba.gov.tr
[2] http://www.lamap.fr
[3] http://www.mapmonde.org
Partitive Mixing of Colours Interactive
R. Veiga1, R. Correia2 and J.S. Esteves1
Dept. of Industrial Electronics
University of Minho, Campus of Azurém
4800-058 Guimarães (Portugal)
Francisco de Holanda Secondary School
4800-058 GUIMARÃES
[email protected],
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. Rotating a disk with differently
coloured sectors is a well-known means of
achieving partitive mixing of colours. Most
educational devices applying this technique use
a single motor that spins only one disk at a time,
requiring different disks to be swapped between
them. This paper describes an interactive device
equipped with five motors, each one holding its
own disk. These motors can be switched on
individually, allowing more than one disk to rotate
at the same time. Some fundamentals on colour
mixing are introduced. A few construction details
are given, too. The device, built for a science
exhibition, has also been used in the classroom.
Keywords. Colour science, Colour Mixing,
Additive Mixing, Partitive Mixing, RGB, Newton’s
Colour Circle, Maxwell Triangle, Maxwell Disks.
1. Introduction
Partitive mixing of colours is a type of additive
mixing of colours and can be achieved by a
spinning disk with differently coloured sectors.
Most educational devices with such rotating
disks use a single motor fitted with an adaptor
capable of holding only one disk at a time. So,
different disks must be swapped between them.
This paper describes an interactive device
equipped with five motors, each one holding its
own disk. These motors can be switched on
individually, which allows more than one disk to
rotate at the same time.
The device (Figure 1) was built for the Mostra
Interactiva de Ciência e Tecnologia2 (Interactive
Exhibition of Science and Technology) –
integrating part of the Projecto Ciência na
Cidade de Guimarães (Science in Guimarães
City Project). Since then, it has been used in
demonstrations in several schools.
Section 2 introduces some fundamentals on
colour mixing. Section 3 lists the main materials
Mostra Interactiva de Ciência e Tecnologia, Palácio Vila
Flor, Guimarães, Portugal, April 14 – 20, 2008.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
used to build the device. Section 4 gives some
details on the construction and operation of the
device. Section 5 contains the conclusions of the
paper. After the acknowledgements in Section 6,
a list of references is given in Section 7.
coloured lights is called additive colour mixing [1,
2, 3].
Additive mixing of different quantities of red,
green and blue colours produces a wide range of
colours, which can be displayed inside an RGB
Maxwell Triangle (Figure 3).
2. Colour Mixing
It is common knowledge that mixing blue and
yellow paints produces green paint. However,
mixing proper amounts of blue and yellow lights
produces a white light (Figure 2). In fact, there is
a fundamental difference between mixing
pigments or dyes and mixing lights.
Line segments r, g and b are perpendicular to GB, BR
and RG sides of the equilateral triangle, respectively.
The lengths of these line segments represent the
quantities of red, green and blue required to produce
the colour displayed at the intersection of the segments.
Figure 3. The Maxwell Triangle
Figure 1. Showing the device in the Mostra Interactiva de
Ciência e Tecnologia (Interactive Exhibition of Science
and Technology)
Mixtures of pigments or dyes are, usually,
complicated processes which results are ruled by
their power to subtract certain regions of the
spectrum from the incident light [1, 2, 3]. For this
reason, the mixing of pigments or dyes is called
subtractive colour mixing.
Figure 2. Mixing proper amounts of blue (B) and yellow
(Y) lights produces a white (W) light
The wavelengths of two or more coloured
lights seen together are added. So, the mixing of
Cyan, magenta, yellow and white colours can
be produced by the following additive mixtures
(Figure 4):
• Mixing balanced green and blue lights
produces a cyan light;
• Mixing balanced blue and red lights
produces a magenta light;
• Mixing balanced red and green lights
produces a yellow light;
• Mixing balanced red, green and blue
lights produces a white light.
Red, green and blue are additive primary
colours. Each of these colours cannot be
produced by any additive mixture of the other
two. Cyan, magenta and yellow are secondary
colours, produced by mixtures of two primary
colours. White is a tertiary colour, since it is
produced by a mixture of all three primary
colours. The positions of these seven colours on
the Maxwell Triangle are shown on Figure 5.
2.1. Partitive mixing with coloured disks
Isaac Newton separated white daylight into a
sequence of coloured lights divided into seven
colour regions, called Spectrum, and proposed a
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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diagram such that a rectangular spectrum is bent
into a cylinder and then viewed in cross-section
[4]. This diagram [5] is known as Newton’s
Colour Circle (Figure 6).
sectors (disks with different combinations of red,
green and blue sectors are known as Maxwell
disks). However, rotating disks can only produce
greyish white, as will be explained.
Obtaining a colour by rotating a disk with
differently coloured sectors belongs to a type of
additive mixing of colours known as partitive
mixing. The amount of each colour in the mixture
result is proportional to the sum of the areas of
the sectors it occupies in the disk [3, 4]. As a
result, the brightness of the mixture is lesser than
the one obtained with simple additive mixing [6].
Figure 4. Obtaining cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and
white (W) lights from mixtures of red (R), green (G) and
blue (B) lights
Figure 6. Newton’s Colour Circle [5]
Figure 5. Positions of red (R), green (G), blue (B), cyan
(C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and white (W) colours on the
Maxwell Triangle
The proof that all the spectral colours could
be recombined to form white light is also due to
Newton [4]. One approach to accomplish this
recombination consists of rapidly rotating a disk
containing sectors with the colours existing on
Newton’s Colour Circle. The device described in
this paper has a disk with 7 colours in 14 sectors.
It would also be expectable to obtain white by
rotating a disk with balanced red, green and blue
In expressions (1), (2), (3) and (4):
• Rdisk, Gdisk and Bdisk are the brightness of
red (R), green (G) and blue (B) primaries
in the mixtures obtainable using RGB
rotating disks with the coloured sectors
configurations used in the interactive
device (Figure 7);
• Rdisk, Gdisk and Bdisk are the brightness of
red (R), green (G) and blue (B) primaries
in each disk surface.
= G
+ G
= G
⎪⎪ mixture 4 disk 4 disk 2 disk
GB disk ⎨
Bdisk + Bdisk = Bdisk
mixture =
⎪⎪R mixture = 4 R disk + 4 R disk = 2 R disk
RB disk ⎨
= B
+ B
= B
⎪⎩ mixture 4 disk 4 disk 2 disk
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⎪⎪R mixture = 4 R disk + 4 R disk = 2 R disk
RG disk ⎨
= G
+ G
= G
⎪⎩ mixture 4 disk 4 disk 2 disk
⎪R mixture = 3 R disk
RGB disk ⎨G mixture = G disk
⎪B mixture = 3 Bdisk
Stopped Disks
Spinning Disks
The brightness of the mixture produced by the
tricolour RGB disk is only 1/3 of the brightness
obtainable with simple additive mixing of its red,
green and blue primaries. Moreover, disks use
paints and not light sources. Since mixing paints
is a “subtraction process due to absorption and
scattering, the surface becomes less reflective
and can give grayish shades only” [4].
3. Materials used to build the device
The main materials used to build the device
were the following:
• 4 metallic disks with RGB sectors
(diameter: 10cm) (Figure 8 and Figure 9);
• 1 metallic disk with 7 colours in 14 sectors
(diameter: 9,7cm) (Figure 8 and Figure 9);
• 5 inox push buttons (Figure 10);
• 5 permanent magnet 3V DC motors
(Figure 11);
• 5 brass adapters (Figure 12);
• 1 Bonfil wooden sketch box with 39cm x
31cm x 7,5cm (Figure 13);
• 1 DC socket (Figure 14);
• 1 HQ non-regulated 500mA power supply
(3V output selected), ref. P.SUP.02-HQ;
• 1 plywood board with 28,5cm x 36,8cm x
Other materials include black paint, glue and
electric wire.
4. Some details on the device construction
and operation
Figure 8. The device has five metallic disks with coloured
Figure 7. RGB disks coloured sectors configurations and
colours obtainable with spinning disks: shady cyan (SC),
shady magenta (SM), shady yellow (SY) and grey (GR)
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Figure 11. Permanent magnet 3V DC motor
Figure 9. All disks can rotate at the same time
The device has five metallic disks with
coloured sectors (Figure 8). These disks were
already described in Section 3. They are
activated independently from each other and can
rotate all at the same time (Figure 9).
Each disk is set to rotate by pressing a
specific push button (Figure 10), which switches
on the DC motor (Figure 11) attached to the disk.
A brass adapter (Figure 12) was used to attach
each disk to its motor.
As expected, the colours obtained with
rotating disks have low brightness (Figure 9).
The two-colour GB, RB and RG disks produce
dark cyan, dark magenta and dark yellow. The
tricolour RGB disk produces a brownish shade
and the 7 colours disk produces a pale grey that
is a much better approximation to white.
Figure 12. Brass adapter
Figure 10. Inox push button
Ten holes were drilled in a plywood board, in
order to hold the DC motors and the push
buttons. The board was painted in black before
the mounting of the motors and the push buttons.
Once the motors and the push buttons were in
place, the plywood board was accommodated
inside a wooden sketch box (Figure 13).
A DC socket placed in the rear of the box
(Figure 14) allows an external DC power supply
to feed the device.
The schematic of the circuit formed by the
power supply, motors and push buttons is shown
in Figure 15.
Figure 13. Bonfil wooden sketch box
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
6. Acknowledgements
The device construction was funded by the
Projecto Ciência na Cidade de Guimarães
(Science in Guimarães City Project), which was
sponsored by the Programa Ciência Viva (Living
Science Program). The authors are grateful to
Pedro Souto, Filomena Soares, João Sepúlveda
and Maria Rodrigues for their support.
Figure 14. A DC socket placed in the rear of the box
allows an external DC power supply to feed the device
Figure 15. Schematic of the circuit formed by the power
supply, motors (M1 – M5) and push buttons (K1 – K5)
5. Conclusions
An interactive device, suitable to demonstrate
partitive mixing of colours, has been presented. It
uses the following rotating disks:
• Three two-colour, four sectors, RGB
• One tricolour, three sectors, RGB disk;
• One 7 colours, 14 sectors disk.
The device is equipped with five motors that
can be switched on individually and each motor
holds its own disk. So, more than one disk can
rotate at the same time. It is even possible to
make all disks rotate at once.
Some fundamentals on colour mixing were
introduced. A few construction and operation
details were given, too.
The colours obtained with rotating disks have
low brightness, which is inherent to this way of
accomplishing partitive mixing of colours:
• Two-colour RGB disks produce shady
cyan, shady magenta and shady yellow;
• The tricolour RGB disk produces a
brownish shade;
• The 7 colours disk produces a pale grey
that is a much better approximation to
white than the colour produced by the
tricolour RGB disk.
The device has been successfully used in
science exhibitions and in the classroom.
7. References
[1] McLaren, K.; The Colour Science of Dyes ad
Pigments (2nd ed.); Adam Higler Ltd., 1986.
[2] McDonald, R., Colour Physics for Industry;
Society of Dyers and Colourists, 1987.
[3] Lucas, J; Valldeperas, J.; Hawkyard, C.; Van
Parys, M.; Viallier, P. and Carneiro; N.,
Colour Measurement – Fundamentals (Vol.
I); Eurotex, 1996.
[4] Choudhury, A., Kumar R., Modern Concepts
Publishers, Inc., 2000.
[5] Newton, I., Optics: or, a treatise of the
reflexions, refractions, inflexions and colours
of light. Also two treatises of the species and
magnitude of curvilinear figures, London,
Printed for Sam Smith, and Benj. Walford,
[6] Briggs, D., Partitive Mixing; The Dimensions
of Colour (online); 2007.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Developing a Sense of
Connectedness to the Natural World:
Latest Impressions from the Unique
and Universal Project
N. Erentay
Foundation School
Middle East Technical University (METU)
06531, Ankara, Turkey
[email protected]
Abstract. The Unique and Universal Project is a
global environmental project which uses hands
on and minds on science activities to help
children aged ten to fourteen explore the
interrelationships in nature through the use of
scientific processes. The project was initiated by
METU Foundation School, Ankara, in 2005 and
has been coordinated by this school since then.
Three primary schools located in Turkey, the
USA and Romania have been involved in the
The aim of this paper is to summarize the
latest developments in the third year of the
Unique and Universal Project and to share
examples from the Project to illustrate the impact
of the Project on students and the natural
environment. The long-term goal of this project is
to demonstrate the importance of having
students develop a sense of their own
connectedness to the natural world so that they
will become stewards of the world of which they
are a part. By learning in the “outdoor
classroom”, students develop new ways of
gaining knowledge that are currently not being
developed in the “indoor classroom”.
Keywords. Endangered Species, Threatened
Habitats, Connectedness to Natural World,
Monitoring Water Quality, Scientific Processes.
1. Introduction to Project
The Unique and Universal Project has two
closely related dimensions; studying endangered
species and studying their habitats.
Within the frame of the project, a threatened
wetland ecosystem in the vicinity of the school
and an endangered species living in that area
are chosen as the target area and the target
species to be studied scientifically by the student
teams and their teachers.
At the beginning of the educational year, a
plan for the year is constructed with the
contributions of project coordinator and students.
During regular field trips organized to local
wetlands, water quality tests are conducted,
findings are recorded, the results of the tests are
interpreted, the cause and effect relationships on
the ecosystem are interpreted, problems are
brainstormed. Meanwhile, research is carried out
and reports are written by the students to learn
the characteristics of the chosen species and the
threatened area. With this information, the
students consider the question of how the
studied habitats can be enhanced to improve the
survival rates of the selected species and share
their thoughts in letters to students in other
schools in the Project.
Figure 1. Turkish team planting seeds
It is hoped that students will have a continuing
collaboration throughout the year. Through the
scientific research carried out by the students
they develop an understanding of the cause and
effect relationships found in nature and the
students learn to interpret these relationships.
Students also develop an important sense of
caring for and belonging to the natural world
which they then want to protect and enhance. In
this way, students increase their awareness of
and develop positive attitudes towards
endangered species and threatened habitats
through the project. At the beginning and the end
of each term, assessments are given to
determine if students are meeting the
established project outcomes through their work
in the Unique and Universal Project.
1.1. Brief Summary of Selected species and
study sites
The selected species and the habitats
studied by the student teams from three
schools located in Turkey, Romania and the
USA are summarized as follows:
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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1st Year
Mogan Lake
2nd Year
2nd Year
Eymir Lake
3rd Year
3rd Year
Yenihisar Pool
1st Year
Ardea cinerea Tur Valley
2nd Year
2nd Year
Rana lessonae
3rd Year
Iris pseudocorus
shared with the other schools. In this way, each
school has the same information and can see
the progress over the years.
3rd Year
Carei plain
1st, 2nd and 3rd 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Chesapeake Bay
plexippus, its
nectar and larval
Figure 3. Romanian team at field in 2008
Table 1. Summary of studied species and sites in three
The characteristics of the endangered
species are researched, the species are
observed on field trips, findings are recorded by
the students. Then presentations are prepared
and delivered at regular meetings and shared
electronically with project partners [1,2,3,4,5,6].
A standard report format for endangered
species has been constructed by the project
Figure 2. Turkish team examining Crocus anycrensis at
field in 2008
As soon as each form is filled in with the
characteristics of the species, the form is
Figure 4. American team developing a “Certified
Monarch Waystation” in the school butterfly garden 2008
Figure 5. Ankara Cigdemi (Crocus anycrensis)
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1.2. Short Descriptions of Study Species
Ankara Cigdemi (Ankara Crocus) (scientific
name; Crocus anycrensis) was chosen as target
species by METU College in the third year
(2007-2008) of the U&U Project in Turkey.
Ankara Crocus, is a pure golden-orange to
sun-yellow species native of Turkey, so often
categorized as an "early spring" bloomer. It often
blooms either in January or in April.
considered a “weed” by many humans and is
not allowed to grow. We decided to build a
“Certified Monarch Way Station” so that we
could attract Monarchs, encourage the
population to grow, and teach each other about
their life cycle. We also hope to tag the newly
hatched adults before releasing them on their
long 4500 km migration to Mexico in
September and October.’
"The golden crocus reaches up
To catch a sunbeam in her cup."
-Walter Crane
continued to be the target species for Roland
Park Country School in the USA. The information
below was taken from the research notes of
Unique and Universal Club teacher in the USA:
‘The life span of the adult Monarch varies,
depending on the season in which it emerged
from the pupa and whether or not it belongs to a
migratory group of Monarchs.
Figure 6. Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Adults that emerged in early summer have the
shortest life spans and live for about two to five
weeks. Those that emerged in late summer
survive over the winter months. The migratory
Monarchs, which emerge from the pupa in late
summer and then migrate south, live a much
longer life, about 8-9 months.
Monarch butterflies are found in a large
number of areas throughout the world. In
Eastern North American, the Monarch
butterflies migrate in September-October to
Mexico where they spend the winter in the
Sierra Madre Mountains of Central Mexico.
In the winter in Mexico they spend their time
protected by the local forests. In spring,
summer and fall the adults are feeding from
nectar plants in meadows and grasslands in
northern North America where the milkweed
grows for their larvae.Some of the nectar
plants preferred by Monarchs are Queen
Anne’s Lace, Blue İndigo, Lobelia, Aster, Joe
Pye Weed, and Zinnia. Monarchs have
become endangered both because of the
clearing of forests in their winter habitat in
Mexico and because of the destruction of
meadows and grasslands in eastern North
America where different species of milkweed
grow (Asclepias sp.). Areas which were once
large grasslands are now urban and suburban
areas with many buildings. Milkweed is
2. Methodology
2.1 Sample
In the third year of the Unique and Universal
Project, 43 students from three different
countries participated.
2.1.1. Turkish sample
Thirteen students from 6th, 7th and 8th grades
in METU Development Foundation School and
their parents participated voluntarily in the
project. The study group consisted of twelve,
thirteen and fourteen year old boys and girls.
Four students had previous experience with the
project from the past year. Two eighth graders,
acted as the leaders of the team throughout the
whole study.
2.1.2. Romanian Sample
Twenty students from 6th grade, who already
have experience from the previous year, from
School Number 5 in Satu Mare, Romania also
took part in the project.
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2.2. Project Action Plan
At the beginning of the 2007 - 2008
educational year, Unique and Universal Project
Club was set up with the help of the school
administration and the coordinator teacher at
METU Foundation School. A presentation about
the project was delivered at a meeting of the
students in the Cultural Centre. Students
volunteered for the project. Afterwards, the team
proceeded as follows:
(1) constructed an annual activity schedule,
(2) had organizational meetings, every
Thursday in the afternoon.
(3) contacted with Biology department of
METU University for getting help and visited
the laboratories,
(4) tested several water parameters and
collected data during field study trips,
(5) invited parents on field trips, students
shared their experiences with their parents.
(6) videotaped the field trips and experiments
for using them as educational material in the
(7) observed and researched characteristics
of study sites, species, and shared their
experiences and findings of the studies with
other partner schools via e-mails,
(8) produced power point presentations about
Crocus anycrensis and Yenihisar Pool for
other students at school.
(9) produced short documentaries about
‘Global Warming and It’s Alarming Effects on
(10) produced short documentaries about
‘Wetlands and Their Functions’
2.2.1. ‘Looking’ and
different skills?
‘Do we actually see everything we look? How
well can we observe the details of an object, a
person, a place at a given period of time? Can
observation skills be developed by studying?’
2.1.3. American sample
Eight students from 7th grade and two
students from 8th grade from Roland Park
Country School for girls in the USA participated
in the project. All of these students also
participated during the second year of the
The questions above and research to learn
more about them added a new focus to the U&U
project in the third year. A new dimension related
to developing observation skills was included into
the project action plan in 2007-2008.
Prior to field visits, a preparatory period was
devoted to develop students’ observation skills.
The importance of making careful observations
has been discussed with the student team and a
game was often played at the beginning of each
club session to test their powers of observation.
As part of this exercise the teacher might wear
something different from normal, such as
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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collared socks or an unusual button. Before club,
she might have placed a paper towel soaked in
vinegar at the back of the room or put up a map
or wrote a random word on the board. A
questionnaire was then passed out and the
students were told that they should not look up
from their desks until they finished filling in their
questionnaires. Below are some examples of the
kind of questions the students were expected to
1. How many windows are there in this
2. What colour are the teacher’s socks?
3. How many plants are there in this
4. A map of what part of the world is
hanging on the wall?
5. What is the smell like in the room today?
6. What new word is written on the board?
7. How many different sounds can you hear
right now?
8. What colour eyes does the person have
sitting in the seat next to you?
9. What material is the teacher’s desk
made of?
10. Name your five senses.
By repeating this exercise occasionally, the
students were impressed by the fact that
‘looking’ and ‘seeing’ were actually different
On the day of a field visit, the students did
similar exercises just before the field
observations and experiments were to be
conducted. The students were instructed to
perform a ‘5-minute-notice’ when they arrived at
field study site. They were asked to write down
what they instantly saw, heard, smelled and felt
about the wetland during a 5 minute period.
Once the period was up, they were asked to
describe their observations. [6]
2.2.2. An Artist’s Inventory of the Wetland
and Wildlife
‘Can shapes, colours, sounds be used to
describe and illustrate the wetland and wildlife
through an artist’s eye?
What are the contributions of using the
sensations of being outside both to a field work
and field worker? What are the benefits of
observing with your senses when doing field
These questions opened up a debate
between the team students which then lead them
to investigate the possible answers. Making an
artist’s inventory of the wetland was included into
U&U agenda in its third year, and this activity
became the most significant and motivating part
of the project for students in 2007/2008
educational year.
Prior to the main field work, the students were
taken to METU Campus where they studied
wetland ecosystem. They were asked to bring
sketching pads, writing papers, pens, coloured
pencils and camera. The group was divided into
subgroups and they performed the following:
In terms of shapes and colours:
described the shape and the colour of
the objects
described and drew the living and nonliving components
answered the question of ’how will the
shapes and colours of the area change
with the seasons?’
picked small features (a plant, an insect,
logs etc) of the wetland that appeals to
them and drew a picture of it.
Figure7. A student drawing a picture of snail in the field
In terms of sounds:
They answered the following questions.
What are the loudest sounds? / The
quietest sounds?
What are the most distant sounds? / The
closest sounds?
What are the most pleasant sounds? /
The most unpleasant sounds?
Can you differentiate between natural
and ‘human generated’ sounds?
If you did not know where you were,
would your sense of hearing help you
determine your location?
In terms of writing:
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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described the different parts of the
wetland and recorded where it was wet,
muddy, overgrown, scary, pretty.
described their feelings when they were
outside. [6]
2.3. Conducting hands-on experiments as part
of field work
Yenihisar Pool (a wetland area) was the main
study site for the U&U Project by METU
Foundation School in 2007-2008.
Throughout the year, four trips were already
organized to the surrounding area:
One trip was a visit to the laboratories of
Biology department of METU University and
three visits were field trips organized in the
vicinity of school.
The first trip was organized on the METU
Campus so that students could practice and
improve their observation skills. This trip was
meant to be a preparatory trip for the later field
(1)Colour, depth, and temperature (2) Turbidity,
(3) pH, (4) Dissolved Oxygen (DO), (5) Nitrate, (6)
Ammonia, (7) Phosphate, (8) Iron, (9) Copper,
(10) Bacteria.
In the third year of the U&U Project, La Motte
test kits and sampling equipment continued to be
used during all the testing activities and
The portable field laboratories containing all
the equipment and chemicals were provided by
La Motte Chemical Company, our laboratory
equipment sponsor [8].
The interrelationship between water quality
and living species was observed and then
interpreted by the students.
Figure 9. Turkish students discussing and recording the
data at field
Figure 8. Yenihisar Pool, the study area for U&U Project in
Turkey 2007-2008
During the second trip, the students visited
the laboratories of Biology department of METU
University in order to examine ‘the key species of
still waters’
The third trip took place in ‘Yalıncak Village
anycrensis’ and recorded the field data about
this species.
The final field work was concentrated on
water quality testing at Yenihisar Pool in the
vicinity of school.
During the field work organized to Yenihisar
Pool, the following water quality parameters
were observed and measured, and the results of
these measurements were interpreted by the
project students and their parents: [7,8]
Before and after field trips, the students were
given field trip tests in order to get their pre and
post knowledge and skills.
During the field visit, the parents of the
students joined in the process of taking water
samples from Yenihisar Pool, in order to measure
the physical and chemical parameters of the
water quality. They took photographs of the
wetland area and the species.
2.4. Widening the circle of studied species
In the 2007-2008 academic year, a common
‘Species Report’ form was created by the project
coordinator, and sent to the partner schools (see
example shown above). The research data was
recorded by each student team and exchanged
with the team in partner schools in Turkey,
Romania and the USA.
In the third year of U&U project, beside Crocus
anycrensis, which was studied by the students
during the second field trip organized at Yalıncak
Village, two more species were enthusiastically
studied by Turkish students.
These species were; Daphnia (Water flea) and
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard). Daphnia was
researched and examined by the students under
a microscope in the laboratories of Limnology
department of Biological Sciences at METU
University through the guidance of field
3.1 U&U Project in Media
At the end of 2006-2007 educational year, the
implications and findings of U&U Project were
presented at the 4th International Conference on
Hands-on Science (July, 2007 Azores) [3,4],
International Workshop on ‘Science Education in
Schools’ (September, 2007 Bucharest) [5],
Annual Conference on Environmental Education
organized by the North American Association for
Environmental Education (July, 2007 USA) [9],
and in Çoluk Çocuk Dergisi (June, 2008 Turkey)
Figure 10. The microscope view of Daphnia, studied by
the Turkish students
Figure 12. ‘Exploring the Nature through Science’ Çoluk
Çocuk Dergisi (June 2008)
Figure11. Mallard, photographed by a parent at Yenihisar
After field trips and regular meetings were
completed, at the end of the term, knowledge
tests, attitude questionnaires and the picture
form of the endangered species (which were
given at the very beginning of this study), were
re-administered to the students. The students
were presented with an environmental
stewardship certificate by their coordinator
teacher as recognition of their efforts during the
3. Findings
In this section recent developments in the
Project, teacher and students’ opinions about the
value of the Project are given.
The project was described in one of the well
known periodicals published for teachers and
parents in Turkey. The history of the U&U Project
over the first three years and its implications for
student learning were discussed in the article.
3.2. Samples of Student presentations
Samples of Turkish students’ presentations
within the frame of the U&U Project in 2007/2008
educational year include:
A poster titled ‘We Are Exploring our Nature
Treasures through Science’ was created by a
team of students [10].
Two short documentary films were produced
by Turkish students for other students’ usage at
The first documentary was about ‘Global
Warming and Its Effects on Earth’
The second film was on ‘Wetlands and Their
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Functions on Earth’.
PPT presentations produced by the student
team students about Crocus anycrensis were
exchanged with partner schools.
Two presentations were organized by the
team students at the end of two terms.
The first presentation was for the 4th and 5th
graders at school. It took place at the end of first
term. The second presentation was for 6th, 7th
and 8th graders and this presentation took place
at the end of the second term.
Campus which I had never noticed before. We
have picked up some interesting snails,
observed them and put them back where they
belonged. At times in school, we have sewn,
tighten, painted, pasted several objects and
created observatory tools. Then we used them in
the field. What was so worthwhile was the fact
that it was us who made them! We felt like we
were real scientists! At the end of the year we
organized a big presentation for other students at
school and proved to them what a big job we had
done for Mother Earth. I like this project so much
because of the unique experiences I had in this
Gul: “…It is so important that we have not been
researching the information only through
Internet. For example, we have studied Crocus
anycrensis just by observing it in its natural
setting. It was a wonderful feeling to see it so
close to us, to examine its different parts for
example; petals, leaves, stem.
Merve: “…I have chosen this club because I
believe that we must be stewards of nature. The
Earth has been becoming more and more spoilt
by the human impact. There is a lot to work out
and give right messages to people’’
Figure 13. Poster produced by Turkish students ‘We Are
Exploring Nature Treasures through Science’
3.3. Students’ opinions about the third year of
the Project
At the end of the educational year, the
students in the project were asked to write their
opinions about the project implications and their
İlke: “…My outlook on life has changed
dramatically since I started the U&U club nearly
eight months ago. We have examined the
Daphnea through a microscope connected to a
computer in Biology Department of METU
University. What a beautiful dance show it was!
For me, they were the little angels dancing in
water!. They are helping the nature by cleansing
water through their tiny little movements in it. We
have seen beautiful reddish reeds at METU
Irmak: “… We have been doing very important
work in this club. We have been learning how to
work in groups, how to share the workload, the
love and care for nature and the most important
of all we have been learning what it means to
feel responsible for the Earth. I will never forget
the day we presented our U&U Project with my
friends in the team at the Cultural Centre of our
school. I was very excited with the thought of
presenting our work to all 6., 7.and 8th graders.
We have prepared the stage, drew and painted
the huge reeds and some other wetland plants
on big cardboards and placed them on the stage.
We have painted them with the colours of
rainbow. With all these colours, the stage was
reflecting our dreamland. We placed our
experimental sets on the tables at the stages. I
was so surprised when I looked at the stage from
a distance. I had never seen such beautiful place
before. The stage that we had created was so
colourful and gave a great state of happiness to
me. I was so proud of myself and my friends in
the team. Our friends in cinema and photography
club took our live photographs and reflected our
sceneries on to the screen while we were
demonstrating our water quality tests on the
stage. There was an explosion of applause in the
centre when we finished our presentation and
experiments. Never in my life, will I forget that
special day!’’
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Ozan: “….What I like about this club is doing
research on wetlands. I was most affected by the
sad situation of wetlands in Turkey as well as in
whole world. This is why I produced a short
documentary about wetlands and their problems
caused by human impacts. Our country, whole
world desperately need young stewards like us!’’
Bartu: “…Our mission is to protect and preserve
the Earth. By what we have been doing in this
club, we have been guiding and giving useful
messages to our friends at school. We have
been raising our level of consciousness and
awareness to protect the nature. I believe that
we have made great contribution in raising our
friends’ sensitivity and responsibility about nature
by our presentation on 25th of March 2008 at
Cultural Centre of our school.’’
Figure 14. Turkish team student writing his opinions
about U&U Project
3.4. Partner teachers’ opinions about the
third year of the Project
The opinions of the partner teachers of the
U&U Project are given below:
Martha Barss (Project teacher, USA): Martha
Barss is a science teacher in Roland Park
Country School for girls in the USA and she has
been involved in the project since 2005:
‘(1) Students are increasing their knowledge of
the natural environment and how humans and all
other species are interconnected. Through their
studies they are learning how human actions
impact the natural species they are studying.
(2) Each year that a school participates in the
U&U Project, provides more opportunity for
students at the school to gain a sense of caring
for the environment of which they are a part.
Students who are not participating actively will
notice the work of the participating students and
gain a sense that "humans can make a
difference" by being stewards of their
(3) Through
scientists, funding organizations and nature
organizations, a community is growing and
students are learning that it takes many people
working together to care for our "natural home".
(4) By sharing their discoveries and action
projects on the Internet with other U&U project
understanding about other countries and cultures
in the world.’
Ancuta Nechita (Project Teacher, Romania);
Ancuta Nechita is an English teacher in School
Number 5 in Satu Mare, Romania. She has been
involved in the project since 2005.
‘As every year the students got involved in the
activities that were planned, they enjoyed
learning new things and doing things "for real".
As far as they were concerned, ‘practice was far
better than sitting inside a classroom and
learning things by heart!’ This is something that
the Romanian teaching system has still to work
on now. Putting the students in the situation of
thinking by themselves and analyzing each
endangered species made them aware of the
importance of caring about the environment. The
students learn how to protect what they have by
seeing what really happens around them. They
understand that the environment is something
we all have to take care of since the Earth is not
ours to keep. We have to make it last for the next
generations as well.’
4. Conclusions
In the 2007/2008 educational year at the
coordinator’s school,
(1) Forty meetings were held with the team within
the frame of U&U project.
(2) Four trips were organized throughout the
(3) Together with the students, parents became
significant partners in the U&U Project.
(4) On the Yenihisar field trip, twelve different
water parameters were tested, recorded, and
interpreted, and final reports were prepared by
the students.
(5) The findings were shared with other schools.
(6) Two short documentary films were prepared
by the team students for other students’ usage at
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(7) PPT presentations produced by the team
students about Crocus anycrensis were
exchanged among partner schools.
(8) Two presentations were organized by the
team students at the end of terms.
The first presentation was for the 4th and 5th
graders and it took place at the end of first term.
The second presentation was for 6th, 7th and 8th
graders at school. And it took place at the end of
the year.
As far as the outcomes of the U&U project
and the author’s observations are concerned,
fieldwork in nature opens up new means of
communication for children in which they can
develop a sense of their own connectedness to
the natural world. The more they experience
learning in the outdoor classroom, the easier
they develop new ways of gaining knowledge
that are not being developed in the indoor
It is the author’s hope that the outcomes of
the Unique and Universal Project will provide a
useful resource to environmental and scientific
education communities worldwide. It is also
hoped that the students participating in the
project gain a sense of belonging to a global
community of concerned students as they share
their discoveries with their partners in other
5. Acknowledgements
The author is particularly grateful to Professor
Dr. Jim Westgate for his kind support through
allowing the project coordinator to join his
summer wetland institute for teachers in Texas in
the summer of 2005. Special thanks to Professor
encouragement and motivation. Special thanks
to Professor Dr. Meryem Beklioğulları for her
support by providing access for our students to
Limnology laboratories of METU University.
Thanks to the METU Foundation School for its
encouragement to carry out the project. Thanks
to La Motte Company for their technical support
with water monitoring test kits and sampling
equipment. To these dedicated partners of the
project, we extend heartfelt thanks for their great
contributions in our project:
Martha Barss, Science Teacher at Roland
Park Country School, Baltimore, MD, the USA,
Ancuta Nechita, English Teacher in School
Number 5 Satu Mare, Romania and finally
special thanks to my dedicated students and
their parents as well as those in other schools,
who have been volunteers in this project.
6. References
[1] Erentay, N., Erdoğan, M. The Unique and
Universal Project: Exploring and Sharing Our
Ecosystems through Scientific Processes.
Proceedings of the 3rd International
Conference on Hands-on Science. Costa
MF, Dorrıo BV (Eds.); pp.346-353, 2006.
[2] Erentay, N., Erdoğan, M. Initial Findings of
Unique and Universal Project. Proceedings
of the 3rd International Conference on
Hands-on Science. Costa MF, Dorrıo BV
(Eds.); pp.390 -398, 2006.
[3] Erdoğan, M., Erentay, N. Children Struggling
for a Sustainable Future: Impressions from
Unique and Universal Project Proceedings of
the 4th International Conference on Hands-on
Science. Costa MF, Dorrıo BV (Eds.);
pp.148-157, 2007.
[4] Erdoğan, M., Erentay, N. Children’s
Perceptions on Endangered Species and
Threatened Environment: Results from
Unique and Universal Project Proceedings of
the 4th International Conference on Handson Science. Costa MF, Dorrıo BV (Eds.),
pp.141-148, 2007.
[5] Erentay, N., Wetlands in the Classroom:
Discovering Outdoor Wet Facts through
Education in Schools. 11-14 September,
Bucharest, Romania, 2007.
[6] ‘A World in Our Backyard’ available in web
site of www.epa.gov.teachers
[7] Taylor, B. E. (2003). “Wetland and Water
Quality.” available in web site of
[8] Campbell G, Wildberger S. The Monitor’s
Handbook / A Reference Guide for Natural
Water Monitoring. La Motte Science
Education Products USA,
[9] Erdogan, M., Erentay, N., Barss, M., Nechita,
A., & Kostova, Z. (2007, November). An
International Project on Endangered Species
and Threatened Environments: “Unique and
universal”. (Research Symposium) 34th
Environmental Education Annual Conference
and Research Symposium, Virginia Beach,
USA, 13-14, November, 2007.
[10] Erentay N. Doğayı Bilimle Keşfediyoruz
[Exploring the Nature through Science] /
Çoluk Çocuk Dergisi, 4June 2008.
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aligned to academic and industry skill
II. Recruit and train high school and
technology instructors from 16
institutions to implement, assess and
scenarios in classrooms with their
III. Conduct quantitative and qualitative
research on the efficacy of PBL in
engineering technician education.
IV. Outreach and disseminate the field
tested problem-based scenarios and
research findings to high schools,
community colleges and four-year
colleges and universities that offer
technology programs.
Problem-Based Learning in Physics
E. Vladescu
National Vocational College “Nicolae Titulescu”,
Slatina, Romania
[email protected]
Abstract. The New England Board of Higher
Education (NEBHE) from Massachusetts, USA
invited National Vocational College “Nicolae
Titulescu” from Slatina, Romania to participate
as an Education Partner in Project PHOTON
Problem-Based Learning (PBL) that is funded by
the Technological Education program of the
National Science Foundation (NSF). Also, from
July 27 through August 1st, 2008, I participated
in a professional development workshop on PBL
method at Boston University (BU) in Boston,
Massachusetts. The paper presents our
participation in this activity.
1. Introduction
Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is an
instructional method that challenges students to
“learn how to learn” by collaboratively solving
real world problems. All nations face intensifying
global competition and rapidly growing demands
for a skilled workforce. The central issue is: are
students able to apply what they know?
The PHOTON PBL project, coordinated by
New England Board of Higher Education
(NEBHE) [1] from Massachusetts funded by the
Technological Education program of the National
Science Foundation (NSF), USA, proposes to
address this challenge by designing, testing and
disseminating eight problem-based Challenges.
These Challenges, designed in cooperation
with partners in the photonics industry, give our
students the opportunity to practice real world
problem solving, a critical skill in today’s
responsibilities of the education partners
The goals of PHOTON PBL are to:
I. Create eight multimedia problem-based
scenarios and instructional resources
complement the highly successful
PHOTON curriculum and laboratory
materials. The materials will be
Responsibilities of the education partners are
1. Apply in collaboration with a partner
education institution. High school applicants
should find a community college with who to
partner, and community college applicants
should seek out a high school partner.
2. Participate in a professional development
workshop at the Boston University Photonics
Centre from July 27 – August 1, 2008.
3. Field-test two of the PBL Challenges during
academic year 2008-2009.
4. Report on their and their students’ fieldtesting experience.
3. PBL levels and methods
Most students are accustomed to traditional
lecture-based methods of instruction while PBL
represents an exciting alternative to traditional
lecture-based photonics education.
PHOTON PBL Challenges are designed to be
implemented using three levels of structure
ranging from Level 1 (Instructor Led - Highly
Structured), to Level 2 (Instructor Guided Moderately Structured), to Level 3 (Instructor as
Consultant - Open-Ended) depending on the
technical nature of the problem and the ability
level of the students.
Level 1 (Instructor Led – Structured): students
are presented with the PBL challenge in its
entirety as a multimedia-based case study.
Level 2 (Guided): students have been
exposed to the overall problem-solving process
through Level 1 and have begun to develop their
own problem-solving skills
Level 3 (Open-Ended): students are
presented with the most realistic representation
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
of the problem statement as it would be
encountered in the “real world”. [2](Figure 1)
Methods for understanding the problem:
Scientific Journal, Sinectics, analogy, Socratic
seminar, Pareto analysis. For a solving plan:
brainstorming, lists, concepts’ map, cause and
effect diagram, critical thinking method, Gantt
Methods to accomplish the plan: Johari
Window method, Drill Down method, concepts’
acquisition, forces field analysis. Test solutions:
Venn diagram and Tuning Protocol.
Consequently, I began by introducing the
Photomachining Challenge somewhere between
a structured and guided exercise. (Figure 2)
Figure 2. Romanian students team working in
Photomachining Challenge
Figure 1. The PBL Continuum (Used with permission)
Student teams work collaboratively in
analyzing the problem, generating hypotheses,
reflecting on their beliefs about the problem, and
generating learning objectives needed to solve
the problem. This phase is followed by a period
of self-directed learning. During this stage, the
instructor serves as a consultant, guiding the
student as they seek out required resources and
providing additional information as needed. By
shifting the responsibility for learning onto
students and providing scaffolds for learning,
students are more likely to develop the selfdirected learning skills needed to successfully
engage in lifelong learning. Finally, students
reconvene to assess and evaluate their problem
solution. [2]
I created a forum for my students in order to
discuss with American and Romanian experts at:
http://www.hsci.biz/ [3]
4. Field-Testing PBL Challenges in Romania
During school year 2007-2008, I field-tested
three Challenges: Photomachining Challenge,
IPG Photonics Challenge and the Cal Poly
Pomona Challenge.
In Photomachining Challenge, a customer
needs 50-micron polyimide-coated copper wire
to be stripped and cut to a certain length for use
in a medical device. Students must choose a
laser and develop an optical system to produce
these wires as cheap as possible. [4]
I showed them the company overview, the
problem statement and the discussion segments
of the Challenge. I then split the students into
groups and had them list what facts they knew
and what they needed to research.
The second Challenge required to device an
enclosed system for a safe test for a high power
laser in an extended period of time.
Figure 3. The Socratic Seminar
For the IPG Challenge, I organized a Socratic
Seminar. I was the seminar leader and I divided
the class in two parts. One part formed an “inner”
circle (10 students, 17 years old) and
participated in the discussion of the problem. The
other part formed an “outer” circle (13 students,
17 years old) and observed the seminar. (Figure
3) In fact, the outer circle was a “U” shape. I
began the seminar with the distribution of the text
to be discussed (IPG statement of the
challenge). I asked to all participants with the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
opening question:”What do you think are the key
terms in this text?” in order to give to all
participants an opportunity to say something.
Once begun, the seminar was driven by
questions from me and the participants. First, I
asked all participants from the inner circle to do a
list with what they know a list with what they
don’t know and another list with things to do.
After that, they read the lists in front the class.
They asked things like: “What is a burn-in
testing?”, “What is coupler?”, “How can we
measure the power and the wavelength?”
My students remarked that we need sensors
for fire, smoke and warm, a computer to
supervise the whole test and a system to cool
the laser. They all agree that the test must be
taken in separate room. Some of them made few
drawings of the device. (Figure 4)
Figure 5. Using the Black Board Tool
5. A professional development workshop on
PBL method
From July 27 through August 1st, 2008, I
participated in a professional development
workshop on PBL method at Boston University
(BU) in Boston, Massachusetts (Figure 6).
Figure 4. Solution given by students for IPG Challenge
The third challenge field-tested was about
students to test the true of a statement on the
package for a 26-Watt fluorescent bulb, that
claims the bulb’s output is the same as a 100Watt incandescent. As a result of this active
learning activity, my students know have a better
understanding of each type of lighting.
I worked with 30 students, 17 years old, split
in teams of 5-6 pupils who were not familiar with
the PBL format.
A very good and innovative tool for my
students was a “white (black) board” screen
projected a directly onto the classroom’s white
(black) board. (Figure 5).
I also created a Science Club and an online
forum for my students about the PBL Challenges
at http://www.hsci.biz[3] and this was a very
good opportunity for them to discuss with experts
like Mrs. Judy Donnelly and Mr. Ron Schaeffer
who were very kind to answer my students
questions. I think this increased their enthusiasm
and motivation.
Figure 6. 2008 PBL workshop
25 high school and college teachers from US
and Romania learned how to introduce their
students to optics and photonics using PBL
strategies. The workshop goals were to introduce
project participants to four photon PBL
challenges, gain feedback from participants,
create a community between educational
partners who will work together to implement the
PBL Challenges in their home institutions and,
also, to provide the educators with the tools
needed to field-test the challenges. I hope that
my participation in this professional development
workshop will have an echo on three levels:
teachers and pupils, curriculum and educational
politics of my school.
My training will increase the quality and
attractiveness of my classes by activities whose
purpose is to motivate learners by using PBL
method and other new acquired original
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
techniques and materials. In this way I hope to
avoid some students’ misconceptions in science
and to promote the creative learning. I think I will
have a more interactive teaching. My students
will work more efficiently and more autonomously
and they will understand better difficult Physics
concepts. Also, they will be able to understand
better physics phenomena from nature and
scientific applications in day by day life. After this
training activity I will be able to update my
optional course “Physics by experiments” and my
website http://www.geocities.com/physicsexperiments
I will also share with colleagues my
knowledge acquired so that they too can benefit
from my experience. On this purpose I will
discuss with them on our regular reunions,
workshops and conferences, invite them and the
principal as well to demonstratives lessons and
analyze together CDs and other materials that I
got from the training. After my involvement in this
activity, my colleagues too will be able to
restructure their teaching methods in a way to
improve the motivation and quality in learning
The eight problem-based challenges that will
be field-tested in our school too, will give our
students the opportunity to practice real world
problem solving, a critical skill in today’s
workplace. Consequently, my school will be able
to have a realistic point of view of its situation
and to use updated strategies and new
approaches in order to improve motivation,
general climate and quality of education process
in our institution and to develop its management
and relations with parents and local community. I
believe that my involvement in this professional
training will be a good opportunity for my school
to be exposed to the American Education. As a
result there will be a significant change in
teachers' way of approaching the educational
system and students will be more actively
involved in the educational process as well.
6. Conclusions
PBL is a method who gives students tools to
cope in uncertain learning situation, where
problem parameters are not very well defined –
just like in the real world. National Vocational
College “Nicolae Titulescu” from Slatina
participation as an Education Partner in Project
PHOTON Problem-Based Learning (PBL),
coordinated by New England Board of Higher
Education, USA, is a first time for Romania. I
hope that collaboration to continue and to
develop by an educational partnership between
my school and other schools and institutions
from US. I will seek to promote the cooperation
and the mobility by encouraging and supporting
other teachers to be part in such projects and to
apply for such training activities. After this
workshop, I will be able to give my expertise, to
explain, to advise my colleagues from my school,
from my city and from my country.
7. Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Ms. Fenna Hanes Principal Investigator, Judith Donnelly, Michele
Dischino and Mr. Nicholas Massa - Co-Principal
Investigators New England Board of Higher
Education (NEBHE) [1], USA, the “Hands on
Science” [6] network coordinator Manuel Felipe
Costa and the “Hands on Science Romania” and
Centre for Science Education and Training CSET
[7] national coordinator Dr. Dan Sporea for their
support and encouragements.
Also, I would like to thank Optical Society of
America (OSA) [8], USA for the grant awarded
for my participation in the professional
Massachusetts, US, July 27th – August 1st, 2008.
8. References
[1] www.nebhe.org
[2] N.M. Massa, R. Audet, J. Donnelly, F. Hanes
and M. Kehrhahn, “PHOTON PBL: ProblemBased Learning in Photonics Technology
Education”, Proceedings of the SPIE Annual
Conference, Ottawa, Canada, September;
[3] http://www.hsci.biz/
[4] J. Donnelly, Problem-Based Learning, OPN
Optics & Photonics News; 19(5): 22-23,
[5] http://www.geocities.com/physicsexperiments
[6] http://www.hsci.info/
[7] www.inflpr.ro
[8] http://www.osa.org/
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Developing Mathematical Talent of
L.C. Vladescu
The school with I-VIII classes Schitu,
Olt, Romania
[email protected]
Abstract. Many of my students are interested in
Mathematics, but some of them perceive it as a
difficult subject. In my opinion, Mathematics is
not only an abstract Science, but has
implications in everyday life. Mathematics forms
and develops logical reasoning, creativity and
critical thinking. Each child should have the
opportunity to express their talent. Many talented
children find it hard to express their needs. A few
need a great deal of encouragement and
understanding to communicate clearly. The
paper presents some methods and educational
tools, which will help the educators to identify
and motivate talented students in mathematics.
Keywords. Mathematics, Motivation, Talent.
1. Introduction
The decision of the European Union,
COM/2001/678 says, «In a society of knowledge,
Democracy requires the citizens to have
scientific and technological knowledge as part of
the basic competence».
The future objective aims of the European
Educational Systems, which was agreed on 12
February 2001 from the Education Council in
Stockholm, identify Mathematics as one of the
major priority subjects. The basic objective is the
increase of interest in mathematics from early
age and the impulsion of youth to follow careers
in these subjects, more specifically in the
research in these fields.
2. The Concept of a “Ladder”
A “ladder“ is a self-contained mathematical
text, focused on a specific topic, which could be
used by teachers or by students in their work in
and beyond the classroom. In essence the
ladder is a sequence of mathematical problems,
explanations and questions for self-testing
ordered in slowly increasing degree of difficulty.
By working on the text the student could elevate
his/her mathematical knowledge to essentially
higher levels. This is where the name “ladder”
comes from: a device for climbing to a higher
level, an instrument facilitating the process of
overcoming different difficulties. Using the ladder
the students (but also their teachers) could
enrich, deepen and test their knowledge on a
specific mathematical topic. The lower part of the
ladder is rooted in the normal curriculum material
studied in the class. As “steps” one has the
explanations, pieces of information and other
challenges that the learner has to master in order
to acquire the higher level of understanding the
material. Depending on their individual abilities
the students will advance i.e. “climb” to different
heights on the ladder. The degree of
advancement will single out higher ability
students. Therefore the ladders will help identify
talented students too.
If the ladder is well designed and consists of
interesting and challenging problems, it will
attract and motivate the students to apply more
time and energy in studying mathematics.
It is important to design the ladders in such a
way that the level of difficulty increases slowly (a
small distance between two consecutive steps)
and the students are capable of climbing the
steps even without the help of the teacher. The
definitions and the explanations should help this
happen. The presence of questions and
problems the solution of which is commented
later will allow the student to check whether or
not he/she understands what is going on. [1]
3. Identifying mathematical talent
The teacher must to have a major role in
identifying mathematical talent through a range
of measures that go beyond traditional
standardized tests. Measures should include
observations, student interviews, open-ended
questions, portfolios, and teacher-, parent-, peerand self-nomination. Recognition should be
made of the fact that mathematical talents can
be developed; they are not just something with
which some students were born.
Also, teachers must to present interesting
tasks that engage students and encourage them
to develop their mathematical talents, improve
opportunities for mathematics learning and a
much more challenging, no repetitive, integrated
curriculum which is needed to help students
develop mathematical talents. Students must be
challenged to create questions, to explore, and
to develop mathematics that is new to them.
They need outlets where they can share their
discoveries with others.
Teachers must become facilitators of learning
to encourage students to construct new, complex
mathematical concepts. Students must be
challenged to reach for ever-increasing levels of
mathematical understanding.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
4. Why should we do anything different for
mathematically gifted students?
Gifted students differ from their classmates in
three key areas that are especially important in
Gifted learners differ from classmates through
the pace at which they learn the depth of their
understanding and the interests that they hold
(Maker, 1982). [2]
The sequential nature of math content makes
pacing an issue. Deeper levels of understanding
and abstraction are possible for most
mathematical topics, so differentiation becomes
important. If the interest is snuffed out early, the
talent may not be developed.
Mathematically gifted students differ from the
general group of students studying math in the
following abilities: spontaneous formation of
problems, flexibility in handling data, mental
agility of fluency of ideas, data organization
ability, originality of interpretation, ability to
transfer ideas, and ability to generalize
(Greenes, 1981). [3] Furthermore, there is a
myth that gifted students don't need special
attention since it is easy for them to learn what
they need to know. On the contrary, their needs
dictate curriculum that is deeper, broader, and
faster than what is delivered to other students.
5. What
gifted in the regular
Historically there has been debate about the
role of acceleration versus enrichment as the
differentiation mode for mathematics. Most
experts recommend a combination. The following
are suggestions for differentiating for the
mathematically gifted by using (1) assessment,
(2) curriculum materials, (2) instructional
techniques, and (4) grouping models. These
opportunities should be made broadly available
to any student with interest in taking advantage
of them. What teachers can do?:
* Give pre-assessments so that students who
already know the material do not have to repeat
it but may be provided with instruction and
activities that are meaningful.
* Create assessments that allow for
differences in understanding, creativity, and
accomplishment; give students a chance to show
what they have learned. Ask students to explain
their reasoning both orally and in writing.
* Choose textbooks that provide more
enriched opportunities.
* Use multiple resources. No single text will
adequately meet the needs of these learners.
* Be flexible in expectations about pacing for
different students. While some may be mastering
basic skills, others may work on more advanced
* Use inquiry-based, discovery learning
problems with multiple solutions or multiple paths
to solutions. Allow students to design their own
ways to find the answers to complex questions.
Gifted students may discover more than you
thought was possible.
* Use lots of higher-level questions in
justification and discussion of problems. Ask
"why" and "what if" questions.
* Provide units, activities, or problems that
extend beyond the normal curriculum. Offer
challenging mathematical recreations such as
puzzles and games.
* Differentiate assignments.
* Expect high level products (e.g., writing,
proofs, projects, solutions to challenging
* Provide opportunities to participate in
contests such as Mathematical Olympiads Give
feedback to students on their solutions.
* Provide some activities that can be done
independently or in groups based on student
choice. Be aware that if gifted students always
work independently, they are gaining no more
than they could do at home. They also need
appropriate instruction, interaction with other
gifted students, and regular feedback from the
* Provide useful concrete experiences. Even
though gifted learners may be capable of
abstraction and may move from concrete to
abstract more rapidly, they still benefit from the
use of “hands-on" activities.
6. How can technology support the needs of
the gifted?
Technology can provide a tool, an inspiration,
or an independent learning environment for any
student, but for the gifted it is often a means to
reach the appropriate depth and breadth of
curriculum and advanced product opportunities.
Calculators can be used as an exploration tool to
solve complex and interesting problems.
Computer programming is a higher level skill that
enhances problem solving abilities and promotes
careful reasoning and creativity. The use of a
database, spreadsheet, graphic calculator, or
scientific calculator can facilitate powerful data
analysis. The World Wide Web is a vast and
enrichment, teacher resources, and information
about mathematical ideas that are not addressed
in textbooks. Technology is an area in which
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
disadvantaged gifted students may be left out
because of lack of access or confidence. It is
essential that students who do not have access
at home get the exposure at school so that they
will not fall behind the experiences of other
7. What is the responsibility of schools and
teachers in developing giftedness in
Classroom teachers and school districts
share the responsibility of addressing the needs
of gifted students. Teachers need training and
support in recognizing and addressing the needs
of the mathematically gifted. Teachers who teach
mathematics to gifted learners need a strong
background in mathematics content. If the school
has only a few students with special needs and
does not have such a teacher, a mentor from
outside the school should be located to work with
individuals. A coordinated curriculum plan needs
to be in place so that the mathematical
experiences for students are not duplicated or
interrupted from one year to the next.
The school should have an organized support
technology, and human resources.
Regular mathematics classrooms that offer
sufficiently challenging and broad experiences
for gifted students have the potential to enrich
the learning community as a whole since other
students will be interested in attempting, perhaps
with help, some of the more challenging tasks. If
math classes offer diversity in assignments,
products, and pacing and monitor student needs,
all students will be able to work at their own
challenge level.
8. Acknowledgements
I would like to thank the “Hands on Science”
coordinator Manuel Felipe Costa and the
national coordinator Dr. Dan Sporea for their
support and encouragements.
9. References
[1] www.matheu.org
[2] J. Maker and M.D. Rockville, The Curriculum
development for the gifted, Aspen Systems
Corporation, Creating, 1982.
[3] C. Greenes, Identifying the gifted student in
mathematics, Arithmetic Teacher, 28, 14-18;
Computer Simulations of Physics
Phenomena Using Flash
I. Radinschi1, C. Damoc2, A. Cehan3
and V. Cehan4
Department of Physics
“Gh. Asachi” Technical University
Faculty of Automatic Control and Computer
“Gh. Asachi” Technical University
Faculty of Letters
“Al. I. Cuza” University
Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications
“Gh. Asachi” Technical University
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected],[email protected]
Abstract. One of the most powerful tools used in
both teaching physics concepts and developing
measurement and analysis skills are software
simulations. This paper describes several
physics simulations designed for the study of the
virtual evolution of physics phenomena based on
Adobe Flash CS3 computer applications. The
simulations help the students understand several
important physics phenomena and laws more
easily, and improve their abilities of making
measurements and processing information. The
simulations also provide the students with the
opportunity of using the experimental data for
performing calculations and plotting. They can be
considered checking tools for the results
obtained from experimental work.
Keywords. Computer simulations,
Physics Learning, Physics Phenomena.
1. Introduction
In the last decade the great development of
the programmable web and new computational
technologies has implied the developing of
specific platforms like HTML, JavaScript, Flash
and Ajax. This had also an important influence
on the implementation of the new computational
methods in engineering education. The use of
computational methods does not require a
complete renunciation at the traditional methods,
even in the next future a quick and efficient way
of improving knowledge would consist in the
using at large scale of the Web technology.
Recent developments in this area have shown
that computer assistance learning process [3],
[4], [5], [6], [14], [15], [16], [17] is one of the most
promising ways to improve the educational
Our experience in the field of physics [7], [8]
has demonstrated that processing data using the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
computational methods is of great help for our
students in the learning process. In the last years
we have focused our efforts to the acquisition of
new computational programs designated to
improve the study of physics. In this way, we are
able to use a powerful teaching methodology [10]
for developing students’ abilities [1], [2], [7], [8],
[9], [12], [13] to understand the scientific content
of our courses, and use the computational
programs for simulating physical phenomena.
Our main goal is to improve our physics course
and laboratory, and this implies providing a
framework for the integration of new
computational tools, and especially of the
computer simulations of physics phenomena. A
first step was done by providing our seminars
with some “teaching-while-quizzing” tests [10]
that were proposed for improving the physics
learning and which are already used by our
students. Also, this computational method has
improved the teaching of physics and developed
the students’ abilities. The next step consists in
the implementation of the computer simulations
[11], which will do not replace completely the
traditional methods of learning physics, but will
allow the good understanding of physics laws
and phenomena, and will develop skills of
measurement and analysis. Very important is
their property of being not affected by the errors
generated by the measurement process and the
sensibility of apparatus.
At our physics laboratory, the students use
the computers as tools for collecting, analyzing,
visualizing and modelling real data which are
picked up during experiments. For our students,
it is very important to get familiar with both the
laws of physics and the phenomena in the
theoretical lectures and some computer
programs that can make the understanding of
physics concepts easier. These activities
facilitate the development of the students’ ability
to apply these concepts to physical situations
and reason with them. As a result, the students
will be able to use these theoretical ideas and
the newly acquired skills in practice. For us, it
was important to decide which are the laboratory
activities that need computer simulation
applications, and which of them are the most
In this paper we provide a concise description
of a set of physics simulations elaborated in
Adobe Flash CS3 for the study of StefanBoltzmann law of thermal radiation and the
determination of Planck’s constant using the
photoelectric effect. These computer simulations
discussed here have been implemented and
tested at our physics laboratory, and for their
elaboration we used modern software and
technologies [18].
2. Computer
We realized a set of physics interactive
simulation computer applications that describes
some important phenomena and laws of physics,
and which are used in our physics laboratory.
We have a suite of 10 simulations of our
laboratory works based on various physics
phenomena, which cover many of the areas of
physics studied in our course of physics. Very
important has been to decide what are the
physics laboratories that needs a computer
simulation application, and among them which
are the priorities. We established the most
important experiments, and after this elaborated
the computer simulations with respect that the
experimental results must be the same as the
results yielded by the computer simulations. The
software can be run during or after the
experiment and allowing the students of making
a comparative study between experiment and
The simulations were elaborated in the
animation and programming environment Adobe
Flash CS3 [18]. This is professional software by
means of which applications, animations and
web pages may be created and processed. The
operations, the functions and the easy handling
give to the ones who develop Flash applications
the access to many possibilities. This makes
Flash to be a good environment in developing
applications were implemented using the data
obtained further to physical experiments to
simulate as accurately as possible the
behaviour/the indications of the lab equipment.
There have also been used the physical formulas
necessary to obtain the wanted results. By
means of experimental data taken from certain
sites within a given span of time, an interpolation
of 1st degree could be implemented in these
applications, so that the user has the possibility
to use values from the same span of time that he
would have used with the lab equipment. This
gives the user the freedom to choose a value,
being not constricted to use a limited number of
values or even the used experimental values.
We notice that these applications have a menu in
Romanian and English, which may be used
depending on necessity of preference. As
examples, we present the applications for the
study of Stefan-Boltzmann law of thermal
radiation and determination of Planck’s constant
using the photoelectric effect. Each of these
applications allows the students to verify the
experimental data and to perform the calculation
and carry out the graphs.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
try to adjust R3 for a certain value of U, so that
the reading of the galvanometer should be 0.
The next example is the one of the computer
simulation of the determination of Planck’s
constant using the photoelectric effect.
For the determination of Planck’s constant the
Einstein’s equation for the photoelectric effect is
used. The lab objectives, the apparatus and
equipment, and the measurements and
procedure are presented below as the computer
interface image in Figure 3. The students learn
about the theory and experimental method.
Figure 1. Lab objectives, measurements and procedure
for the Stefan-Boltzmann law
Figure 3. Lab objectives, apparatus and equipment for
the photoelectric effect
Figure 2. Screen-shot of the application interface
First we describe the application for the
Stefan-Boltzmann law of radiation. The screenshots of the applications interface are presented
in Figure 1 and Figure 2. In Figure 1 is given the
computer interface image for the lab objectives,
the apparatus and equipment, and the
measurements and procedure. The aim of the
computer simulation is the verification of the
Stefan-Boltzmann law of radiation. When
opening this application, the students have to
press the switch of the circuitry. After that, they
have to enter values for the feeding voltage U
and the variable resistance R3, yet these values
shall enter the specified range beside the data
input area. Otherwise, a warning indicated by a
red box flashing next to the wrongly entered
value will be provided. After the values that
observe the possible value ranges are entered,
the button Upgrade will be pressed as it displays
the newly obtained values of R, I and T,
upgrading at the same time the graphic and the
indication of the galvanometer. The user should
Figure 4. Computer interface image for the photoelectric
The second computer interface image for this
program is presented in Figure 4. The user
should first choose a certain value of the wave
length of the colour to be experimented, after
which he should adjust the value of the sticking
voltage Vs (or another denotation in Romanian is
Vb), so that the reading of the galvanometer
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
should be 0. When this requirement is met, the
obtained frequency may be extracted.
In our physics laboratory we use a filter with
six known frequencies and we pick up the
corresponding values for the sticking voltage,
and after this we determine Planck’s constant
using the least square method. The computer
simulation gives the possibility to determine by
interpolation the corresponding values of the
sticking voltage for a large number of values of
We present the function my update of the
interface in the case of the application for the
Stefan-Boltzmann law of radiation (partially in
function my update():void
var u:Number = (Number)(u_txt.text);
var r3:Number = (Number)(r3_txt.text);
var r3Ideal:Number = 0;
var i:uint = 0;
var divRez:Number = 0;
var R:Number = 0;
var I:Number = 0;
var T:Number = 0;
if(u>=40 && u<45)
i = 0;
if(u>=45 && u<50)
i = 1;
if(u>=50 && u<55)
i = 2;
if(u>=55 && u<60)
i = 3;
if(u>=60 && u<=62)
i = 4;
divRez = (arrR3[i+1] - arrR3[i]) / (arrU[i+1] arrU[i]);
r3Ideal = Math.round(divRez * (u-arrU[i])) +
rotatie = Math.round((r3Ideal - r3) * divRot);
galv_mc.indicator_mc.rotation = rotatie;
const R1:Number = 208;
const R2:Number = 4200;
const T0:Number = 293;
const R0:Number = 3;
const a:Number = -29.1386967;
const b:Number = 3.6724956;
R = (R1/R2) * r3;
I = u/(R+R1);
T = (T0/R0) * R;
r_txt.text = R.toFixed(3);
i_txt.text = (I*1000).toFixed(3);
t_txt.text = T.toFixed(3);
//pentru grafic
lnT = Math.log(T);
lnRI2 = Math.log(R*I*I);
grafic_mc.panta_mc.x = Math.round((90 *
grafic_mc.panta_mc.y = Math.round(-(75 *
grafic_mc.xy_txt.text = "(" + lnT.toFixed(3) + ";
lnRI2.toFixed(3) + ")";
and, also for the determination of Planck’s
constant using the photoelectric effect
function myupdate():void
var lu:Number = luSlider_mc.value;
var vb:Number = vbSlider_mc.value;
var vbIdeal:Number = 0;
var frecv:Number = 0;
var i:uint = 0;
var divVb:Number = 0;
var divLU:Number = 0;
//[701, 637, 577.5, 528.5, 520, 511];
if(lu<=701 && lu>637)
i = 0;
if(lu<=637 && lu>577.5)
i = 1;
if(lu<=577.5 && lu>528.5)
i = 2;
if(lu<=528.5 && lu>520)
i = 3;
if(lu<=520 && lu>=511)
i = 4;
divLU = (arrLU[i] - arrLU[i+1]) / (arrVb[i+1] arrVb[i]);
divVb = (arrVb[i+1] - arrVb[i]) / (arrFrecv[i+1] arrFrecv[i]);
vbIdeal = Math.abs(lu - arrLU[i])/divLU +
//divFrecv = (arrFrecv[i+1] - arrFrecv[i]) /
(arrVb[i+1] - arrVb[i]);
rotatie = Math.round((vbIdeal - vb) * divRot);
galv_mc.indicator_mc.rotation = rotatie;
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
9. References
frecvVal_txt.text = frecv.toFixed(3);
It is worth emphasizing that we have noticed
an improvement in the understanding of physics
phenomena and laws due to the implementation
of computer simulations in our physics
3. Discussion
In the recent years the development of
efficient and accurate tools for physics computer
simulations has become of great interest for both
students and physicists. In this paper we present
two physics simulation computer applications
elaborated in Adobe Flash CS3 program that we
developed for our physics laboratory. They are
used for the study of the Stefan-Boltzmann law
of thermal radiation and the determination of
Planck’s constant using the photoelectric effect.
Moreover, they are part of a set of physics
simulations elaborated in Adobe Flash CS3,
which help our students to achieve a better
understanding of physics phenomena and laws.
There are some important arguments that
support the necessity of introduction of this way
of physics study. First, picking up experimental
data is a process that can be perturbed by
errors, and this can be avoided by using virtual
tools like computer simulations. Moreover, the
computer applications also work as checking
tools of the results yielded by experimental work.
Future computer simulations can be envisioned
for improving the learning process. Thus we
open a window for the students to the virtual labs
and simulations, and they can learn to use a
comparative mode of learning and how to
experiment and use software applications. The
set of physics simulations they use can be
further implemented in the distance learning via
the Internet (e-learning), which is partially or
entirely based on Web and Internet courses and
Moreover, at our courses, seminaries and
laboratories, we are just beginning to develop
these kind of new learning activities, as for long
time we missed the necessary resources,
equipment and technical systems. Our simulation
programs themselves are inexpensive aids in the
study of physics.
4. Acknowledgements
This work was supported by grant no.
4504/14.09.2007 and no. 11-067/18.09.2007
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Formal and Informal Science Education
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[18] www.adobe.com/products/flash
Perennial Value of Great Physics
Laboratory Equipment Collections
R. Chisleag, V.C. Diaconescu and V. Buiu
The MUSEUM of the University “POLITEHNICA”
Bucharest, Romania
[email protected]
Abstract. The education in Mathematics,
Physics and Chemistry has been basic for the
training of higher technical staff during all its
history in Bucharest, even since "Princely
Academy of St. SAVA" (1694) and the first
Romanian "Higher Technical School" (1818). At
the "St. SAVA College" (1832) one of the four
offered curricula was in "Exact Sciences". The
first laboratory equipment of Physics and
Chemistry was bought in 1833. The first Physics
Laboratory was operational in 1850. Since then,
the higher technical education in Bucharest was
reorganized many times.
In the new campus (1886, POLIZU street) of
the “National School of Bridges and Roads”,
designed by the French architects LECOMTE DE
NOUY and Bernard CASSIEN and built between
1884-6, it was reserved a large room (called
MUSEUM, close to the main amphitheatre), to
the equipment for future teaching demonstrations
and student lab work.
A full collection of Physics laboratory
equipment was ordered to the internationally
renowned “E. DUCRETET” scientific equipment
company in Paris (35 rue des Feuillantines).
Eugène DUCRETET (1844-1915), in spite of
being a self made man, produced new devices
for leading physicists of his time, became an
active member of the French Physical Society (
>30 papers published) and an inventor
(especially in radio telecommunications), a gold
medallist and finally an organizer of universal
exhibitions. This DUCRETET collection, firstly
made out of 867 pieces (the catalogue of which
having been found), was exhibited at the 1885
International Exhibition of Anvers, where
received a Honour Diploma before starting to be
used in Bucharest, since 1886. Afterwards, there
had yearly been ordered ~ 20 new laboratory
items, illustrating newly discovered phenomena
(radio, X rays, radioactivity a. s. o.). The King
Carol I st honoured Eugène DUCRETET with the
title of “officier de l'instruction publique, de la
Couronne de Roumanie”.
By its size, its complexion, its updating, its
quality, the high precision of its components and
their reliability (even today working!), this
DUCRETET Collection of Physics lab equipment
is unique in Romania and probably very rare in
the world. It has permanently been a source of
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The existence of such a Collection has led to
the development, in the Department of Physics,
of a workshop, initially for maintenance and
repairs but lately for building new didactic and
research equipment, sometimes multiplied by
specialized companies. Since its beginning, the
MUSEUM was the nursery of new experimental
courses. It was developed, including exhibits on
“POLITEHNICA” achievements and, in 1927, it
was reorganized as the “Industrial Museum of
the Polytechnic School”, disappearing in 1948
during the soviet’s imposed reform of education
in the country. A part of the Collection has been
preserved in the Department of Physics, for
experimental demonstrations, until 1960, when a
communist reform transformed Physics in a
theoretical discipline taught only to seniors.
Since then, the destruction of the collection was
very fast, it being considered totally depreciated
and disappearing from records. Some pieces
(spectroscope, lunette) have survived in some
labs, even after moving to the new campus
(GROZAVESTI, 1970’), being used for research,
especially interdisciplinary and training of school
teachers, of gifted pupils attending conferences
at POLITEHNICA and of Romanian participants
in international Olympiads.
The MUSEUM has been re-opened on
December 3, 2003. There have been found,
exhibited and d and offered to visiting classes,
for classical experiments, 14 pieces of the initial
DUCRETET collection,, al in all in good state,
starting with a genuine metre-etalon and its
metrological certificate from Sevres.
Keywords. Formal and Informal Edcuation,
Suggestions. 1.- HSCI, with the contribution of
pupils, students, teachers, professors, museums
and companies to set up and keep
REPERTORIES of museums of science open to
live classes and of valuable laboratory
collections, particularly of those having received
important prizes; 2. – HSCI to regularly organize
PUPIL COMPETITIONS for finding valuable
pieces of Physics laboratory equipment having
belonged to old collections.
Permanently Expanding the Use of
Standard Laboratory Equipment to
New Applications
R. Chisleag
University “POLITEHNICA” Bucharest, Romania
[email protected]
Abstract. One important resource to cheaply
improve Experimental Physics training, in
schools and universities and at the same time, to
offer more experimental opportunities to the
interested pupils and students, is to use the
existing standard teaching laboratory equipment
to perform experiments outside the initial scope
the equipment has been designed, produced,
advertised and sold for.
These new experiments may refer to: larger
ranges, a better precision, smaller quantities,
more complex investigated objects, new
phenomena (eventually interdisciplinary) and
higher levels of the processing of experimentally
got data.
In the paper, there is described a new
application of the standard equipment designed
for the measurement, in a Physics didactic
laboratory, of the velocity of light in air,
equipment produced by many teaching
laboratory equipment companies and widely
distributed in schools and universities.
The author has used this existing equipment
to study the velocities of propagation of light in
an optical fiber, particularly to determine the ratio
of the refractive indices of core and cladding of
the optical fibers, assembled in a light cable.
A possibility to determine the velocity of light
would be by measuring: the wavelength in the
medium (usually around ~ 0.5 micrometers) possibly to be done with the existing equipment
and the frequency of the light wave, f0 = ~ 6*10 14
Hz – a too large frequency to be measured in a
school laboratory.
Other possibility to determine the velocity of
light, is to measure the time of propagation, t, of
a known signal over a measurable distance, l.
Because the velocity of light is very high (~ 3*
108 m/s) and the cozy operational distance in a
teaching laboratory is ~ 1 m, which may be
measured with a standard lineal, with a precision
of 1 mm, there is to be measured a time of ~
3.33 ns, too small a time for the precision of the
equipment available in Physics didactic
The principle of the method used to measure
the velocity of light in air, with cheap available
equipment, is to periodically modulate, in
intensity, a light wave, with a piezoelectric,
stabilized in frequency (f1 = 60 MHz), modulator
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
and let the modulated signal to propagate
through the studied transparent material (air),
supposed to be homogenous. In his way, the
phase difference is reduced 107 times, but this
new difference of phase is, again, too large to be
measured with a cheap oscilloscope. The
solution is to add to this signal other signal of
equal intensity, but with a frequency f2, differing
from the modulating signal f1 with only ~100 kHz.
The resulting mixed signal is monitored with a
cheap oscillator, after filtering the higher
frequency equal with f1 + f2 .
To measure the differences of time of
propagation in the core and in the cladding of
optical fibers, independently of the configuration,
environment and different connections there is
used a differential set-up and a reference signal,
synchronized with f1 and mixed with f2.
The experiments performed by students, on 4
types of light cables, show that the determination
of velocities of light in light cables is possible with
simple equipment, with a less than 10% relative
Keywords. Formal and Informal Edcuation,
Suggestion. The author suggests HSci to set up
a yearly competition for school pupils for
introducing new uses of the existing standard
laboratory equipment, eventually, on imposed,
each year, new topics.
Informal Learning at School.
Science Fairs in Basic Schools
Z. Esteves1, A. Cabral1 and M.F.M. Costa2
Externato Maria Auxiliadora
Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Departamento de Física
Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal
[email protected], [email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. The communication herein reports on
the second edition of the annual Science Fair at
Externato Maria Auxiliadora, in Viana do Castelo,
Portugal. It was intended to give continuity to the
research project on science fairs of the previous
year improving, based on past conclusions,
some aspects: the age group of the participants
was enlarged to ages 10 to 15, and there was a
major effort to engage parents and the whole
school community in the process and in the
development/construction of the projects to the
science fair. Besides that, to the teachers
involved in the project, was assigned an
increased set of weekly hours to give support to
the works realization. The participation of the
students was not obligatory and it had no weight
in the student’s formal evaluation.
The results suggested that the whole school
benefited from the enlargement of the age group
of the participants in the event, and that the
projects made by the younger students were
particularly interesting. We concluded again that
the Science Fair contributed effectively to an
increase of the student’s interest on scientific
Keywords. Basic Schools, Informal Learning,
Science Fairs.
1. Introduction
Science Fairs are generally classified as
cultural and pedagogical activities that involves
all school communities, allowing public
presentation of the scientific projects [1]
developed by the students, the dialogue, the
sharing and discussion of knowledge among
students teachers and, hopefully, parents and
the community. Work methodologies are
developed, research performed, and the
creativity of students but also teachers and
visitors during the exposition, is explored [2,3].
Science fairs stimulate the construction of the
scientific knowledge along the years, the
exchange of ideas, work habits and knowledge
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
However, the success of this kind of event
didn’t depend only on the effort of students but it
is also necessary that they feel the support given
by their teachers and parents. The help given by
professionals of the scientific area in study might
be very important during the development of the
project and the preparation of the presentation
[4]. However is important that this kind of support
begins at home. Therefore, parents should be
notified about the realization of the science fair
as early as possible [5] and enrolled actively.
A good organization of the science fair is also
necessary to make it a success. Therefore
organizers should select the appropriate space
for the number of participants and visitants that
they expect [6], select dates and opening hours
carefully [7] and make available materials and
services if necessary [6]. If parents are notified
sooner, certainly they don’t mind to help in the
organization, helping the organizing teachers
[5,7] and so leave them with more time to
support students with benefits also in terms of
security and working rules [4].
2. Development of the project
On previous year project, the first science fair
organized at school Externato Maria Auxiliadora
was limited to students with ages between 12
and 15 years old (7th to 9th grades) and the
scientific areas involved on projects were
restricted to Physics and Chemistry. The
participants and organizers’ lack of experience
led to some faults that one tried to remove in this
second edition of the science fair.
The fair was advertised sooner by middle
October 2007, and the deadline for submission
was 29th November. However, it was necessary
to give more time in order to support the
formation of groups, the choice of themes and
the preparation of the projects. Trying to surpass
these difficulties, it was established the end of
the 2nd term (March) as deadline for the delivery
of the projects. The realization of the fair was set
for the beginning of the 3rd term (April), since
them the students are not overloaded with works
and tests, like it happened last year, and were
able to give oneself up to the realization of the
projects. The two weeks school’ break that
preceded the fair was very useful to finish the
projects and to prepare the presentations. The
proposed date for the fair seems to have been a
good choice since the student/teacher interaction
could be done in a daily base, and the students
could practice their presentations and reinforce
their scientific knowledge on the subject of their
project. The time gap between the choice of the
projects and the realization of the fair, also
allowed teachers to check if the projects were
feasible or not in terms of presentation at the
available space, as well as checking the security
conditions, making the students aware of the
constraints. The gathering of information in this
phase was essential for the subsequent
distribution of the physical spaces in the fair.
Another factor that contributed to the success
of the science fair was the fact that, in the
beginning of the year, parents were informed in a
general meeting about the realization of this
event, and of the importance the activity may
have for the students in their learning/”growing”
as well as of their active participation in the
process. By the end of the 2nd term all parents
were informed in writing about the fair date and
were invited to attend and participate.
Although this initiative was originated at the
school’s science departments, the Arts and
Technological education department was also
actively involved for some support on the
construction of the fair mascot (Figure 1) and
also helped in some projects.
enthusiastic participation of the pre-school
students, not only in the visit to the fair, but also
in the preparation and presentation of two
Figure 1. Poster with the mascot of the science fair
3. Results and discussion
101 students (around 67 % of the students of
the school) participated in the fair. It is possible
to see in Figure 2 that there was a larger
participation of the students of the 7th grade and
bellow (ages between 10 and 13 years old).
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Figure 2. Percentage of students of different grades that
participate on the science fair
The enthusiasm and great level of
involvement of the new-coming students (last
year fair only students from 7th to 9th grades
participated) was obvious. It was remarkable the
participation of more than 80 % of the students of
the 5th year, for whom this activity was
completely new and that have a still limited
contact with science subjects. We may conclude
that it seems to be a good age to initiate them
into projects of this extent. The enthusiasm in the
participation in the process is very important.
However it is of great importance the constant
surveillance of the evolution of the students’
participation in this type of events across the
year (and in the subsequent years), creating
work habits in the preparation and development
of scientific projects, making sustainable this
increased interest in science.
One important aspect that we take into
account is the fact that some elder students
deliver their projects after the deadline or that
disregarded the standards of security imposed.
In some cases this lead to the non acceptation of
some projects, as a way to emphasize the
importance of responsibility, including in what
concerns deadlines and security rules. This
imposition also led to an improvement of the final
products in comparison to last years’ fair.
Also important is the continuity of previous
year projects, which is recommended in the
literature [4]. Two of last year’ projects were
further developed and presented by the same
groups this year. This fact would have interest, if
the improvements were not only aesthetic,
instead of scientific ones as it should be.
On Figure 3, it is possible to see that the
distribution of students by subject was
homogeneous. These projects were classified in
the respective areas take into account the
theoretical basis. Among the 32 projects
presented, 12 were approached in the Physics
perspective, 12 of the Chemistry and 8 in the
broader classification of Natural Sciences. This
last area was a novelty regarding the previous
year, when there were only projects of the areas
of physics and chemistry. It seems that this
difference can be related to two quite obvious
reasons: the biggest involvement and support
given by the teachers of natural sciences
discipline, and the participation of students from
5th and 6th grades (authors of 5 from 8 projects
on this natural sciences group). It is important to
stress that, in spite of the homogeneity described
previously, the students treated the subjects
under rather varied perspectives, i.e. related to
phenomenon explanation,... It was also
interesting to see the variety of resources used
to improve the quality of presentations, from
common posters and dossiers, to reports and
Gowin’s V explored in the classrooms.
Figure 3. Distribution of the projects between the science
In terms of the number of students' which
constituted each work group (Figure 4), it was
verified that around 47 % of the projects were
developed in groups of 4 students. On larger
groups was found no major disparity in what
concerns students’ knowledge, and it can even
be considered beneficial in someway since the
students could take turns in the presentations,
allowing them to visit other stands and see, and
discuss, other projects.
Figure 4. Distribution of students per group
Taking in account the projects development
stage, the presentation clearness and the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
creativity, the jury had chosen five winning
projects and, by vote, the students have chosen
another. It was interesting to notice that the five
selected works were developed by groups of
students of the 5th, 6th and 7th grades. This
demonstrates the high quality of the projects of
these students when compared to those elder
We considered, and will work accordingly,
very important to check if this quality will be kept
in the following years.
We can conclude that science fairs are of
great interest to schools and their students, since
they give the opportunity to students to increase
their knowledge in an autonomous way working
hands-on. One can finally conclude that the
improvement of sciences fairs in schools is
dependent on the continuity of the activity,
participation and involvement of whole school
community, and, probably the most important
point, the sharing of knowledge and experiences
between teachers.
digital de Educacion e Nuevas Tecnologias,
nº6. April 2000.
T. Abernathy and R. Vineyard, Academic
Competitions in science: what are the
rewards for students? The Clearing house,
Volume 74: 269-276, 2000.
W. Sumrall, Nontradicional characteristics of
a successful science fair project, Science
Scope, 20-25, 2004.
J. Rose, A. Smith, K. Um and M.
Demetrikopoulos, Reverse your science fair
with educational partnerships, Science
Scope, 16-19, 2004.
Science Fair Plus: Reinventing an Old
Favorite, K8. NSTA press, 2003.
4. Future work
This project was awed to be of all school
community interest. The continuity of the
realization of science fairs is a way of curricular
enrichment, and a way to increase not only the
success in terms of student’ learning of scientific
subjects but also as the motivation, at larger, for
learning. In addition science fairs are a way to
enhance students’ responsibility and autonomy.
In the following academic year the project will be
developed within “Area de Projecto” classes
(project classes), which will allow teachers to
have a larger control of the whole process. It will
be done an attempt to articulate the projects with
other fields of study in interdisciplinary
Another aspect to be improved in the
following science fair will be a previous definition
of the jury which will choose the winners of the
There is an intention to open the event to
elementary school students of the same
institution but organizing this “junior” fair in a
different room. This initiative will allow studying
the degree of involvement of these students, the
quality of projects, the time spent and the
number of participations, attitudinal and learning
5. References
[1] http://portal.mec.gov.br/seb/index.php?opt
[2] R. Mancuso, Feiras de Ciências: produção
estudantil, avaliação, consequência, Revista
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Metals Are Reductive but Some Are
More than Others
S.R. Oliveira Guedes1
and J.M. Pereira da Silva2
Colégio Internato dos Carvalhos
Rua do Padrão 83 – 4415 Pedroso, Portugal
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. One of the first insights given to the
students when they study the reactions of
oxidation-reduction is that metals are reductive.
Apart from this important aspect of the chemical
characteristics of metals, it is important to
highlight that some are more reductive than
The idea of an electrochemical potential of a
chemical, and, in this case a metal, is used as a
sign of how difficult it will be for this metal to
undergo an oxidation when it is in contact with its
This experiment intends to prove that when
two different metals are in contact through an
electrolytic conductor, they produce an electro
driven force which is attributed to the difference
of the electrochemical potential existing among
the present species.
Due to this fact, and to prove the existing
theories on this issue, and still in order to be able
to compare results, an experimental work was
carried on. By using some manual dexterity, a
very simple-to-use equipment was used and it
allowed a successful experiment.
Experiments, Teaching.
1. Introduction
forceps that were used to do the readings. This
fact allows us to infer in which direction the redox
reaction occurs [2].
Also, from this experiment, the need to
establish conditions and choose an element to
be used as a standard electrode emerged [3].
2. Methodology
We can describe the methodology used
based on the tasks that were followed in every
¾ Bibliographic research on the table of the
standard potentials of reduction;
¾ Preparation of materials – mop stripes;
¾ Preparation of the auxiliary equipment –
acrylic boards;
¾ Preparation of the metals studied;
¾ Preparation of ionic solutions of the metal
elements involved with the concentration
1 mol.dm-3;
¾ Preparation of a saturated solution of
potassium nitrate.
These experiments were carried on so as to
allow, with the results obtained, the building of
the tables presented on item 4 of this work.
Also, a table with the values of pattern
potential of reduction for the same chemical
species studied was similarly built.
By comparing the experimental results with
the pattern values that are internationally
acknowledged, the students analyzed the
reproducibility of the potential of the metals
under study so that they could conclude on the
pedagogical/didactical value of the experimental
3. The Equipment
Figure 1. Acrylic board
When consulting the standard reduction
potential table, the students observe the
existence of values of negative and positive
potential which leads them to conclude on the
spontaneity of the reactions that occur when
different metals get in contact via an electrolyte
[1]. In this experiment the students can verify the
change of signal when they move the voltmeter
Figure 2. Stripes tissues with metals
Two 330 x 170 x 5-mm acrylic boards
(Plexiglas – PMMA) were used. They were holed
with a Ø = 5mm screw so that, later, fixing
screws can be introduced, according to Figure 1.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Seven 120 x 20 x 1-mm stripes of absorbing
tissue, usually used in mops at home, were cut.
Later they were sunk in an electrolyte
concentration and seven different pieces of metal
are placed on them (each metal with the
corresponding ion concentration, 1 mol.dm-3 in
the stripes), as it is shown in Figure 2.
Note - Without any pedagogical intent, the
metals were placed by order of the atomic
number. Thus we have the metal and salt used
for the electrolyte of its ion:
– Magnesium / MgSO4
13Al – Aluminium / Al2(SO4)3
26Fe – Iron / FeSO4
29Cu – Copper / CuSO4
30Zn – Zinc / ZnSO4
47Ag – Silver / AgNO3
82Pb – Lead / Pb(NO3)2
Figure 5. Equipment ready to experiment
Final assembly already fixed and ready for
the ddp readings. Once the screws/nuts are quite
tight adjusting the acrylic boards, the system is
ready for the measuring, as shown in Figure 6.
After that, a longer mop stripe, 260 x 20 x 1
mm, was cut and sunk in an electrolyte of
saturated potassium nitrate [4] and then placed
in a way as to connect all the others “as a comb”,
as in Figure 3.
Figure 6. Final equipment
4. Experimental Readings
Figure 3. Salt bridge connecting all stripes
Finally, we place a second acrylic board on
top of the first one, with 3 mm Ø holes located
strategically in the same direction of the metals
on the mop stripes to be able to introduce the
voltmeter forceps so that the readings of the
potential differences can be done, as
represented in Figures 4 and 5.
The values of standard potential [5] for the
metals studied are presented in Table 1:
Table 1. Standard Potential Electrodes / Eº, of the metals
Mn+ + ne Æ Mº
Mg (aq) + 2e Æ Mgº
Al3+(aq) + 3e Æ Alº
Zn2+(aq) + 2e Æ Znº
Fe2+(aq) + 2e Æ Feº
Pb2+(aq) + 2e Æ Pbº
2H+(aq) + 2e Æ H2 (g)
Cu2+(aq) + 2e Æ Cuº
Ag+(aq) + e Æ Agº
Eº / V
− 2,36 V
− 1,68 V
− 0,76 V
− 0,44 V
− 0,13 V
0,00 V
+ 0,34 V
+ 0,80 V
Representing on a line the theoretical position
of the metals studied, we have:
Figure 4. Top acrylic board
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Cu (s) + 2Ag+ (aq) Æ Cu2+ (aq) + 2Ag (s)
Table 2. Theoretical standard values / V
In order to record the average values
obtained we carried out several experiments.
In Table 3, we present the experimental
results of the driven force between the pairs of
metals used in the study.
Table 3. Experimental results / V
With the experimental results we represent,
on a line, as a reference, the more reductive
metal. We can see its position compared with the
one of its peers.
Figure 7. The equipment and the reading instrument
Considering that the spontaneous reactions,
the thermodynamically possible ones, are those
that present a difference of positive potential
among the pairs of metals studied and which can
be represented according to the following
chemical equations:
3Mg (s) + 2Al3+ (aq) Æ 3Mg2+ (aq) + 2Al (s)
Mg (s) + Zn2+ (aq) Æ Mg2+ (aq) + Zn (s)
Mg (s) + Fe2+ (aq) Æ Mg2+ (aq) + Fe (s)
Mg (s) + Pb2+ aq) Æ Mg2+ (aq) + Pb (s)
Mg (s) + Cu2+ (aq) Æ Mg2+ (aq) + Cu (s)
Mg (s) + 2Ag+ (aq) Æ Mg2+ (aq) + 2Ag (s)
2Al (s) + 3Zn2+ (aq) Æ 2Al3+ (aq) + 3Zn (s)
2Al (s) + 3Fe2+ (aq) Æ 2Al3+ (aq) + 3Fe (s)
2Al (s) + 3Pb2+ (aq) Æ 2Al3+ (aq) + 3Pb (s)
2Al (s) + 3Cu2+ (aq) Æ 2Al3+ (aq) + 3Cu (s)
Al (s) + 3Ag+ (aq) Æ Al3+ (aq) + 3Ag (s)
Zn (s) + Fe2+ (aq) Æ Zn2+ (aq) + Fe (s)
Zn (s) + Pb2+ (aq) Æ Zn2+ (aq) + Pb (s)
Zn (s) + Cu2+ (aq) Æ Zn2+ (aq) + Cu (s)
Zn (s) + 2Ag+ (aq) Æ Zn2+ (aq) + 2Ag (s)
Fe (s) + Pb2+ (aq) Æ Fe2+ (aq) + Pb (s)
Fe (s) + Cu2+ (aq) Æ Fe2+ (aq) + Cu (s)
Fe (s) + 2Ag+ (aq) Æ Fe2+ (aq) + 2Ag (s)
Similarly, and by using, as a reference, the
values obtained for the less reductive metal, we
can see the relative position of its peers.
Since iron is quite important in the
construction of any structure, which leads to the
studies of protection to corrosion, we suggest a
representation that highlights its relative position
among the several metals studied.
5. Conclusions
This experiment allows the transmission
knowledge [6], namely the notion of potential and
the importance of the existence of the standard
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
electrode. Being aware that there is a wide range
of factors contributing to a sometimes substantial
difference between the values obtained in the
experiment and the standard values, we must
consider this the kind of work that can be carried
out in a classroom and stands out as a motivator
To name the reasons that justify the not so
good results can lead to a valuable and healthy
scientific discussion among the students.
To infer which spontaneous reactions,
electrical resistances, ionic interferences and
concentrations, work temperature and, naturally,
the experimental mistakes is always the
appropriate scientific attitude.
6. Acknowledgements
I thank all students that attend the 11th form of
the Chemistry, Environment and Quality (QAQ
course, in the Colégio Internato dos Carvalhos),
who were deeply involved in this experiment. We
also thank Edite Pereira da Silva, our English
7. References
[1] Peter G. Nelson, Quantifying Electrical
Character, J.C.E., 74, n 9, p 1085, 2007.
[2 ] khodakov, Iu. V., Epstein, D.A. and
Gloriózov, P.A. Química Inorgânica. Ed. Mir
Moscovo. p. 127.
[3] Brett, Ana O. and Christopher M.A.
Electroquímica – Princípios, métodos e
aplicações. Ed. Almedina. p. 459.
[4] Howell, B. A. Cobb, V. S. and Haaksma R.
A. Journal of Chemical Education, A
Convenient Salt Bridge for Electrochemical
Experiments in the General Chemistry
Laboratory. V. 60, n. 4 April 1983.
[5] Tanis, David O. Journal of Chemical
Education. Filtrates and Residues. Galvanic
Cells and the Standard Reduction Potential
Table. V. 67. N. 7 P. 602-603. Jul.1990.
[6] Birss, Viola I.; Truax, D. Rodney. Journal of
Chemical Education. An Effective Approach
to Teaching Electrochemistry. V. 67. N. 5. P.
403-409. May 1990.
Building a Robot to Use in School –
Teachers and Students Learning
A.F. Ribeiro
Univ. of Minho, Dep. Industrial Electronics,
Campus de Azurém,
4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
[email protected]
Abstract. Robotics is becoming extremely
popular amongst the youngsters, because it is
fun, you can practice with hands-on and above
all you get real results. Since most students have
to develop practical works in their schools,
robotics works are becoming very popular.
But robotic is a multidisciplinary area of
knowledge and therefore the school teachers
might not have the know-how in all required
The Robotics Group at University of Minho
(Guimarães, Portugal), created a new robotics
event called RoboParty© where they actually
electronics, programming, etc.) in 3 days (24
hours a day) supervised continuously by experts
on the various fields. At the end, they take the
robot home with them and they can continue
using and improving it later on.
Keywords. Robotics, Event, Hands-on, Party,
1. Introduction
It is well known and accepted that in our
future there will be mobile autonomous robots,
new technological devices and ideas to help
society in general, specially servicing robots to
help humans in their everyday tasks.
Therefore, many robotics groups have been
fostered to develop and improve such
technological devices, but to continue that work
more and more researchers are needed.
Youngsters are very welcome to all these fields
of research since their normally bring with them
curiosity, new and rebel ideas, and will to work
and to prove themselves. There is a trend to
foster youngster’s curiosity and interest for
robotics engineering related areas, motivating
them to learn in a structured way and forcing
them to a hand-on-science experience.
That requirement of preparing the young
generation for the robotics challenges of the
future is extremely necessary and it depends
very much on their teachers (primary and
secondary schools) which should be available to
teach them and to learn themselves also. When
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
a robotics project is under way, in most cases it
is much easier to motivate the students than their
teachers. The robots built by the students and a
possible participation in a robotics event normally
attract the media, being possible to advertise
publically their robots, giving some notoriety to
the school. These projects also keep the
students busy with learning rather than spending
time in other less desirable activities.
2. Motivations to organize RoboParty©
The Group of Automation and Robotics [1]
from University of Minho (Guimarães, Portugal)
[2] has been developing mobile autonomous
robots for the last 10 years, and has been
participating actively on many national and
international robotics competitions with some
success, with special attention dedicated to the
worldwide robotics challenge RoboCup [3], on
the Middle Size League, with a team of 5 robots
which can play football autonomously.
Primary and secondary schools from all over
the country have been requesting this group to
make robotic demonstrations and speeches, and
the group use to travel to the schools with robots
to fulfil their desire. But the frequency was
getting so high that it was decided to organize an
event working the other way round. The schools
would come to the University of Minho and bring
teams of students with one teacher (or person
responsible by the team) for three complete days
in a unique event, where they would be taught
how to build a robot with their own hands, with
lectures specially created for their young ages,
by experts on robotics. The experience was a
success and is here described.
3. RoboParty – a new type of event
The main objective was to teach robotics to
youngster from 11 years old, to people who
doesn’t know anything about robotics, in an
entertaining way, very practical with hands-on, in
a friendship and helping environment, with lots of
fun, breaks for entertaining/sports activities. It is
also important to foster their enthusiasm by
science and technology studies, and the
participants are guided and supervised by
experts on robotics.
The participants need to bring with them to
the event a sleeping bag per person, a laptop
computer for the team, the desire to learn
robotics and good state of mind. In the end, they
take home a mobile robot built by them, physical
souvenirs from the RoboParty, lots of memories
and possibly a new future.
Each team has 4 people, one of them an
adult (a teacher or a parent). The participants are
suggested to share information, ideas and
knowledge with other teams, and in fact they
help each other very frequently.
4. Event Facilities
The event was held on the University sports
pavilion. The space was split into two areas:
working area (2/3 of the overall space) with
tables for the teams and electrical plugs; and a
sleeping/sports area (1/3 of the space) where
some entertaining/sports activities were held
during the day and a sleeping area during the
night, using sleeping bags on sports mattresses.
Figure 1. Sleeping Area
The sports hall has good conditions like
central heating/air conditioning, a large number
of toilets facilities, room with sports machines,
entrance control, parking space, file cabinet with
lockers, sound room, and a reception.
Nearby, there is the University canteen where
the students had their meals and a huge campus
garden where they can relax when they get tired.
A group of over 50 volunteers helped on the
organization, all of them last year students of the
Industrial Electronics degree.
There is a space where all participants attend
the lectures (how to build the robot, how to
solder electronic components, history of robotics,
robotics competitions, servicing robots, etc.).
Another space was reserved for robots
demonstrations (for anyone to show their robots
or technological gadgets). Some of the robots on
display were built at the University of Minho.
The entertaining/sports activities were very
popular, like: indoor Air Modelling, Basketball,
Football, Tennis table, Badminton, Wood Ball,
Taekwondo, Yoga, Kickboxing, Judo, Karate,
Capoeira, Stretches, Cardio Session, Triathlon
indoor, Golf, Quick Chess, circus activities,
Ballroom dance, Archery.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
These activities are available most of the time
and each participant can decide the activities he
wants to participate. All these activities had
professionals to help and teach the students.
5. RoboParty image
In order to make it more attractive, a designer
was asked to make the event’s image. A mascot
was created called Ruminho (Robotics at
University of MINHO). This mascot consists of a
friendly two wheels robot, with two robotic arms
and large eyes. Based on the Ruminho mascot,
several entities were created: a T-shirt to offer all
participants; a badge (with a transponder inside);
trophies for the winners; a certificate for
participants given in the end; a Ruminho plush
(for sale); and posters to advertise the event
(sent to schools weeks before).
Figure 3. RoboParty Poster
Figure 2. RoboParty Image
An appealing world wide web site was
created [4] not just to advertise the event but
also for other various reason like: to accept team
registrations with all the personal details, to give
participants all the necessary information to
parents and tutors, to explain the rules of the
event, the demonstrate with pictures the robotic
kit they have to assemble, to publish related
news, and above all to show the event live. With
these cameras the parents can see their kids online on the working area.
Figure 4. RoboParty Web site
6. Event Contents
The event is made up of several parts:
• training and lectures (specifically created
for youngsters)
• two invited speakers to talk about
robotics (normally robotics expert from a
foreign country, so that they can practice
their English language).
• actual hands-on robot build up (soldering
and mechanics)
• entertaining/sports activities (there is a
huge activities list they can choose
from). These activities allow them to rest
mentally, to try/learn new sports or other
activities and to meet new friends.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
During the event, there is a repairing
stand to fix some major break downs
made by the teams on the robots,
and this stand can fix immediately
and/or replace parts. All the robots
will leave the event running properly.
Figure 5. Lecture about robot assembling
Figure 7. Robot programming
Figure 8. Entertaining/sports activities
Figure 6. Soldering components
• robot programming (on their laptop)
optional small competition in the end
of the event, to allow teams to show
their robots working. It consisted of
three leagues: dance (90 seconds
on the stage), obstacle avoidance
(small track where robots cannot
collide with walls) and aesthetic
(robots decoration)
• demonstrations area, where other
robots are on display, to motivate
further developments
Figure 9. Optional competition
• There
programming experienced volunteers to
walk around helping and guiding all
teams. The volunteer are all University of
Minho last year Electronics students.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
7. Participants Kit
When participants arrive, they must bring a
sleeping bag each one, plus a laptop computer
for the team. Then, their team leader checks
them into the event as a team (all under age
have to bring a permit from signed by the parents
giving them permission to come to the event).
They are given badges (with their photograph
and a transponder) which gives them permit into
the facilities, a RoboParty T-shirt for every one, a
city map, a locker to keep their stuff closed, the
program of the event, the robotic Kit in a box, a
CD with instructions (a video) on how to build the
robot, and then they are taken to their table on
the working area.
Figure 11. L shape Motor support (left) and robot base
with two motors on (right)
Then the wheel is attached to the motor vein.
This is repeated to both right and left
Figure 12. Robot Wheel
The third support of the robot (caster wheel)
is also assembled and attached to base and the
back side.
Figure 10. RoboParty Box
The most basic tools to build the robot come
in the box, but some others like the soldering gun
they must bring from home or buy in the event.
The web site contains a description of all
necessary tools to build up the robot.
8. Building the robot
A robotic kit was developed on purpose for
this event, by SAR - Soluções de Automação e
Robótica [5] and University of Minho. This kit
was baptized as Bot’n Roll ONE [6].
The robot assembly has three major steps:
mechanics build up, electronics soldering and
robot programming. All the necessary parts are
in the box.
8.1. Mechanics
The participants start assembling the
mechanical components which consist of a base
where all the components attach to.
They start screwing one motor to an L shape
motor holder, and attaching it to the base.
Figure 13. Caster wheel
Other components have to be assembled but
that task will be carried out after the electronic
board has been assembled.
8.2. Soldering electronic board
The second step is then to solder the
electronic components on the electronic board.
This board was developed on purpose with large
electronic components to make it easy for the
participants the soldering task.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Figure 14. Electronic board (top) and electronic
components (bottom)
The components are well and easily
identifiable with colours or asymmetries and their
location on the board is also easy to find
because the board has the names written on it.
Before soldering the components a lecture on
“how to solder” is given for those inexperienced.
Another lecture is given to explain the
participants what is a resistor, a capacitor, a
battery, and LED, etc. These very basic
instructions make them aware of the functionality
of each component. The components soldering
proved to be one of the most desired task by the
Figure 16. Major components
Once all the components are soldered, the
board should look like the following picture.
Figure 17. Board with components soldered
To make it easy for the teams to program the
board, a USB-Serial converter is used on the
board, but since this uses SMD’s (very small
components), this is given already assembled as
a small secondary board and they just have to
plug it on the main board.
Figure 15. Soldering task
Even though there is a manual to follow, a CD is
distributed on the box with videos on how to
assemble the electronic board and all the
volunteer are around the teams to guided and
help the participants.
Figure 18. USB to serial converter
The board is then tested and placed on the
robot (initial base where motor and wheel are
attached.) with plastic supports.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
8.3. Robot Programming
Figure 19. Board supports
The wires are then plugged in. Again, all the
wires given have specific colours so that the
participants do not mixed them. The main switch
is mounted into place and the wires plugged.
Then the battery is placed under the robot
and it gets stuck with Velcro, so that they can
remove and replace it whenever they need
without screws or any other mechanical device.
There are two optional extras for those teams
who required it: a line follower and an LCD
display. Those come already assembled and
they just have to plug them on the robot.
The final aspect of the robot is pictured next.
Figure 20. Fully assembled Bot’n Roll ONE
All the cables, CDs and chargers are supplied
in the BOX so that the robot can start working
The third step is the robot programming. The
software has to be installed on the laptop
computer the teams brought with them, and a
manual is given to all participants with
instructions on how to install it. The software also
comes on the CD within the robot box. A
PICAXE is used as the brain of the robot and
therefore the software to use is a compiler from
the PICAXE itself.
The language is BASIC style and several
examples built by the development team are
given to the participants so that they get easily
familiar with the main instructions. One lecture is
given to participants on how to program a robot
and teaching the main BASIC instructions.
Taking into account their age and their short
programming knowledge, this lecture was
specially created with cartons and several
examples in order to make it easy to understand.
It describes the most basic instructions and real
examples are given and followed step by step so
that they don’t get afraid of learning the rest of
the commands. In a few minutes the participants
can experience their small projects and see the
robot moving.
They get excited because the learning rate is
fast. Besides, they are a group of four people
and they can share their experiences and
suggestions from four people make the learning
process much easier and fast.
9. Results achieved
On the first edition (2007), the organization
advertised RoboParty only on the city suburbs
expecting to receive between 15 and 20 teams
(4 participants each), but the registration had to
be closed down because over 100 teams were
already registered and the space available for
the event was not much. They came from all
around the country including the Portuguese
islands. The space was re-thought of and 100
teams participated, meaning around about 400
participants plus the over 50 volunteers and
organizers. Participated teams from primary
schools, secondary schools, professional
schools and even from universities (although just
a few). It is important to point out also teams
from robotic clubs and families.
The same happened on the second edition
(2008), also with 100 teams (400 participants
from all over the country) and the list did not
grow due to lack of space.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Figure 21. RoboParty Working Area
10. Case Study survey
In order to be able to improve the event, a
statistical survey study was carried out during the
2008 edition, where over 12% of the participants
were enquired with 19 questions. After a careful
analysis, the most relevant aspects were taken
into account and these are described below:
• Ages - The youngest participant was 9
year old and the oldest was 56 years old.
Without considering the adults that
accompany the students, the average
age was just below 18 years old. An age
distribution chart can be seen in the
figure below.
Ages Distribution
On the enquiry, participants were asked to
give some suggestions and those were taken
into account and most of them were related with
space for the teams, which means that the
technical and functional aspects were fine.
11. Conclusions
60 #
Figure 22. RoboParty participants ages distribution
• The participants come from all over the
country, having a major percentage
coming from the northern region.
• The degree of satisfaction was:
completely satisfied (40%), very satisfied
(54,5%), satisfied (5%).
• Regarding the expectations: exceeded
expectations (74%), match expectations
(23%), below expectations (2%).
• What they enjoyed the most: we point
out just a few answers like: “The robot
programming”, “The build up from
scratch with the help of professional”,
“speeches and training”, “the help from
volunteers”, “to learn new things”, “the
possibility of build a robot myself”, etc.
• How important has RoboParty been
regarding what you know about robotics:
important (51%), important (36%), not
important at all (0%).
• When the participants were asked if they
would like to come and study on this
University (Minho), 65% of them
answered yes even though that most of
them are not from Guimarães.
• Which area attracts the participant the
most: Electronics (20%), computer
science (58%), mechanics (3%), others
• When asked if they would continue using
and playing with their robot at school or
at home, around about 92% answered
yes, they would.
• Where would they use their robot: At
everywhere (11%), no answer (10%).
• Who was the adult who accompanied
the team: teacher (54%), parents (4%)
and other family or friends (40%).
• Within the team, who actually put more
effort on the robot built up: The enquired
(15%), the other team mates (11%), all
contributed (70%), the responsible adult
of the team (5%).
The outcome of the event is very rewarding.
No major disadvantages were found so far apart
from a lot of work to organize. The main
conclusions are:
• Since this event is dedicated to people
who wants to start on the robotics field
and they don’t have much knowledge
about it, many people wants to
participate; teams from schools, teams
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
from groups of robotic, and even teams
made up of families (parents and kids).
In most cases, the adults that come with
the teams are teachers of English,
Gymnastic, History, and other fields
which have nothing to do with robotics.
Primary and Secondary teachers insist
this event should continue in an annual
basis, which the organization is
considering very seriously. The teachers
also see this event as an opportunity to
learn a little bit more about robotics and
to improve their know-how.
In the end everyone leaves the event
physically tired but with lots of good
memories, souvenirs, but especially with
a robot built by them selves.
The participants also had the opportunity
to show their robots working properly on
the optional com petition on the end of
the event, in three different leagues. A
large number of public was present to
fully and strongly supporting the
The youngster’s motivation to participate
on RoboParty is extremely high because
they learn at their own rate, they learn
many different fields, they learn
technology, with easy lessons, without
stress, with time to relax, and they have
the chance to meet new friends and
practice new sports and entertaining
All robots leave the event working
properly, no break downs.
They can continue using the robot and
upgrade it at home or at school, and they
can also participate on national and
international robotics events.
Some school teams used this robot to
participate on the Portuguese national
competition and they got places in the
medals and even participated on
RoboCup with the kit.
8. Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank the team from
SAR – Soluções de Automação e Robótica who
put all efforts in developing this project. Without
the University of Minho help and especially all
the staff from the sports hall, nothing would be
possible to organize.
All the organising committee and volunteers
deserve the recognition of their work.
A special thank you to Agostinho Gil Lopes,
Teresa Moreira and Angela Carvalho whom
besides being volunteers they took care of the
event survey.
9. References
[1] Group of Automation and Robotics,
[2] University of Minho, http://www.uminho.pt
[3] RoboCup Federation,
[4] RoboParty, http://www.roboparty.org
[5] SAR – Soluções de Automação e Robótica,
[6] Robot Bot’n Roll ONE,
Hands-on and Fieldwork Activities in
Biology Teaching: A Proposal for
Vocational High School Students
J.Moraes1,2 and M.C.M. Godinho-Netto1
Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica de
São Paulo (CEFET São Paulo).
Rua Pedro Vicente 625,
CEP 01109-010, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Interunidades em Biotecnologia,
Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas,
Universidade de São Paulo (USP),
São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
[email protected],[email protected]
Abstract. The practice of “hands-on” and
scientific activities outside the classroom is
fundamental to the understanding of the nature
of science. In Brazil fieldwork and “hands-on”
activities are still very rare in public education.
This paper present a study carried out with 200
students attending Biology classes in their first
vocational high school year at Federal
Technological Education Centre of São Paulo,
(CEFET-São Paulo, Brazil). It aims at describing
the efforts to introduce hands-on and fieldwork
activities in Biology Curriculum considering the
student’s profile, the institutional reality and the
brazilian government orientations.
Keywords. Lack of Fieldwork, “Hands-on”,
Biology Teaching, Science Outside the
Classroom, Brazilian Education.
1. Introduction
The science teaching should inspire students
to continue their studies and prepare them for
recognize and assess the impacts of science and
technology in their daily lives. It should also
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
develop skills to permit them to make decisions
based on the knowledge acquired. But the
progress of various scientific areas in recent
decades has been accompanied by a formal
education increasingly focused on memorization
of facts, data and scientific concepts.
Unfortunately, most of the times, the science
classes discourage students from thinking for
themselves. On the other hand, experimental
classes are often presented as a tedious and
repetitive activity.
In Biology teaching, less time is dedicated to
experimental or investigative activities than to
lecture classes. And, when such activities are
offered it usually consist of laboratory-based
cellular experiments with practice oriented to
microscopic observation. In some ways, these
practices serve to illustrate and deepen some
issues but end up playing the style "chalkboard
and chalk", working more as a complement than
as an alternative strategy for learning science [1].
The National Curricular Parameters (PCNs) of
the Ministry of Education (MEC) of Brazil indicate
the guidelines for the Science teaching in both
elementary and high school education. It
proposes the production of effective knowledge
by encouraging the interdisciplinarity and
contextualization of the subjects to be studied
Despite PCNs recognize the importance of
learning science and its relations with
technology, environment and social issues, they
implementation and effectiveness of new
teaching practices in the classroom in Brazil
"The new theories of education, even where they
could be widely discussed among experts
educators and researchers, are still far from
being an effective presence in much of our basic
education. Innovative proposals have brought
renewal of contents and methods, but we must
recognize that little reach most of the classrooms
where, in fact, old practices persist. Changing
this state of affairs therefore is not something
that can be done only from new theories, but still
requiring a new understanding of the same
sense of education, the process in which you
The quality of education in science has never
before been so discussed and considered in
Brazil as it is nowadays. Experts assess that the
poor training of teachers coupled with the lack of
infrastructure for experimentation and practical
classes in schools are the main causes of the
poor performance of Brazilian students in the
Assessment (PISA), which has left Brazil in 52th
position among 57 countries assessed in 2006.
Some of the MEC efforts are focused directly
to basic education, as may be seen in the
“Strategy for the Teaching of Science” (originally
intended for high school), others are made in
order to expand and improve the training of
teachers. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that one
"Encouraging curriculum projects focused on
science education and curriculum changes that
investigative of science.” [5].
1.2. Institutional background and motivation
The Federal Centre of Technological
Education of São Paulo (CEFET São Paulo) is
an institution dedicated to professional education
in technical and scientific areas. It is situated in
the São Paulo city (State of São Paulo), one of
the largest cities in Brazil which has outstanding
economical projection in Latin America.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Education,
CEFET São Paulo is considered one of the most
important institution among public and private
vocational high schools in Brazil being a
reference for technological education. It is
maintained by the Brazilian government with
open access by admission exam.
CEFET São Paulo offers technical courses for
students attending high school as well as
undergraduate and graduate courses. The
technical high school courses focus on areas
such as: mechanics, electronics, computers and
In order to assure a broader education,
CEFET São Paulo encourages the interaction
between the specific technological areas and
basic high school disciplines. This is not an easy
task for biology because most of the students
don’t see any relationship between the course
area and the discipline.
In this context, the biology team of teachers
decide to adjust biology classes and curriculum
to meet the institutional requests.
1.3. Changing Biology Classes
Despite having a large number of students,
(200 / high school/year), CEFET São Paulo has
only one biology laboratory equipped with
microscopes, stoves, reagents, glassware, fixed
specimens and anatomy models. About 20
students are able to conduct experiments at the
laboratory at a time. Biology classes are usually
offered in ninety minutes weekly classes in three
years of the vocational high school.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Some changes in biology classes were
proposed by the biology teachers and are
summarized below:
1. Adjustment of teachers/students ratio to
two teachers per class of 40 students
(1:20 teacher/student ratio).
2. Changes in the order of presentation of
biology content of vocational high school
a. First year: Ecology and Diversity
b. Second year: Biological diversity
(including compared physiology)
c. Third year: Cytology, Genetics
and Evolution
3. Introduction of “hands-on”, fieldwork and
investigative activities in biology classes.
The theme "abiotic factors" is one of the
themes presented to students within the subject
"Ecology" [7]. The living beings remain complex
relations with all the physical environment that
surrounds it. The ecosystems depend on the
balance between the living and abiotic factors.
This balance influence growth, activity and the
characteristics of organisms as well as its
temperature is one of the main factors that
interfere with the maintenance of the organisms
in an ecosystem. The “hands-on” fieldwork
activity presented here intended to:
1. Assess the temperature in different habitats.
2. Check if the temperature varies according to
3. Analyze the importance of abiotic factors in
the ecosystem.
This study aims to describe the first efforts to
introduce “hands-on” and fieldwork activities in
biology curriculum at CEFET São Paulo.
2. Methodology of the study
The research reported in this study is
essential qualitative, adopting an interpretative
and subjective perspective of educational
research [6].
2.1. Participants
This study was carried out with 200 students
of 1th grade from vocational high school of
CEFET-São Paulo. It also involved teachers from
different technical areas.
2.2. Description of the study
The study described in this text involved three
different actions: 1. diagnose the scientific
literacy of the students of advanced years in
CEFET São Paulo; 2. determination of the
beginners students profile; and 3. introduction of
hands-on and fieldwork activities in Ecology
classes. The activities were implemented as
curricular component at the beginning of the
school year and were related to “abiotic factors”.
The hands-on activities aimed to: (a) develop
curiosity of students to environmental issues, (b)
develop the capacity of observation, (c) present
the basic principles of metrology by simple
temperature measurement experiments, (d)
encourage the use of mathematical logic and
language (E) encourage the application of the
use of simple mathematical functions to describe
natural phenomena, (h) develop attitudes of
working in groups, (i) develop ethical behaviour.
Figure 1. Aerial view of the Federal Technological
Education Center of Sao Paulo, CEFET-SP. The
temperature was measured in three habitats indicated.
Dense vegetation (VD), vegetation (VR) and soil without
vegetation (SN). The direction North (N) is indicated by
the arrow. Image captured the Google Earth software
Each class of students was divided into three
teams of six students working in pairs. The
temperature of three types of habitats at CEFET
São Paulo wooded campus was compared:
dense vegetation (VD), low vegetation (VR) and
soil without vegetation (SN) (Figure 1). One
student from each pair was responsible for
measuring the atmospheric temperature and the
other was responsible for the annotation of the
data obtained. Before starting the work, those in
charge of annotations, synchronized their clocks
and set the time every time measure should be
made (Figure 2).
Five groups of measures were taken for each
habitat: the first at ground level and the other
respectively to 30 cm, 60 cm, 90 cm and 150 cm
from the soil. The thermometers were placed in
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
appropriate positions for five minutes after
temperature annotation.
methods, results, discussions and references.
Data analysis was performed in groups and
allowed the use of software to produce charts.
Moreover, some questions were available to
guide the discussion and preparation of the
report (data not shown).
2.3. Data Collection and Analysis
The instruments for data collection were:
In this study, one of the researchers was also
the teacher and the other was the coordinator of
the activities.
The interviews were focused on teachers
from other areas at CEFET São Paulo. It aimed
to diagnose the scientific literacy of the students
of advanced years in CEFET São Paulo. Data
were obtained during the weekly meetings held
at the end of 2007.
The students profile involved in this study was
obtained through a questionnaire applied at the
beginning of the school year. It was elaborated in
order to investigate if the students had
conducted fieldwork and experimental activities
before studying in CEFET São Paulo. It also
investigated the frequency of those activities and
the students expectations for biology classes in
high school.
From the 200 students registered in the
course, all of them take part of the “hands-on”
activities and 193 answered the questionnaire.
The direct observations allowed an increased
approximation of the researcher to the
participants and consequently a better evaluation
of the meaning that the students give to their
experiments and also of the context of the
3. Results and Discussion
Figure 2. Fieldwork hands-on activity at CEFET São
Paulo. A and C: Soil without vegetation (SN); B: Low
vegetation (VR)
Data were collected at the end of four days of
the fieldwork. Each teacher was responsible for
20 students at a time.
After the collection and analysis of the own
data each group was encouraged to share their
findings with other students. The students were
also asked to prepare a report containing
detailed introduction, objectives, materials and
The main issue raised by the teachers during
the interviews was the lack of scientific skills
observed in students at the end of technical
courses. Teachers reported that many students,
despite technical subjects, have some kind of
difficulty in carrying out inquiry activities and
show lack of skills like: building and interpreting
graphics and texts, gathering evidence,
formulating explanations based on evidence,
In order to understand the students previous
experience in accomplishing scientific inquiry
activities we decided to apply a questionnaire to
the students from the first vocational high school
year at CEFET São Paulo.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The data showed that about 35 per cent of
the students did not have any kind of practical
classes in elementary school. Most of them
considered the lack of infrastructure in their
former schools, the lack of interest of teachers
and lack of classes intended to this type of
activity the major reasons for absence of
experimental activities (table 1). On the other
hand, the frequency of experimental activities for
those students who reported practical classes
varied between one per month (29.03%), one per
two months (23.38%) and one every six months
The most common practical activity executed
passive/observational and only about 10% of
students reported active involvement (self
planning and execution) in experimental classes.
It also deserves highlight the fact that most
students, 83,06%, (even those who had
experimental classes) have never conducted
activities outside the laboratory. But they all said
they would like to take practical classes in both
the laboratory and field.
It is noteworthy that the majority of students
were expecting that the experimental activities in
biology would be offered in the same approach
and frequency of that had in basic education.
So, it is not surprise that students
demonstrated enthusiasm, curiosity and interest
in carrying out “hands-on” activities in the field,
and understand the importance of the
methodology used to collect accurate data.
opinion (%)
Lack of laboratory and
Lack of interest of teachers
Lack of interest of students
Lack of classes intended for
this type of activity in school.
Table 1. Reasons for lack of experimental activities in
elementary school
They shared the data and were encouraged
to exchange their views and experiences on the
implementation of the work. Many of them were
enthusiastic about the dynamics of fieldwork
activity. Others students were surprised by the
possibility of conducting experimental activities
outside the laboratory.
Some students reported that the “hands-on”
understanding of some aspects of ecology and
sustainable development that was never
understood in the classroom. Some students
reported that:
"At school, is only book, chalkboard and chalk.
From the way we are learning here, any student
can better understand the ecological issues. "
Students also highlighted the steps of the
work that most attracted their attention: the
collection of data, descriptions of procedures and
discussions of the results. According to them,
prior knowledge of ecology became more
significant after “hands-on” activities in the field.
Other students said that “the subjects are not
normally learned so contextualized”.
Furthermore, some students demonstrated
surprise to realize the importance of biology in
technical courses, according to their words:
"I had never thought that ecology and biology
was so important for a student of Technical
It also important to note that the students
believe they will put into practice various
concepts gained from this experience in the near
After the fieldwork activity, students shared
the experience highlighting the most important
comparisons, analyses and reflections on the
data collected.
The teacher led the students on the
importance of the report as an instrument of
objective analysis and presentation of results.
Students were instructed to list the issues,
problems and solutions raised concerning the
activity. Also, all the details concerning the
structure of the text of the report were presented
in detail. Students were asked to submit their
results on tables and, at least, one chart. None
specific software was suggested but the most
used computer program was Excel 2007 from
Microsoft. After that, the charts and statistical
analysis were performed using GraphPad Prism
version 4.0 program. Some example charts are
presented in Figure 3.
The activities carried out in this study sought
to engage students actively in the learning
process, challenging them to formulate
hypotheses, reshape and verbalize their ideas
and actions. Classes practices contributed to: (a)
identify the variables that interfere with a
particular phenomenon, (b) use statistics and
probabilities for forecasting phenomena, (c)
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
understand the relationships between the
characteristics of living creatures and the
environment in which they live; (d) develop
hypotheses about the phenomena studied and
compare them with scientific explanations or
data from experiments, (e) understand the role of
models in biology and science in general, ( f)
relate concepts of biology as those of other exact
sciences and humanities.
4. Conclusions and future work
Figure 3. Some examples of charts designed by students
Many are the reasons for not offer “hands-on”
and fieldwork activities in Brazil. Some of the
difficulties were appointed by science teachers
[3,8]: insufficient quantity of classes, students
with delayed in the content, excess of students
per class, rotation of teachers, lack of time to
plan and prepare the classes, lack of good
relationship with the school administration,
absence of pedagogical coordination, lack of
There is a concern that the amount of “handson” and fieldwork activities in high schools are
under threat. The practical activities, whether in
the laboratory or field, should be designed to
stimulate students to participate in the process of
learning. In addition, the outdoors activities also
address the interdisciplinary, contributing in the
expression and communication, research and
understanding and sociocultural context.
The work described in this paper is the first
attempt to introduce “hands-on” and fieldwork
activities in biology classes in CEFET São Paulo.
But, despite the initiative presented here, lot of
work remains to be done regarding the
implementation and evaluation of “hands-on” and
fieldwork activities in Biology Curriculum.
It has to be considered that, despite the large
number of pupils (200), they are all freshman
and only two teachers were directly involved in
the implementation of fieldwork. It will be
necessary to expand the range of activities and
the project itself to the other years of vocational
high school in order to validate this approach in
biology classes.
It will be also necessary to introduce follow up
evaluation tools to see if the knowledge acquired
positively impact the performance of students in
advanced disciplines in the future. And it will be
interesting to communicate the findings to
teachers for other scientific basic areas (physics,
chemistry and mathematics).
Nevertheless, the results obtained in this work
indicate that “hands-on” and fieldwork activities
can increase the interest and participation of
students from technical courses in biological
issues. This may be considering a very important
achievement due to the small students interest
for biology in technical areas such as mechanics,
electronics, computers and automation.
Indeed, the introduction of “hands-on” and
fieldwork activities in biology curriculum at
CEFET São Paulo may facilitate the
development of procedural, communicative and
attitudinal competences recommended by
Brazilian PCNs.
5. Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank all students of
the first vocational high school year, as well as
all biology teachers and courses coordinators
from CEFET São Paulo.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
6. References
[1] Barker S, Slingsby D, Tilling S. Teaching
biology outside the classroom: is it heading
for extinction? A report on outdoor biology
teaching in the 14-19 curriculum. FCS
Occasional Publication 72. Field Studies
Council, 2002.
[2] Secretaria de Educação Básica. Parâmetros
Curriculares Nacionais. Brasília:Ministério da
[3] Augusto TGS, Andrade AM. Dificuldade para
a implantação de práticas interdisciplinares
em escolas estaduais, apontadas por
professores da área de ciências da natureza.
Investigações em Ensino de Ciências, 12: 117, 2007.
[4] INEP. Programa Internacional de Avaliação
de Alunos – PISA. Disponível em:
[5] Secretaria de Educação Estratégias para o
Ensino de Ciênicas. Brasília:Ministério da
[6] Erickson, F., Qualitative methods in research
on teaching. In M.C.Wittroch (Ed.),
Handbook of research on teaching. New
York, NY:Macmillan, 1986.
[7] BSCS. Biologia. Versão Verde. Edart, 1976.
[8] Demo P. Escola pública e escola particular:
educacionais. Ensaio: Avaliação e Políticas
Públicas em Educação, 15(55): 181-206,
Thursday Cultural. All Thursday a
Different Programming in the Museum
of Natural Sciences PUC Minas
E.M. Valadares Calaça Câmara,
A.C. Sanches Diniz and P. Leroy
Museu de Ciências Naturais. Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 290, Bairro Coração
Eucarístico. Belo Horizonte MG Brazil
[email protected],
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. As form to attract the spontaneous
public, the Museum of Natural Sciences PUC
Minas offers to differentiated activities all the
Thursday, of the 19 to the 21 hours. The
entrance is gratuitous and the programming
sufficiently is varied. The public-target of these
events is a spontaneous or doubtful called
visitor, that one who does not come in organized
groups and not need mediation, nor to mark the
visit previously. The Thursday of the month are
filled of the following form:
1st Thursday: “A Night in the Museum” based spectacle in the film of same heading;
2nd Thursday: “Fifth Scientific” - lectures on
subjects of border of Sciences;
3rd Thursday: “Art and Music in the Museum”
- Shows, workshops of music, show
photographic, launching of books and
expositions of art;
4th Thursday: “To see Stars” - lecture on
astronomy and astroroof with telescopes, in
partnership with GAIA - Group of Astronomy
and Astrophysics of the PUC Minas.
The events have attracted a varied public, of
approximately 50 people for Thursday, made up
of college’s student, old people, deficient and
families. During the activities, the people have
the chance of if revealing, displaying its opinions
and clarifying doubts regarding Sciences. The
events function as a connector link enters the
scientific way, the academic community and the
community in general.
Keywords. Formal and Informal Edcuation,
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Professor in Activity in Informal
Education. The Participation of the
Professors in the Visits Monitored to
the Museum of Natural Sciences PUC
A.C. Sanches Diniz
Museu de Ciências Naturais. Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 290, Bairro Coração
Eucarístico. Belo Horizonte MG Brazil
[email protected]
Abstact. The Museum of Natural Sciences PUC
Minas, opened to the visitation in the year of
2002 receives on average, 60 a thousand visitors
per year. 70% of the public are proceeding from
schools public or private. Until June of 2008 four
thematic scripts were offered for development of
the monitored visits, in accordance with the
permanent expositions of the Museum. The
educators had that set appointments its visits in
accordance with the considered scripts, exactly
that the subject did not take care of its
necessities. To the few it had an evasion of
schools and the visit of professors that happened
all the Mondays was empty. From the analysis of
these events, of suggestions of professors and
research carried through next to the monitors
and employees of the Museum, it was decided to
change this reality. The change process lasted
six months and enclosed the training of monitors
and levelling of the information of the
expositions, the adequacy of the language to the
different ages, the creation of playful activities as
educative workshops and games and the
reorganization of the visits guided of the
professors to the Mondays, as it forms to value
the dialogue between the school and the
Museum. Since the day 1º of June of 2008, the
Museum receives, on average, 100 professors
for month, in two private Mondays to the
construction of the Thematic Visits of the
schools, when the professors receive a lecture
on the Museum and, together with employees
and monitors, they go until the expositions, they
debate the subject to be worked in groups of
study, select activities playful and they prepare
the visit. Currently they are approximately 500
students per day, who come to explore the
enormous potential of informal education in
Museum PUC Minas.
Keywords. Formal and Informal Edcuation,
Project Living Museum. Accessibility
to Creativity at the Museum PUC
A.C. Sanches Diniz
and E.M. Valadares Calaça Câmara
Museu de Ciências Naturais. Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 290, Bairro Coração
Eucarístico. Belo Horizonte MG Brazil
[email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. The Project living Museum, approved
for the Extension of the PUC in March of 2008,
has as objective main the development of
educative actions that promote the accessibility
in the Museum of Natural Sciences of the PUC.
The term accessibility usually is related the
deficient public, however the actions of this
project are constructed of form to take care of
the diverse public that visit the Museum,
considering the different phases of the human
development. The educative games provide the
learning, through the playful one, for children,
adolescents and adults. The qualifications of the
educators of the Museum assist in the mediation
of the expositions, adjusting the language to the
different ages. Rejoinders of parts of the quantity
are constructed, for touch, of polyurethane and
resin, covered for varnish layer. In accordance
with the opinion of deficient appearances, the
varnish, necessary to the conservation of the
parts, reduces the perception of the original
texture, but it does not hinder the access to the
forms and sizes. Fragments of bones and boxes
of niches with skins and penalties of animals of
the Cerrado, are touched for perception of the
texture. With this material and a slapping eye, a
dynamics is carried through that stimulates visual
extra sensitivity in people with normal vision.
They are members of the Project Alive Museum:
an Art Educator, who produces the rejoinders,
two pedagogy trainees and two biology trainees,
that elaborate educative games, receive groups
from visitors and work in the adequacy of the
language and formation of the too much
educators. In as the semester of 2008 the
Project will carry through: Workshop of LIBRAS
and reception of deficient for educators; Act of
contract of a physical deficient trainee;
Implantation of a track in the bush for deficient
Keywords. Formal and Informal Edcuation,
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Vacation in the Museum. Educative
Leisure in the Vacations of Winter and
Summer in the Museum of Natural
Sciences PUC Minas
A.C. Sanches Diniz
and E.M. Valadares Calaça Câmara
Museu de Ciências Naturais. Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 290, Bairro Coração
Eucarístico. Belo Horizonte MG Brazil
[email protected],
[email protected]
Abstract. During you wounded them of winter
and summer, that the July months of and
January in Belo Horizonte, Museum PUC Minas
offers playful and educative activities as option of
leisure for children and adolescents. During 3
hours the public lives deeply moments of
searching zoologists, botanical, archaeologists,
through visits to the expositions, workshops of
art, presentation of his histories and music,
games and development of tracks. The activities
are monitored, normally 1 monitor are
responsible for up to four children. The called
experiences “Searching Infantile” are for ages
between 04 and 08 years and “Youthful
Researcher”, take care of the public of age
between nine and eleven years. In the Botanical
Researcher the participants count and recount
histories, receive information on ecology through
games, visit the Garden of Butterflies and
participate of a workshop of plantation of
changes. The Searching Zoologist, visits all the
units of existing animals in the Museum,
receiving information on ecology, evolution and
anatomy, carries through workshop of plaster
rejoinders and walks for the bush with binoculars
Infantiles have the chance to carry through
hollowing in a sand tank constructed in the
Museum, carry through workshops of painting in
caves and confection of masks, beyond
developing the track and a called game Hunting
to the Treasure. During the month of July of
2008, they had participated of the Vacations in
the Museum, more than 6000 people. The
spreading of the event is made through the site,
for sending of emails to the direct mail of the
Museum and pamphlet distribution between the
communities of neighbours of the Museum,
beyond the verbal communication, excellent and
efficient vehicle of communication.
GAIA Center of Sciences. Itinerant
P. Leroy and T. Aquino da Silveira
Grupo de Astronomia e Astrofísica.
Departamento de Física e Química, Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 500. Belo Horizonte MG Brazil
[email protected], [email protected]
Abstract. This is an approved project in the
popularization of science and technology 2007 of
Fapemig. It is a mobile center of sciences, a
planetarium and itinerant observatory. The
project has duration of two years and its main
objective is to spread a general scientific culture
using for this the education of Astronomy. In its
first phase, (2008) the itinerant museum has
visited schools of Belo Horizonte and its
metropolitan region. In the next year, it will
include schools of the whole state, including the
most devoid regions. This itinerant center has a
different approach. It does not teach only
Astronomy, but uses Astronomy to create a
systemic vision of the Earth, of our place in the
Universe, to talk about the climate and climatic
alterations, natural and made by the man, to
argue about the idea of a living planet that needs
care and preservation. Through Astronomy, give
sustainability, of the necessity of change and
care with the planet. This center of sciences
aims to form people compromised with the
science and the conscience of a new world.
Science goes to the school, is the motto of the
project. This allows working the social exclusion,
reaching beyond schools of Belo Horizonte and
adjacencies, schools and communities of all the
state. In this work we tell the experiences of the
first year of the project and delineate activities
and challenges for the year of 2009. We believe
that the itinerant center will be able to become a
reference for the high school and basic level
education, taking care of students and teachers.
The students have in it an educational
complementation. For the teachers, Astronomy
recycling courses and specific subjects of
sciences will be offered, supplying formation
deficiencies and improving the difficulties that
appear with didactic books.
Keywords. Astronomy, Itinerant Museums,
Environmental Quality, Sustainability, Climate
Keywords. Formal and Informal Edcuation,
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Building and Optimization of Solar
Stoves and Ovens
W. Savoy and P. Leroy
Grupo de Astronomia e Astrofísica.
Departamento de Física e Química, Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 500. Belo Horizonte MG Brazil
[email protected], wasavoy@yahoo.com.br
Abstract. The optimized solar stove, besides
having a parabolic mirror that concentrates the
solar rays into a central grid where the pot must
be put, (for this use, it is better that the pot be
black in the outside and in the lowest part) it is
employed a convergent lens for focusing the sun
light rays into a single point, making the
temperature to raise, speeding the process of
phase change of water to vapour (boiling). By the
other hand, the solar ovens employ low cost or
recyclable materials. This project does not
eliminate the use of conventional stoves and
ovens, because it can’t be use during rainy days
or at night, but will reduce the use of gas and the
burning of wood, lowering the emission of carbon
monoxide and dioxide. This way, it will help the
preservation of environment. Besides, both may
be competitive, since the use of low cost
materials that can be got by poor people that will
be attended by the project. After that, the use
could be extended to all the community.
Therefore, this work enters in the context of the
awareness of the environment giving a simple,
practical and cheap solution what it will make
possible, later, to the user to promote courses
and/or workshops to divulge the process of
production and the form of use of the solar stove
and the oven, resulting in a source of still
unexplored income and with great potential for
growth in the market.
Keywords. Solar Energy, Solar Heater of Water,
Sustainable Development.
Constructing a Solar Collector of Low
Cost: An Opportunity to Teach
T. Almeida Guimarães, L.A. Weiller, N. Gomes
e Andradea, T.D. Moura, R.I. Correaa
and A.G. Dickman
Grupo de Astronomia e Astrofísica.
Departamento de Física e Química, Pontifícia
Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais. Avenida
Dom Jose Gaspar 500. Belo Horizonte MG Brazil
arturfisica@yahoo.com.br, nyckl@hotmail.com,
rodrigoizi@yahoo.com.br, adickman@pucminas
Abstract. In this work we describe the
construction of a solar collector with recycled
materials and of easy access to the population.
This work has as main objective to deal with the
physical concepts involved in the construction
and use of a solar collector of low cost. We
suggest the construction of a solar collector
using PET bottles and tetra pack boxes as part
of a pertaining to school project permeate by the
quarrel of the involved physical concepts. The
main topics are heat and thermodynamics. We
can work of practical form with thermometer,
together with the temperature concept,
measuring the temperature of the water that
enters and leaves the collector and its external
surface. To argue as the water it enters cold and
it leaves hot, we introduce the heat concept, as a
flow of energy of a body with bigger temperature
for one with lesser temperature. Topics as
thermal capacity and specific heat of a
substance are introduced and also arguing the
use of the thermal reservoir whose function is to
hinder that it has exchange of heat of the water
with the way. It is possible to demonstrate the
three forms of heat transference using the solar
collector, and as the effect greenhouse it is used
to advantage. Subjects can be argued as
electromagnetic radiation, radiation of a black
body, law of Stefan-Boltzmann, among others.
We made the survey of the curve-reply of our
collector and an estimate of its total efficiency of
absorption of solar energy. Development of this
project allows a good agreement of the principles
of functioning of a solar collector, as well as, its
use for the didactic transposition of the physical
concepts related, providing a moment opportune
to argue the importance of generation e
conscientious use of energy.
Keywords. Solar Energy, Solar Heater of Water,
Sustainable Development.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Art and Science in the Park
M. Muramatsu and J.N. Teixeira
Optics Laboratory – Physics Institute of
University of São Paulo
Rua do Matão, Travessa R, 187
São Paulo,SP - Brazil
mmuramat@if.usp.br, jonny@if.usp.br
Abstract. “Art and Science in the Park” is a
project that takes science to the general public
that goes to public parks in the city of São Paulo.
This is achieved by exposing several groups of
interactive experiments on different topics of
physics and biology, which encourage the
participation of the visitors. Some of the
proposed experiments relate vision and hearing
physiology to concepts of physics by visual art
and sounds produced by musical instruments
and ordinary objects, such as metal hangers and
glasses. Geometry and abstraction are evocated
by “tangram” and topological puzzles. Light and
optical phenomena as reflections, polarization
and interference are also explored using
telescopes, microscopes, different types of
mirrors, polarizer and films. A TV set attached to
a bicycle demonstrates the conversion of
chemical energy to mechanical energy and this
to electrical energy. Other experiments show
additional concepts of physics and biology. All
activities are mediated by monitors, who are
undergraduate and postgraduate students of
physics and biological sciences. The guiding
principle of this project is that it is possible to
make science, technology and art accessible to
the general public, especially children and
adolescents, in the informal environment of a
park, via ludic experiments and connections to
their daily life. Activities are also performed in
some public primary and secondary schools.
This project, idealised and executed by
researchers of the Institute of Physics of the
University of São Paulo, has the collaboration of
researchers from the Institute of Biomedical
Sciences of USP, support from CNPq and USP,
and partnership of Cientec/USP, AAEC and the
Prefecture of São Paulo.
Keywords. Science Demonstrations, Physics
Education, Scientific Literacy, Hands-on Science.
International Education at Ternopil
State Technical University (Ukraine):
Gaining Experience
I. Berezovska, N. Mulyk and O. Matsyuk
Department of Computer Sciences, Ternopil
State Technical University
56 Ruska St., Ternopil 46001, Ukraine
iberezov@hotmail.com, natusya.mag@gmail.com,
Abstract. There is little doubt anymore over the
need for higher education in any country to
introduce an international dimension into
curricula content and campus climate. National
interdependent. This new reality has altered the
world students will face following graduation.
Knowledge of the international system,
intercultural skills, and the flexibility to function in
diverse environments is no longer the privilege of
just a few international relations majors. These
are skills and knowledge essential for every
adaptation while studying in a foreign
environment has expanded greatly in the last
decade concurrently with the growth of the
international student population. This trend has a
particularly long history in the United States. Our
university has recently made its debut in
providing international education services. The
International Education Center at Ternopil State
Technical University (TSTU - Ternopil, Ukraine)
was started on November 12, 2007. For 20072008 academic year the first group of students
from Nigeria and India was enrolled to take an
undergraduate course and get a bachelor degree
in Computer Sciences or Management. Studies
are carried out in English language.
We undertook a survey to examine the
students’ educational background, motives of
coming to Ukraine and the greatest difficulties
they face here. The aim of this survey was to
discover the degree of students’ satisfaction,
attitudes about international education, and
expectations about the quality of education and
participating in social activities while in Ternopil
State Technical University. Almost all students
learned about the TSTU from an agency. After
their arrival, the reality was about the same as
their expectations before they have arrived to the
TSTU. The survey demonstrated that students
rated very high, as excellent or good, the quality
of education they are getting, teaching skills and
English language skills of the TSTU faculty. Also
tutoring from the TSTU faculty and the support
from the TSTU administration were rated as
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
excellent or good. However the social life of
international students was reported as less
successful. Many respondents said about the
language barrier and very limited communication
with local students. Additionally, they were not
aware about local events and were not involved
in the social life of the local community.
Nevertheless there was strong support among
the respondents for continuing their further
education at the TSTU or other universities in
Ukraine. They also would recommend their
friends to come for studies to our university.
The findings from the survey indicate that the
TSTU need to think comprehensively and
creatively about the international education goals
and strategies and pay more attention to social
integration of international students.
experimental Physics does not apply, and the
teacher must define the skills or learning
outcomes for each case, and adapt the possible
methods to the number of students, their
previous preparation and experience, and even
to their expectations and initiative capabilities.
I am presenting two short projects produced
by my two co-authors during their laboratory
discipline of “Experimental Methods in Physics
II”, in the second year of their Physics degree,
where they have chosen “renewable energy
sources” as a leading theme: a mini wind turbine
and a small sun concentrator.
Keywords. International Education, Students'
Adaptation, Satisfaction, Attitudes, Expectations,
Intercultural Skills, The Quality of Education.
Science in Your Pocket
Experimental Classes in Physics
Courses in Higher Education:
Managing the Learning Outcomes and
Favouring the Students Initiatives
M.P. Dos Santos1, E. Cardoso2
and M. Santana2
Dept. Física – Univ. Évora
CeFITec – FCT/Univ. Nova de Lisboa
Colégio Luís Verney, Évora – Portugal
mpsantos@uevora.pt, easc.29@hotmail.com,
Abstract. The usual Physics laboratory classes
for the Physics and Engineering courses in
Higher Education in Portugal used to follow
almost the same “classical” model of
demonstrations: the students were supposed to
follow guidelines with precise instructions for
each experiment, the equipment was presented
“ready-to-mount”, and they should produce a
very rigid group report, including items such as a
theoretical introduction and a detailed error
calculation for each experiment performed.
In my experience as a Physics professor for
more than two decades, I had to introduce an
experimental curriculum to some specific
courses I taught, to change the evaluation
scheme for disciplines with a huge number of
students, to adapt the program for students that
were entering a Physics laboratory for the first
time, and more recently to manage experimental
classes with a very small number of students: in
all these cases, the “classic” model of teaching
Keywords. Hands-on, Physics.
R.F. Wisman1 and K. Forinash2
Computer Science Department
Indiana University Southeast
Physics Department
Indiana University Southeast
rwisman@ius.edu, kforinas@ius.edu
Abstract. Science education is necessarily
grounded by exploratory laboratory experiments.
What if students had a science lab in their pocket
their every waking moment? An educator’s
fondest wish is that students explore beyond the
classroom; but for the data driven experimental
sciences, scientific exploration requires collecting
data which generally requires lab equipment.
While the average school lab fits neither a
student’s budget nor in their pocket, cell phones
and gaming systems are a required possession
for most. Using such devices, we demonstrate
classic physics experiments to show that
students have the means to explore science on
their own. Further, because the devices fit either
in ones pocket or hand, the equipment is both
available and mobile, allowing for new types of
student experiments. We share the preliminary
results of our attempt to create a mobile
laboratory from consumer electronic devices
commonly possessed by students. We first
present a brief overview of the motivation for
using cell phone and gaming technology in
experiments using a cell phone-based sound
frequency analyzer and an accelerometer, and
close with suggestions for other experiments.
Keywords. Acceleration Measurement, Cell
Phone, Mobile Laboratory, Sound Frequency
Analyzer, Wiimote.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
1. Introduction
In the world of students today, cell phones are
a necessity; mobility of communication and
entertainment devices ordinary. What other
possession is student more likely have with them
all the time? And who could blame someone
caught in a stream of students leaving a class for
thinking that checking and answering email, text
and phone messages immediately after class
was a course requirement? But the ever-present
cell phone can be more than just a social
networking device; it can also be a tool for
science education. The idea of a pocket-sized
scientific analyzer is not new, a number of mobile
devices have been used in science education for
some years (e.g. LabQuest [5]). What is new is
that students carry devices that have the
capacity to perform some of the same data
collection and analysis tasks; often requiring only
cell-phone software and a little imagination to be
added. In the following, we first present a brief
overview of the motivation for using cell phone
and gaming technology in science experiments,
and then demonstrate two examples of science
with devices available to most students: a cell
phone sound frequency analyzer and a video
game hand wand for acceleration measurement.
We close with suggestions for other experiments.
2. Why Cell Phones?
Cell phones have become pocket-sized
personal computers, albeit with an expensive
calling plan. The most compelling reasons for
their use in science education are ubiquity and
mobility; cell phones are with almost all students
almost all the time. The cell phone is also small,
reasonably affordable and ruggedly packaged for
carrying; just right for throwing, dropping from a
window, or bringing together a bunch, to create
your own experiment. The beauty of cell phone
science is that it is always there when the
chance comes to use it and is small enough to
be tossed around or used in some unplanned
manner. And, of course, it is the means of choice
by which students communicate through text and
talk with their peers; perhaps, we hope, sharing
the results of their latest experiment.
Transforming a cell phone into a scientific
instrument can make science more impromptu
and familiar, just part of the technology package
students carry in their pocket.
programmable, also possess measurement
devices for sensing external phenomena and for
communicating with other devices. All phones
possess a microphone for sound, a display and
keyboard for user interaction, can determine their
geographic location, and many possess cameras
and accelerometers; all useful for data collection.
Cell phone communication capabilities are also a
very important component of data collection.
These include human-level messaging by voice
or text over the cell phone network, useful to
coordinate experiments that require multiple data
collection points; Internet connections that can
be used to aggregate data at a common
collection point; and, local wireless networking
that allows using the cell phone to collect data
from another device. The last point is likely the
most important as it implies that a cell phone can
collect data from most any phenomena; in an
example given below, the cell phone collects
acceleration data from a video game hand wand.
With computational, sensing and communication
capabilities along with ubiquity and mobility, cell
phones present an opportunity for extending
science education beyond the space and time
constraints of a traditional laboratory.
Developing software for a cell phone or
computer is very similar. Common languages
include scaled down derivatives of Python, Java
and C++ [3]. This is an important point when
creating software as you can use familiar
languages and development tools, incorporate
existing software libraries, and develop and test
algorithms on the computer before transferring to
the cell phone. To promote phone software
development, many manufacturers provide
extensive development and test environments at
little or no cost. After development, the
application can be installed to a phone over a
public or local network in a manner similar to
computer software.
2.1 The Problem with Cell Phones
Similar to their larger computer relatives,
many current phones are programmable, can
input sound and visuals, and can connect to
other local devices or the Internet. One would
then expect software that runs on your phone to
run on that of a student. Unfortunately, where
personal computers are open systems that share
a common hardware and software architecture,
some slower or faster but capable of doing
basically the same thing, cell phone models are
designed as snowflakes, each unique.
For the time being, the cell phone hardware
and software are controlled by service plan
providers who have a financial interest in and go
to considerable lengths to make their models
different and often incompatible from everyone
else’s, even their own. If computers were sold
under the service plan providers’ model, your
computer could only run the programs available
through the computer seller. The result, for the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
time being at least, is that cell phone programs
running on one model are unlikely to run on
another. However, phones that share a common
operating or program execution system can often
share programs; examples include the Symbian
and Microsoft operating systems and the Java
programming language. The good news is that
the closed system of plan providers is being
challenged, particularly projects such as
Google’s Android [4] which promotes a
somewhat more open system model that
encourages a software development and
distribution model where the owner has more
control over what runs on the phone.
2.2 Development Details
The cell phone used in the following the
following demonstrations is a Nokia 61, at birth it
was considered very capable but now, at two
years old, is barely ordinary. The phone runs
Symbian OS on an ARM 9 220 MHz processor.
For comparison, the latest iPhone has a 600-700
MHz ARM processor running a version of
Apple’s OS X. The implementation language of
the analyzer is Java ME, promising that the
analyzer, acceleration and other Java ME
applications will run on systems that support
Java ME. The applications were developed using
a standard text editor to write the Java ME code
and a very simple, freely available development
environment called the Sprint Wireless Toolkit.
3. Two Examples: Sound Frequency Analysis
and Acceleration Measurement
To validate and explore some range of
possibilities, we chose to implement two
experiments in areas common to most basic
physics courses, that of sound frequency
analysis and acceleration measurement. The
experiments also illustrates the cell phone alone
as a scientific instrument and in conjunction with
a separate, consumer electronics device often
available to students, in this case a video game
hand wand.
3.1 Example 1: Sound Frequency Analyzer
Sound frequency analysis is a familiar topic in
a basic physics course. Students are often
introduced to Fourier analysis through sound
experiments in a laboratory setting using a
microphone connected to a computer. A sound
frequency analyzer operates by capturing some
time interval of a digitized sound signal and
transformation on some portion of that signal to
produce a corresponding frequency power
spectrum. Some related experiments possible
are the frequency analysis of the harmonic and
overtone structure of sound sources such as
musical instruments and determining the Doppler
shift of a moving sound source.
A modern sound frequency analyzer requires
the following hardware, all of which are common
to cell phones:
1. Sound digitization capable of recording at
twice the highest expected frequency.
2. An interface (e.g. buttons) to control the
analysis and a display to see the results.
3. A processor to perform the Fourier time-tofrequency transformation algorithm.
Complicated procedures and equipment are a
bane to science education. In creating a learning
tool for student use, one danger is that the
lesson to be learned is overwhelmed by the tool;
the hoped for learning insights are lost in the
complexity of running the experiment. The sound
analyzer uses only a cell phone and its use is
less complex than text messaging. The basic
start-to-finish procedure for a student, as
illustrated in the examples, is simple: download
the analyzer software from a Web site, start the
analyzer, record a sound, and analyze the
sound; only four steps are required to capture
and perform a Fourier analysis of a sound. Raw
data can be exported for sharing or computer
analysis, or, as the figures below demonstrate,
the analysis screens can be captured and
emailed or uploaded for review. Figs. 1-6
illustrate the use of a sound frequency analyzer
as implemented in Java on the Nokia E61 cell
To some, that a cell phone can perform a
Fourier transform might be surprising, given that
real numbers and mathematical functions are
required. That a phone can do so with
reasonable quickest is a pleasant bonus. From
the above example, determining the frequency of
the sound sampled over an approximately 4
second interval at 8000 kHz was performed by a
Fast Fourier transform on 32768 samples, took
about 10 seconds and produced results with
accuracy comparable to that of commercial
analysis software running on a PC.
The analyzer is primarily an educational tool
for studying sound. As such, a key question to be
asked is “does the tool help or hinder learning?”
As noted earlier, the tool use should simple,
nearly transparent, so that attention can be
focused on what is being studied. Further, of
course, a measurement tool should be
reasonably accurate. An additional challenge for
interactive devices when large amounts of data
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
must be processed is that it produces results
quickly. The above example demonstrates that a
cell phone can meet these criteria, providing a
viable complement to traditional laboratory
experience. Revisiting the points on ubiquity and
mobility, sound analysis on a cell phone provides
the opportunity for experiments at a different time
and place than the traditional laboratory;
available whenever or where ever the chance
Figure 3. Selecting Analyze initially displays the
complete raw signal recorded
Figure 1. CellPhone FFT as one of several applications; it
was downloaded from the school site using the phone
Web browser
Figure 4. Cell phone directional buttons on allow panning
(moving over time) or zooming (increase or decrease
time interval displayed) to select a subinterval to view or
Figure 2. Menu options, Record a sound, Analyze
recording, Time and Rate are parameters for data
collection, and Write sound data to cell phone file
Figure 5. Analysis options that can be applied to the
signal section selected includes sound Playback and
multiple display views of results
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Figure 6. A combined graph of selected raw signal
subinterval and Fourier transform
3.2 Example 2: Measuring Acceleration
Experiments involving acceleration are some
of the most fundamental and engaging. Along
with the cell phone, video games are one of the
most available of consumer electronics devices
useful for science. Acceleration can be
measured by accelerometers with many recent
video games and cell phones including
accelerometers to determine the device
orientation or the directional force to which the
device is subjected. The hand-held Wii Remote
(aka the Wiimote), for Nintendo’s Wii video
accelerometer to read a game player’s gestures
as game input and Bluetooth wireless networking
to share the accelerometer measurements with
the game console. Fig. 7 illustrates the Wiimote
and the 6 directions in which acceleration can be
Figure 7. The three axis orientation of a Wiimote
accelerometer [6]
A Wiimote and cell phone can form a mobile
scientific instrument for measuring about the
acceleration experienced on a rollercoaster or in
the range of -3g to +3g. The two devices are
linked through the Wiimote Bluetooth connection
that transmits accelerometer data to the cell
phone which records and analyzes the data. This
approach, using small, widely available mobile
equipment, creates the opportunity to study
acceleration in a familiar setting –such riding the
elevator or driving a car.
A cell phone and the Wiimote combination
can measure acceleration simply and is
adaptable to a variety of experiments. The
implementation is entirely in cell phone software
requiring no hardware modifications or
connections. The Wiimote’s data is transmitted
via Bluetooth local networking so the cell phone
and the Wiimote need only be within about 10
accelerometer provides data on the force applied
in six directions; at rest, a horizontal Wiimote
should report +g in the vertical direction and in
free fall, zero g; the accelerometer data is
transmitted continuously and read by the cell
phone at predefined time intervals.
A common experiment is to measure
acceleration and velocity while traveling along a
single axis. Using the Wiimote and phone
combination, the basic procedure for measuring
acceleration is: orient the Wiimote to the
direction of travel, calibrate the accelerometer,
start data collection, start travel, stop travel, stop
data collection, analyze the data. The following
instructions provide a student’s view of the
experimental procedure, given to illustrate the
overall simplicity of use. The steps common to all
experiments are:
1. Press the 1 and 2 buttons on the Wiimote to
initiate a Bluetooth connection.
2. Run WiiConnect [2] program to establish a
Bluetooth connection with the Wiimote.
Press the Wiimote Home button when
3. Run Acceleration program.
The remaining instructions would be specific
to the experiment being performed. For
measuring linear acceleration of a vehicle, the
instructions are: While stopped, place the
Wiimote on a horizontal surface with the +y axis
pointing toward the direction of travel and start
recording data. From a complete stop, accelerate
to a predetermined speed, then stop the car, and
stop collecting data. Analyze the acceleration
and velocity on the y-axis. Compare different
vehicles (e.g. car vs. bicycle). If you have a
helmet or hat, try duct taping the Wiimote to it;
compare your personal acceleration with that of
the vehicles.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
3.3. Measuring the linear acceleration and
velocity of a car
Linear acceleration and velocity of a vehicle is
a familiar experience from riding in a car, elicits
natural curiosity in many drivers but is not easily
studied using traditional laboratory equipment;
using a cell phone and Wiimote, measurement is
relatively simple. For this experiment, the
Wiimote was placed on the stopped vehicle’s
floor oriented in the expected direction of travel
and acceleration recording began on the cell
phone; the vehicle was then accelerated on a
straight road having a few small hills and bumps
to an analog speedometer reading of about 40
mph. or 18 m/s. and was then braked to a
complete stop.
Figs. 8-14 illustrate the procedure and results
of the acceleration experiment. In Fig. 9, velocity
is graphed for each of the three axes along with
a real-time display to provide a speedometer; the
y-axis is the direction of travel. In Fig. 10,
acceleration is shown recorded along all three
axes with the travel direction on the red or y-axis;
the z-axis showing the hills but most obviously
the greatest acceleration being the bumps in the
road; the x-axis shows relatively small sideways
acceleration. Fig. 13 shows the difference in
acceleration following changes to higher gears
and braking. In Fig. 14, the velocity
corresponding to the acceleration over time is
shown alone, illustrating the decline in the rate of
increase in velocity as the vehicle shifts into
higher gears.
Figure 8. Menu options: Record records acceleration,
Analyze acceleration. Calibrate calibrates the Wiimote
accelerometers, Rate sets parameters for data collection
and Write saves the data to a cell phone file
Figure 9. Recording acceleration data while displaying
velocity as a speedometer
Figure 10. Selecting Analyze initially displays the
complete acceleration data for the three axes recorded.
Notice the acceleration spikes on the z-axis due to road
Figure 11. Listing raw acceleration data where Y is the
linear acceleration and Z the road bumps
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Figure 12. Display of the complete data velocity for the
three axes
Figure 13. Viewing y-axis shows greatest acceleration in
lowest gear with declines following each higher gear
change until acceleration is zero and maximum velocity
is reached. Negative acceleration is braking
Figure 14. Viewing the y-axis velocity shows the car
accelerating to 18.9 m/s, a shift from low to 2 gear, and
braking to a stop
3.4 Other Experiments
Keeping in mind that this purpose of this
project was to demonstrate the use of widely
available, mobile devices in science education,
what other experiments are possible with a cell
phone? The answer largely depends upon
whether the cell phone is used alone or with
other hardware such as a Bluetooth enabled
device like the Wiimote. Common hardware of a
cell phone can digitally record and play sound at
CD quality data rates (44.5KHz), track the
determine global position by GPS, digitally
record images, and communicate globally over
the Internet or locally with nearby devices using
Bluetooth. As pointed out by the Wiimote
example, connectivity with other devices is
fundamental to expanding the range and type of
measurements possible. Other options are to
construct measurement devices based on
electronics, such as headsets, that could be
modified to serve as an alternative input device
such as a force probe, which measures applied
force directly.
Many other experiments are only possible
with mobile measurement devices. The following
list is not intended to be exhaustive; the
expectation is that students will invent
experiments that are far more original than those
listed below. Note that time did not permit these
experiments to be performed using the cell
phone and Wiimote combination but are similar
to, and should be within the range of those
possible for the devices, as the experiments
demonstrated above.
Centripetal Acceleration around a Corner
– Take a vehicle to a large, empty parking lot.
While stopped, place the Wiimote on a horizontal
surface pointing 90 degrees to the direction of
travel and start recording data. From a complete
stop, make a full-circle left turn at constant rate
of speed and then stop. Stop recording data.
Compare circular turns of different radii.
Acceleration in an Elevator - While
stopped at the bottom or top floor, place the
Wiimote in a corner with the y-axis pointing up
and start recording data. Start the elevator and
when it stops, stop recording data. Compare
upward and downward travel.
Acceleration of the Vertical Loop on a
Roller Coaster - Secure the Wiimote to your
lower leg with the y-axis pointing up (long socks
might help too) and start recording data.
Compare the accelerations at the top, bottom,
and sides of the loop.
Acceleration of a Skydiver [1] – Secure
the Wiimote to your lower leg with the y-axis
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
pointing up (duct tape might help) and start
recording data. Jump out of the airplane, fall,
open parachute and land. Stop recording data
and analyze the accelerations on each of the
three axes throughout the dive.
Bumpy Road - Measure the force
produced by hitting a bump in the road.
Roller coaster – Place someone at the
front middle and back of a roller coaster and
compare accelerations. An example of
simultaneous multiple data measurements.
Doppler shift – Determine the sound
frequency as a train approaches, reaches and
retreats from a vehicle crossing. Calculate the
Doppler shift and the corresponding speed of the
Other Acceleration ideas - Record
acceleration experienced when dropping the
Wiimote, riding on bicycle, car, boat, trampoline,
skiing etc.
5. References
C. Chudzinski and K. Forinash, Skydiving
with the CBL.
A. Erifiu and G. Mario G, Projects:
WiiConnect/WiiRider, 2007.
F. Fitzek and F. Reichert, editors, Mobile
Phone Programming and its Application to
Wireless Networking, Springer; 2007.
Google Inc. Android – An Open Handset
Alliance Project.
Vernier Software and Technology, Vernier
WiiLi.org, Wii Linux – Wiimote.
4. Summary
As has always been the case, science
depends upon investigative tools for exploring
ideas and quantifying the results. The purpose of
this paper has been to demonstrate a small
portion of the possibilities for placing
investigative tools quite literally in the pockets of
students. The ubiquitous cell phone, particularly
when combined with commonly available
consumer electronics, can complement the
traditional science laboratory experience with
one that is nearly always available and is highly
mobile; adding to the number and range of
investigations possible while reducing the
constraints of time and space.
Classic sound and acceleration experiments
have been presented to demonstrate the
feasibility of the cell phone as an investigative
tool. Students will certainly create other, more
original experiments. While building investigative
tools from cell phones and other mobile
consumer electronics is not without challenges,
the educational rewards are tangible and, given
the strong economic forces driving improvement
in cell phone and consumer electronics
technologies, the power, ease of use, and
potential of these devices in science education
can only accelerate.
Steel Spheres and Skydiver Terminal
Velocity Using Video Analysis
J. Costa Leme1 and C. Moura2
Escola EB 2,3/S de Lanheses. Portugal
Universidade do Minho. Portugal
leme.jose@sapo.uminho.pt, cmoura@fisica.uminho.pt
Abstract. Terminal velocity (vt) of falling objects
is one of the contents of the Physics official
program in Portuguese high schools. The
concept is supported on the analysis of the
graphical representation of the y-component of
the velocity (vy) as function of the time, for the
motion of a skydiver.
This work describes the use of open source
video analysis software in the study of the
relationship between the velocity of falling
objects and time.
The first motivation of the present work was
the acquisition and analysis of experimental
data, obtained inside a classroom by students,
related with the concept of terminal velocity and
the impact of the strategy on its effective
The apparatus used in this work, was a testtube filled with two viscous fluids: glycerol and
engine oil. A 8 mm diameter steel sphere was
released inside the tube. The sphere’s motion,
was recorded by a digital camera (30 frames per
second). The motion picture, in avi format, was
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
analyzed with Tracker video-analyzer. As in
other video analysis software, it is possible to
transform the digital images (frame by frame)
into position coordinates, velocity or acceleration
graphs among others.
With the present work, the first conclusion
was that the concept of terminal velocity was
understood by the students. In fact, they worked
cohesively and effectively, during all the different
stages of the experiment. The analyses, the
discussion and interpretation of the variation of
speed for the motion of a skydiver, after this
understanding of the concept by the students,
when compared with a simple analysis of a vy =
f(t) graph of the motion of the skydiver. Tracker
gives also the possibility to analyze other
concepts such as acceleration, position or
energy. The advantage of Tracker it is easy to
get, it is an open source, and is workable.
light when the differences of light path lengths
are known. In this work we present the
implementation and development of a tailored
interferometer for use in classroom. The
educational strategy will be presented with focus
configurations, measurement protocols and
problem solving situations. Different experiments
developed and results obtained will be analysed
and discussed.
Keywords. Skydiver, Terminal Velocity, Tracker
Video Analysis.
Keywords. Hands-on, Optics.
Hands-on Interferometry
B.V. Dorrío
Escola Técnica Superior de Enxeñeiros de
VIGO (Spain)
Abstract. When in a certain space region two or
more light waves are superimposed, light-light
interaction can take place. It can happen that the
resulting wave irradiance changes among the
different points between certain extreme values.
These irradiance variations in the superposition
region are considered as the interference
phenomena. The points in the superposition
region where the optical phase difference takes
the same value define a fringe. All these fringes
form a fringe pattern that can be visible if the
interfering beams are very much alike. The
optical arrangement in which two or more
beams, derived from the same source but
travelling along separate paths are made to
interfere is called interferometer, a well-known
technological device with important metrological
applications on everyday life, as any magnitude
able to modify the phase difference of the
interfering beams can be measured with an
interferometer. So it is possible to measure any
quantity related with differences of light path
lengths, differences of geometrical path lengths,
differences of refractive indexes or wavelength of
[1] E. Alanís, G. Romero, C. Martínez, L.
Alvarez and G. Salazar, An Inexpensive
Microscopic Displacements, The Physics
Teacher 42, 223-225, 2004
[2] C.A. Sawicki, Easy and Inexpensive
Demonstration of Light Interference, The
Physics Teacher 39, 16-19, 2001
[3] M. Vollmer and K.P. Möllmann, Michelson
Interferometer for Your Kitchen Table, The
Physics Teacher, 46, 114-117, 2008
[4] B.V. Dorrío and A. Rúa, Actividades
manipulativas para el aprendizaje de la
Educación, 42/7, 1-15, 2007
[5] B.V. Dorrío, 101 Hands-on electromagnetic
induction activities, Development, Diversity
and Inclusion in Science Education, M.F.M.
Costa, B.V. Dorrío and R. Reis (Eds.), Ponta
Delgada: Universidade das Açores, 201-202,
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Science e–learning @ portal.moisil.ro
M. Garabet and I. Neacşu
Theoretical High School “ Grigore Moisil”
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract. A few months ago, the Theoretical
High School Grigore Moisil from Bucharest won
a Grant Competition for scholar development,
with the goal to pilot a Microsoft Learning
Gateway application for educational use, in order
to facilitate the communication between all the
managers, parents, local community.
In order to valorise the possession of the
portal, we, the teachers of Natural Science, are
intending to realize an e -portfolio named Natural
Science between real and virtual. It will contain
all kind of experiments and projects made by the
students and the Science Teachers and it will be
hosted on the portal of our school. It can be
accessed at: http://portal.moisil.ro, username:
vizitator, password: vizitator.
Now, the portfolio contains the electronic
paper named Natural Science between real and
virtual- data acquisition, processing and
presentation, by Mihaela Garabet and Ion
Neacşu, elaborated in partnership with Center for
Science Education and Training, Microsoft
Partners in Learning, National Instruments and
Vernier International.
One section of the portfolio, named Against
Global Warming, was presented at the
Innovative Teachers Forum, held in Zagreb, on
6-8 Mars, 2008.
Our main goal is to promote experimental
teaching of Science as a way of improving inschool scientific education and Science literacy
in our society.
That’s why we are developing and using
hands-on experiments in our classrooms so that
students “do” science rather than merely being
“exposed” to it. We have also prepared a set of
data acquisition experiments that could be
performed from distance by logging on our
computers and work in our lab.
Acquisition Experiments.
1. Introduction
A few months ago, the Theoretical High
School Grigore Moisil from Bucharest won a
Grant Competition for scholar development, with
the goal to pilot a Microsoft Learning Gateway
application for educational use, in order to
facilitate the communication between all the
managers, parents, local community.
It can be accessed at: http://portal.moisil.ro,
username: vizitator, password: vizitator. In the
Figure 1, you can see the homepage of the
Figure 1. portal.moisil.ro – home page
Microsoft Learning Gateway (MLG) is a
powerful, extensible suite of features designed to
help schools meet their priorities and to give
students personalized learning portals that bring
together everything they need to support their
classes. Password-protected access can be
extended to parents, providing up-to-the-minute
information on students’ attendance, grades,
assignments, timetables, and upcoming events.
Administrators are provided with a secure,
personalized interface from which they can
improve planning and follow-through and make
effective decisions. You can explore the tabs
from Figure 2 and you will see the content of the
Figure 2. The sections of the portal
As a ‘Virtual Learning Environment’ (VLE),
Learning Gateway simply breaks down barriers
of location and time to offer pupils and staff the
ability to communicate and interact as if they
were sharing the same space. Indeed webbased communication and collaboration via
email, messaging, chat rooms, bulletin boards,
videoconferencing, web pages, presentations,
written documents, notes, is at the core of
Learning Gateway. But the next step is to have
access to and share online workspaces, where
coursework, homework, reference materials and
the like can be uploaded. No longer can the dog
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
eat the recalcitrant child’s homework! There are
ample opportunities for supporting pupils, with
materials, revision resources and two-way
The Table 1 shows the major benefits for
teachers, learners and parents.
Plan lessons
Allocate home
work to learners
Add content
Tests online
Keep up to
Access from
virtual in Stiinte Naturale and you can explore the
themes we are proposing: movements, sounds,
light, electric circuits, Global Warming, everyday
life solutions, human cardiovascular system,
plants, etc (Figure 3). All of them are treated with
data acquisition experiments which are
described in the tutorial and all the registered
signals are given in xls format for free. Any visitor
can download and use them for processing.
Table 1. MLG benefits
We will try to illustrate all of these features
using the description of the Science e-portfolio.
Figure 3. The tutorial’s content
2. Natural Science between real and virtual
In order to valorise the possession of the
portal, we, the teachers of Natural Science, are
intending to realize an e-portfolio named
Natural Science between real and virtual. It
will contain all kind of experiments and projects
made by the students and the Science Teachers
and it will be hosted on the portal of our school.
For the beginning, let’s see the tutorial named
Natural Science between real and virtualdata
presentation, by Mihaela Garabet and Ion
Neacşu, elaborated in partnership with Centre for
Science Education and Training, Microsoft
Partners in Learning, National Instruments and
Vernier International. The tutorial has as a the
major goal to bring our students closer to the real
world, to give them a chance to apply their
theoretical knowledge in practice in an integrated
manner and from a different point of view
comparing to the outcomes of the curricular
On the other way we find it is a good way to
develop the general competences prefigured in
the Romanian curricular standards like:
understanding and explain natural phenomenon
and technological processes in everyday life, the
applying of scientific investigation in Physics,
Chemistry, Biology and the environmental
protection. So, click on tab Hands on Science,
then click on the link Hands on Science – Real si
Figure 4. Aspects from the tutorial
3. Students projects
Figure 5. Searching by the name of the student
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The students’ projects are uploaded on their
personal sites. I am the teacher, at my home,
and I want to check Andrei Erghelegiu’s work...
So I will access the portal using my username
and my password and I will search by the
student name, using the tab Cautare, like in the
Figure 5. The results are two: the parent
Erghelegiu and the student personal sites.
I will click the student site for checking his
I will find what you can see in the Figure 6!
Figure 6
And an example of a result of a project
developed by a student from 9A: the study of car
moving down an inclined, using a camera for
register the movie, Movie Maker for analyzing
the movement frame by frame and Microsoft
Excel for making the graph you can see in the
Figure 7.
that, the students, helped by the teacher and the
technician engineer, Ion Neacsu are projecting
and developing experiments to investigate the
way we contribute to the Earth warming. The
Centre for Science Education and Training gave
them last generation instruments for data
acquisition. They have tested the role of carbon
dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere warming, the role
of the oceans in carbon dioxide consumption, the
role of the plants and trees in maintaining the
atmosphere equilibrium. After a brainstorming
they formulated some ideas for reducing Global
Warming. The students want to sensitize the
people to fight with Global warming, so in June
2007 they organized a poster exposition named
Message for Terra. A team of 3 students created
Message to ourselves which is an electronic self
statement about what to do in order to slower the
Global Warming and to protect the environment.
This statement was posted, in 2007 on the
school web page and everybody was asked to
sign the self agree for respecting it forever! This
section of the portfolio, named Against Global
Warming, was presented at the Innovative
Teachers Forum, held in Zagreb, on 6-8 Mars,
You can find more about it by searching the
tab Against Global Warming!
We hope our students will learn a lot in this
project because the manner of developing the
activities is very different from the classic lessons
of Science, now they can integrate their
knowledge and they can act like the adults in the
real life.
Figure 7. Example of Physics Homework
Another collaborative Science project started
in 2006 because the students from 10th have
discovered that the Earth has a great problem:
the phenomenon called Global Warming. It
happened during a documentary project
proposed by the Physics Teacher Mihaela
Garabet: the students had to illustrate the phase
transitions in a PowerPoint presentation. After
Figure 8. experimental set-up
4. The online data acquisition experimental
Now we are intending to integrate an online
experimental platform on the Moisil portal. We
have some experience in conducting data
acquisition experiments and more important, we
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
have the necessary equipment and we can share
it via Internet with different users. They will have
to receive a user name and a password which
grant them limited access to make real
experiment from distance. The online laboratory
will be set up to perform science experiments
covering a vast array of fields including Physics,
Chemistry, Biology, Earth Sciences, Mechanics
and Electricity. Students using the LabVIEW
software will be able to operate real equipment
throughout the experiment directly via the
We have also prepared a set of data
acquisition experiments that could be performed
from distance by logging on our computers and
work in our lab.
When I am writing this paper the platform is
not integrated ready yet on the portal by I will try
to describe the way I can do a simple experiment
from distance. I am at home and the experiment
of raising the Current- voltage characteristic of a
light bulb will take place on the table of our lab,
but will be conducted by me, from the distance.
The experimental set-up is shown in the Figure
8: the bulb, the current probe and the conductors
for registering the bulb’s applied voltage from the
AO of the data acquisition board. The last one is
connected to the computer and works together
with LabVIEW 7. In this experiment the user will
manually modify (from the distance), the apply
voltage to the bulb and register the current and
the voltage on different channels (Analog Input)
of the data acquisition board. The user can plot
the graph I=I(U) directly in the VI (Virtual
Instrument) he is using or he can save the
registered data in an xls datasheet.
results for the bulb characteristic I=I(U) and an
web-cam image of the experimental set-up.
In the future, a student from anywhere (in
Romania) could be able to do the same. And
many other experiments we are hoping now!
5. References
[1] http://www.microsoft.com/education/Learning
[2] http://education.inflpr.ro
[3] http://www.ni.com
[4] http://www.vernier.com
Coal Mines and Natural Surroundings,
Can They Be Integrated? An
Educational Standpoint
J. Redondas
CPEB de Cerredo, Asturias, Spain
Abstract. The needs for energy have become an
important question in our economical system and
in our daily life, mostly in the last years. Since
the industrial revolution coal has been vastly
used in steam engines and actually in the
production of electric power. Our school is
located in a high mountain area in Asturias (north
of Spain) where the main economical source is
the exploitation of coal mines, even in open air
mines and underground galleries.
We are in a small village (around 1000
habitants) at high altitude (1060 m). An important
part of our municipality is integrated in a natural
park (Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña e Ibias), and
the traditional life consist in agriculture and
forestry related activities.
In this paper, we describe the work made by
our students analyzing, in this environment, how
the wildlife is being affected by the extraction,
transformation and transportation of coal to the
nearest thermoelectric plants.
Science, Education.
1. Introduction
Figure 9. The results of the distance experiment
I am at home. I will authentify myself to grant
access on PC21 Physics Moisil Laboratory,
where I can only use the VI for the study of the
electric bulb. In the Figure 9 you can see the
During the development of the first human
societies, from the first stages, the harmony
between man and nature has become a basic
need to keep in mind and take into account in all
artificial activities.
Nevertheless, the aspiration of comfort and a
quick and sometimes an uncontrolled growth and
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
development of our economical system in
different fields such as agriculture, mining,
materials production and transformation, power
generation, etc, has give as a result a broad
damage of our natural environment.
After some time (years, decades, even a
century…) our society realized that this way was
not completely right in the direction to achieve a
good quality of life.
development has emerged as a principle to
follow in all the economical and social activities
for the future.
School is a suitable scene to develop
activities and encourage attitudes in this
direction. In this way, a multinational group of
secondary school pupils, aged 14-16, from
different schools, most of them from European
countries, and also Turkey and Canada,
conscious of the relevance of their activities for
the future, they have been developing, during the
last schoolyear, some indoor and outdoor
activities studying different environmental fields
to promote positive attitudes on the protection of
the environment
Since the first edition, started in 2004, the
Youth Eco-Parliament (YEP) project is an
international educative program that involves
each 2 years a great number of schools from the
above mentioned countries. The aim of this big
plan is to raise awareness of sustainable
In this paper we describe the different
activities carried out by the students of the CPEB
de Cerredo, a public secondary school, located
in the region of Asturies, in the north of Spain.
Cerredo is a village of the municipality of
Degaña, located at an altitude of 1060 meters
over the sea level, where the main economical
source nowadays is the extraction of coal even in
open-air and underground galleries. The
traditional activities of mountain agriculture and
complementary activity for some families.
2. Aims
The main objectives of the Youth EcoParliament are to encourage students to
observe, analyze and find out solutions for local
environmental problems, as well as to broad their
thinking and feeling to a global level within the
framework of planning and conferring with
classmates and others in the international writing
The participation in this project gives the
opportunity to the students to make contacts and
share experiences, feelings and knowledge with
other colleagues from different countries and
cultures. This collaboration opens their minds to
others ways of thinking and contributes to
emphasize the concept of European citizenship.
Another important objective is to promote
educational and outdoor activities that are
especially attractive for teenagers and increases
their interest towards the different matters such
as natural sciences, technology and English.
transfers between the different students, school,
coordinators and national and international
moderator’s results in a key role of the
information and communication technologies in
this project.
In our case, and due to the special
characteristics of our municipality and the
surrounding areas, we decided to present our
project based on the study of the different types
of pollution: air, water, soil as well as noise
pollution. We analyzed the main sources and the
consequences on the environment and the
health of people living in this region.
3. Background
Supported by the organization Pro Europe
(Packaging recovering organization Europe) in
partnership with Ecole et Nature (a network of
organizations and individuals who work in the
field of environmental education), the Youth
Ecoparliament (YEP) is an international
educational platform.
Figure 1. General meeting of the 1 youth eco-parliament
in Berlin 2004
In 2004 this project was launched, involving
some 3000 European students that have
elaborate a European White Paper for the
Environment divided into five thematic units:
energy, water, food, waste and air.
This document, containing resolutions and
proposals for action; was given to the President
of the European Parliament Josep Borrell, the
President of the Environmental Commission Karl
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Heinz and to the European Commissioner
Stavros Dimas.
Figure 2. First edition of this project
4. Structure of the YEP Report
Apart from the general objectives of the
overall project involving all the countries, the 67
Spanish schools involved were coordinated in
order to elaborate a particular report. This
document, written in Spanish language,
constitutes an edited book incorporating a
compilation of brief outlines summarizing the
main topics, the concrete objectives and a short
description of each local project developed
particularly by each school.
Each group of students, coordinated by one
or more teachers, presents, in this document, the
positive and negative elements of the work
organized, as well as the main achievements
and difficulties encountered during the progress
of the different tasks and stages, the main
outcomes and effects on themselves and on the
educational community and other agents
Figure 3: Project meeting of the second edition in 2006
The second edition, in 2006 takes the form of
Open Letter for the Environment, as a document
based on assessments and observation and
practices on local environmental issues and
addressed to influent groups in our society. The
addressees of the open letters were: producers
and industries, non-governmental organizations,
journalists, researchers and scientists, public
authorities, educators and also international
The third edition, in 2007-08, consists in the
elaboration of the YEP Report for the
environment which is directed at UNESCO
representatives within the framework of the
Development 2005-2014 (DESD).
It will feed both the second Biennial and the
half-way Report of the Decade to be published in
September 2009.
In this edition, in 2008, the collective writing of
this Report, invited 3500 young people, aged 15
to 17, accompanied by national moderators, to
pick out, analyse and highlight environmental
education actions with a view to sustainable
Figure 4. Contribution to the Spanish report (part A)
The final product of the multilateral
cooperation is a complete compilation of the
conclusions, proposals and feelings emerged
during the different activities and experiences
developed. This report contains the reflections
that came up from our study of 115 youth
projects across 10 countries of Europe and
Canada. The environmental, social, cultural and
economical implications are huge and reach
many aspects concerning the life of the world’s
population. This educational effort will encourage
changes in behaviours that will create
(undertaking local actions projects) a more
sustainable future in terms of environmental
integrity, economical viability, and a fair society
for present and future generations.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
at school and it not only implies lectures but
also other teaching methods (dialogue,
teamwork, practical training...)
Networking is key element in the YEP
(exchange of information among schools,
parliament, NGOs...). This chapter aims at giving
tips on different methods you might use and
adapt while taking actions.
5. Activities developed
5.1. Context and situation
Figure 5. Contribution to the Spanish report (part B)
The Report is organised in 5 chapters:
1. Our Vision: « a positive vision to get started »
In this chapter, we intend to demonstrate that
motivation is personal before becoming
collective. Being in nature as well as meeting
others is motivating. We think that it is
important to be part of a worldwide network
of young people, to share our visions, our
values and to start acting however small the
2. “Scientific Approach » Our belief is that a
change in the habits is enhanced with true
scientific knowledge. Realising that actual
scientific language is too complex for us to
understand we wish to make sure our results
will be understood by everyone.
3. “Start acting now! » Our objectives are to
motivate others and not wait that something
will happen... Step one: I can do something.
Everyone asks himself « What can I do from
now on! » (use bicycles, go by foot, ...). Step
two: Think about friends who are motivated
enough to think about local actions and do
something with them. Step three: Look for
“people with power" » (partners: mayor,
directors of companies, journalists); use
4. “Public awareness » This chapter aims at
showing and analysing different tools that
can be used to raise awareness. We had to
look at what made us aware and collect the
many ideas from all the countries. The main
idea is that we should not give lessons to
people but we should keep active and try to
inform the largest public.
5. “Learning to transform » This chapter is
about education from young age to older
generations. Learning does not only happen
Our school, the CPEB (Public centre of basic
education) of Cerredo is located in a high
mountain area in Asturias, in the north of Spain.
Cerredo is a small village (around 1000
habitants) at high altitude (1060 m).
Figure 6. Geographical location of Cerredo
This centre has singular characteristics due to
the adverse geographical conditions: poor
communications with neighbouring towns and
important cities and also severe climatic
conditions due to low temperatures the presence
of significant amounts of ice and snow, mainly in
winter. Our school covers all the levels of
compulsory education in the Spanish education
system, since we have pupils from 3 to 16-17
years old.
An important part of our municipality is
integrated in a natural park (Fuentes del Narcea,
Degaña e Ibias), and the traditional life consists
in agriculture and forestry. Since the middle of
the last century, the main economical source is
the exploitation of coal mines, even in open air
mines and underground galleries. This coal is
entirely employed in the production of electrical
energy in two thermoelectric power plants
situated at 30 and 50 kilometres far from the
location of the extraction areas.
In this environment, we have analyzed how
the wildlife is being affected by the extraction,
transformation and transportation of coal to the
thermoelectric plants.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
We have organized several visits to our
environment, where our students were guided in
order to see, identify and collect the different
species or parts of trees and plants.
Figure 7. General view of the small village of Cerredo
5.2. The natural park of Fuentes del Narcea,
Degaña e Ibias
Declared Natural Park in 2002, is situated in
the southwest of the region of Asturias, in the
occidental part of the Cantabric Mountains, with
an altitude between 400 m and 2000 m over the
sea level and an area of 47.589 ha. The name of
the park is given by the main rivers Narcea and
Inside this area there is a region of 60 km2 of
special protection: the integral natural reserve of
Muniellos; the access is restricted to a maximum
of 20 persons per day with authorization, which
constitutes an effective way to safeguard and
improve the environmental values.
This park is particularly rich in flora and fauna
characteristic of European high mountains.
Between the vegetal species are especially
important the oak (quercus robur and quercus
petraea) and beech (fagus sylvatica) forests and
there is also chestnut trees (castanea sativa) and
birches (betula celtiberica) as well as other small
species, mainly different ferns, moss (muscus)
and lichens.
Figure 9. Students are identifying different plants and
trees in the forest
The wildlife species more important in this
park are the bear (ursus arctos arctos), with an
estimated population of around 40 members but
with clear signs of resurgence in the last years,
and the tetrao urogallus, more important due to
the special situation of this species in Europe
than to the number of members. Regarding this
aspect are more important the wolf (canis lupus),
the fox (vulpes vulpes) the wild boar (sus scrofa)
and the deer (capreolus capreolus) between the
mammalians and the goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
and the sparrow-hawk (Accipiter nisus) in the
group of the birds.
As it can be understood, it is not easy to find
and observe such species directly in their natural
environment and this even more difficult with a
interpretation centre has been visited and we
could examine some bibliographical and
audiovisual materials related to the wildlife.
5.3. The coal extraction and handling
Cerredo belongs to the south-Cantabric coal
basin, one of the most important coal areas in
Spain. Anthracite and soft coal are the more
abundant types of coal extracted.
The coal is extracted following two different
Figure 8. Glacial lake
In open air mines using heavy
machinery, mainly in the highest parts of the
In underground galleries, with different
levels and interconnected indoors.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
talks with the responsible for the environmental
management of the company and the engineer.
Once extracted, the coal is processed in
industrial plants usually placed close to mines,
with the purpose of separate the unwanted and
useless parts of rocks and soil from the coal
used as combustible in the thermoelectric power
Figure 10. Open-air coal mines
The second method is obviously more
complicated from the technological perspective
and economically more expensive. Nevertheless,
the effects on the environment are more
significant in the open-air techniques due to the
powder emission to the atmosphere, the noises
provoked by the movement of the machinery and
the detonations, and the destruction of the
natural environment and the visual impact.
Figure 12. Students are analyzing the wreckage of the
coal mines
This washing process generates a large
amount of dirty water that needs to be treated
before dumped directly to the river. Nevertheless
the rain usually drags important amounts of coal
and rests of soil to the watercourses.
After the washing procedure, the coal should
be milled and converted in small pieces before
be sent to the destination. This milling process
constitutes another important element of air
pollution and also noise pollution that affects
directly to the population of the village, since the
treatment plants are placed very close to the
5.3. Organization of the work
Figure 11. Coal handling
This methods of coal extraction have been
evaluated by our students by means of visits to
the mines (except the underground galleries
because it is forbidden for people aged less than
18 due to security reasons) and interviews and
The project was launched in November of
2007 when the CPEB de Cerredo was selected
to participate, together with other European
The students of the upper course of this
school (fourth level of secondary compulsory
education) were selected by the leading teachers
to be in charge of this project and all the tasks
related. They were guided and organized by the
teachers of natural sciences and biology. The
national moderators of the project helped also
them concerning some procedures and the dates
and deadlines to manage the different activities.
The title of our project is: “Coal mines and
natural surroundings, can they be integrated?”
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
and, during the school year, the following
activities have been developed:
An initial search for information in different
sources (mainly webs, books and the
monthly magazine of the local coal extraction
company) about two key topics: the
characteristics of the natural park and the
procedures directed to the coal extraction
and handling.
Exploration on the environment and
research and study directly on the same
themes: in the neighbouring nature and in
the mines and coal handling industrial plants.
Inquiries to experts who could provide
precise and technical information concerning
the preservation of the nature values and the
waste treatment in the mines and how the
coal mines affects the environment.
Discussions about the information obtained
from bibliographical sources as well as from
inquiries to experts.
Elaboration of a set of results, including data
obtained and the conclusions of the
These outcomes have been presented both
in a written version and also as an
audiovisual production. In this movie each
participant student presents a particular
section concerning the tasks carried out and
the results obtained, combined with different
scenes and outlooks in relation to the
environment and the different mining
Collaboration to the elaboration of the YEP
Report to be sent to the UNESCO.
Figure 13. Main page of the web of the project
communication technologies helps the students
to deal with contacts and links with colleagues
from different schools geographically separated,
and to know the activities and the results
obtained by all the partners.
The students could exchange ideas and
respond to questions posed by experts, by
participating in the forums. They could start to
make connections between their day to day
actions and their local situation in respect to the
environment and sustainable development. They
could share their experiences with other
European students.
6. Resources and activities on-line
The international cooperation was achieved
thanks to a powerful tool than ensures and
makes more easy and fluid communication
between the students and teachers of the
participant schools. That’s the web site of the
European Youth Eco-Parliament
All the schools were included in this web site,
where each school had the chance to create
their own presentation.
Depending on the goal, each class have
choose the tool they thought was the most useful
for the message and content they wanted to
communicate; then they have prepared the web
assembling the material in the form of photos,
images, films, texts… to facilitate the description
of the work done and the results obtained in the
different steps. The web was public, but the
possibility to edit the different branches was
restrained to the corresponding school by means
of a login and a password.
Figure 14. Wild fruits (blueberries) are widespread in the
environment Cerredo
Additional pedagogical advantages have
been offered by the forum: allows students could
enter into dialogue with others about
environmental issues, promotes the use of
Information Technology in an educational
framework, contributes to build skills in
encourages social behaviour as well as develops
reading, writing and verbal skills.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
7. Pedagogical outcomes and evaluation
As it has been mentioned, the final product of
this project is a report written collaboratively by
the participants on this project and addressed to
the UNESCO representatives.
Beside this material product, the main
outcomes from which the participant students
were benefited can be summarized in the
following points:
The outdoor activities are tasks that engage
students to do scientific and cultural
research, to explore different ways of
sustainable living and implement the use of
learning diaries.
The students are encouraged to share
ideas, study directly their environment,
collect different categories of data and reflect
on what they had learnt.
The direct experiences carried out seem to
be an extremely important factor in educating
students to be environmentally aware adults.
The information empowerment leads to an
active participation and awareness of their
responsibility towards the community and
environmental policies.
The knowledge and experience gained
during such a project is incomparable with
common curricular school activities.
Moreover, from the educational, pedagogical and
social point of view the skills specially
developed were:
Determine the validity of evidence from a
variety of sources.
Analyze critical issues on economic growth
and environmental protection.
Develop presentational writing skills.
Work cooperatively in teams.
Independent research with news journals,
magazines, statistical reports, and on-line
Interview skills
Planning and organizational skills
The participation in this project has also
contributed to enhance the use of the new
technologies at school and to make the students
aware of the relevance of the computers and
Internet in the different fields of our world.
Since the project involves international
collaboration, the language used within the
writing groups is English. In order to allow a good
level of exchange an effective communication
between students it was essential the
collaboration of the teacher of English.
Figure 15. Traditional practices in Cerredo
8. Conclusions
Our work helped us to understand the factors
needed to change daily habits and successfully
reach the goals of the United Nations Decade of
Education for Sustainable Development -for
which UNESCO is the lead agency- indeed to
integrate the principles, values, and practices of
sustainable development into all aspects of
education and learning.
We intend to share our experience in leading
projects and inspire those around the world who
wish to engage in such projects and commit
them to change their daily habits.
Through this work we realized that any action,
even small, contributes to a world where each
and every one might feel good and where human
beings and nature will both get their way.
9. References
[1] D.B. Botkin and E.A. Keller, Environmental
Science: Earth as a Living Planet, 2nd
edition, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.
[2] V. Brown, Investigating nature through
outdoor projects: 36 strategies for turning the
laboratory, Harrisburg, Pa. Stackpole Books,
[3] L.P. Pringle, Taking care of the earth: kids in
action. Honesdale, Pa., Boyds Mills Press,
[4] P. Feinsinger, A. Grajal and A. Berkowitz,
Some themes appropriate for schoolyard
ecology and other hands-on ecology
education. Bulletin of the Ecological Society
of America, v. 78: 144- 146, 1997.
[5] N.
purpose, design, and execution, Cambridge
Eng., New York, Cambridge University
Press, 1989.
[6] http://www.actionfornature.org
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
[7] http://www.envirolink.org
[8] http://www.enviroliteracy.org/
[9] http://www.epa.gov/
[10] http://www.globe.gov
[11] International Planet’ERE Collective (IPC),
sustainable development, Montreal 1997.
[12] S. Levine and A. Grafton, Projects for a
experiments for kids. New York. Wiley, 1992.
[13] J.A. Palmer, Environmental education in the
21st century, Theory, practice, progress and
promise, New York: Routledge, 1998.
[14] S, Simon, Science projects in pollution, New
York, Holiday House, 1972.
[15] UN. Air Pollution and Citizen Awareness,
New York, 2005.
[16] J. Redondas, Environmental Research
Activities in an Heavy Industrialized Region,
Proceedings of the 3rd International
Conference on Hands-on Science, Costa
MF, Dorrío BV (Eds.); 2006 September 4-9;
University of Minho; Braga, Portugal. 376390, 2006.
[17] J. Redondas, Experiences for the II
European Youth Ecoparliament Project.
Proceedings of the 3rd International
Conference on Hands-on Science, Costa
MF, Dorrío BV (Eds.), 2006 September 4-9;
University of Minho; Braga, Portugal, 433440, 2006.
Students’ Awareness of Endangered
Species and Threatened
Environments: A Comparative CaseStudy
M. Erdoğan1, N. Erentay2, M. Barss
and A. Nechita
Akdeniz University,
Antalya, Turkey
METU, Foundation School,
Ankara, Turkey
Roland Park County School,
Washington, USA
School Number 5,
Satu Mare, Romania
nerentay@odtugvo.k12.tr, barssm@rpcs.org,
Abstract: The purpose of this comparative-case
study is to investigate children’s awareness of
environments in four countries. 5th – 7th grade
students in four schools, each from Turkey
(n=16), Bulgaria (n=40), Romania (n=22), and
USA (n=11) constituted the sample of the study.
Each group of students under the guidance of
their teacher was asked to select one
endangered specie and threatened environment
(e.g. lake) in their neighbourhood. During the
study, they went on field trips which
complemented indoor discussions during club
time. Student achievement was measured with
five different data collection instruments each of
which pertains to knowledge, skills, attitude, and
behaviour. The findings indicate that students
developed a global awareness from these
experiences, which resulted in motivation to
develop action strategies for protecting the
endangered species. Student conceptions were
guardianship and eco-centric.
Endangered Species, Threatened Environment.
1. Introduction
Nature studies with the children have long
been reported in the literature to increase
students’ awareness of ecological processes
(e.g. food chain, water cycles…etc) in the natural
environment. These studies also help the
children understand the language of the nature.
Studies in the literature report that there are lots
of ways of developing one’s environmental
knowledge and awareness such as media, family
and the schools (within and out-of-school). Field
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
trips (Neal, 1994), case studies (Matthews &
Riley, 1995, as cited in Yerkes & Haras, 1997),
community inventory projects, community action
projects are mentioned in the literature as school
activities (Howe & Disinger, 1988). Further,
school garden activities can be added to this list.
As claimed by Bryjegard (2001), school gardens
are excellent places for introducing the concept
of environmental awareness to the students.
Another way of introducing environmental issues
to students is to infuse studies about the
environment into a traditional course offering
(Wagner, 1997). In addition to these methods,
outdoor activities (field trips…etc) provide
teachers and the students with opportunities
(Yekes & Haras, 1997) to study environmental
issues first hand (Neal, 1994), and this approach
has been effective in helping students develop
an awareness of the environment (Palmerg &
Kuru, 2000; Howe & Disinger, 1988).
1.1 Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study was to investigate
children’s concern for and awareness of
endangered species and threatened habitats.
This paper presents in-depth analysis of findings
of a comparative case study including the
perceptions of children from Turkey, Bulgaria,
Romania and the USA.
2. Method
This study was designed as a comparative
case study seeking for in-depth information on a
small group of participants (Leedy & Ormrod,
2005). Patton (1990) believes that studying a
small group, with a wealth of detailed
information, can help the researcher(s)
understand the cases in depth. However, he
further claims that this reduces generalizability.
Furthermore, qualitative inquiry helps the
researcher carefully scrutinize the targeted
sample (Patton, 1987). The findings presented
here are the results of the second year of the
Unique and Universal Project.
2.1. Sample and Sampling
Eighty-nine students in grades 5 to 7
participated in this study. They came from four
different schools and each school was in a
different country as shown on the list that follows.
Table 1. Students from each country
Number of the students
a. Turkish Sample:
Fourteen 5th and two 6th grade students at
METU Foundation School in the urban area of
Ankara constituted the Turkish sample in the
study. The group included 11 and 12 year old
girls and boys.
b. Bulgarian Sample:
Forty 1st to 6th grade students between the
ages of 8 and 11 from Vasil Aprilov Elementary
School in Bulgaria constituted the Bulgarian
sample of the study. These students only
participated in the second year of the U&U
c. Romanian Sample:
Twelve 5th grade and ten 6th grade students at
School Number 5 in Satu Mare in Romania
constituted the Romanian sample of the study.
d. American Sample:
Six 6th grade and five 7th grade students from
Roland Park Country School in the USA
constituted the American sample of the study.
Since this school is for the girls, all students in
the study were girls.
2.2. Data Collection Instruments
The Unique and Universal project has several
objectives which address different dimensions of
student learning. These dimensions include the
cognitive, affective and psychomotor dimensions
of the learning. Thus, in order to measure
participants’ development regarding these three
dimensions, five different data collection
instruments were developed by considering
findings from the existing literature and the level
of the students. Only the knowledge test, the
attitude test and the picture form were given to
the students in Bulgaria, Romania and the USA.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Before administering the instruments, they were
translated into the students’ own language
(Turkish, Bulgarian, Romanian and English).
Each of the instruments is briefly described
a. Knowledge Test
This test aims to investigate students’
knowledge about endangered species and
threatened habitats. Further, it also aims to
determine the source of students’ knowledge on
the topics investigated. In the test, the students
are asked to rate the importance of some
precautions to be taken to protect these species
and habitats. Both open-ended and Likert type
items are included in the knowledge test.
b. Attitude questionnaire
This questionnaire aims to investigate the
attitudes of students toward endangered species
and threatened habitats. There are 13 closedended items on a 4 point Likert-type scale (1strongly disagree, 2-disagree, 3-agree and 4strongly agree). In addition, the students are also
asked to respond to reasons behind their
tendencies / responses.
c. Picture form
Each group of students focused on a different
endangered species. The picture form aims to
determine to what extent the students know the
characteristics of the endangered species they
are studying. In the picture form, the students are
required to draw a picture of the specific
endangered species, and also to identify the
characteristics of that species.
d. Field trip tests (two different)
These tests include two different instruments.
The first one aims to determine students’
knowledge about the scientific experiments
carried out during the field trip. The second aims
to determine the students’ knowledge of the
endangered species they are studying.
2.3. Data collection process
A strong communication ensured that the
simultaneously. However, this connection
weakened toward the end of the spring semester
due to the heavy schedule of the partner schools
and the teachers. This study of the second year
of the U&U Project was initiated within the
schools in the fall semester of 2006-2007. The
study teams were formed and the aims of the
project were explained to the project teams. In
order to collect data from the participants, the
instruments were administered at the beginning,
middle and end of the study. In the first meeting
with the students, at the beginning of the project,
in order to determine the initial knowledge and
attitudes of the students, a knowledge test, an
attitude questionnaire and a picture form were
administered to the students in each country.
Then, regular meetings took place with the
students during the semester.
The students went on field trips (selected by
the students) to a study site near to their school.
Two field trip tests were given to the students
before and after each field trip and observation
activities. The first field trip test was given to the
students to determine their initial knowledge of
water monitoring parameters before and after the
water parameter experiments. The second field
trip test was given to determine students’
knowledge of characteristics of endangered
species before and after their observation of the
endangered species they selected to investigate.
These two tests were only given to the students
in Turkey, but not the ones in Bulgaria, Romania
and the USA. At the end of the study (end of
spring semester), a focus group interview was
performed with only Turkish students. Also, the
picture form and attitude questionnaire were
given to all students in four of the countries.
2.4. Data Analysis
Once all the data was gathered from the
participants, the data analysis procedure could
begin. In order to analyze the data, not only
quantitative but also qualitative data analysis
procedures were used. Since the attitude
questionnaire includes closed ended items, the
responses given to those items were analyzed
by use of descriptive statistics, particularly mean,
standard deviation, percentage, and frequency.
On the other hand, the responses given to the
open ended questions were analyzed by the use
of content analysis.
3. Results
The results gathered from the students
through the use of different types of data
concern, awareness and perceptions of
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
3.1. Turkish Students
Turkish students believed that an excessive
amount of hunting, water and air pollution,
changes in the climate as a result of global
warming, construction of factories in the natural
areas and uncontrolled waste management and
sewer are the main environmental problems
directly influencing the loss of endangered
species and threatened habitats. They also
believed that the precautions and protection
measures taken to deal with these problems
have not been sufficient in either Turkey or
worldwide. They were more concerned about
behaviours for engaging in protecting these
species and regions.
The responses of the students indicated that
their own knowledge about the number of the
other endangered species and regions had been
very limited at the very beginning of the project.
However, their knowledge of these topics
increased toward the end of the study.
Students reported that they obtained
environmental information about the endangered
species and threatened regions mostly from their
school, the projects they were involved in (ecoschool projects, tree planting…etc), and the
Internet. As a source of knowledge regarding the
topics, the students claimed that course
textbooks were not sufficient, but the classroom
instructions and activities were somewhat
perceived as adequate.
Students’ pictures of Dikkuyruk (Oxyura
Leucocephela) and their explanations regarding
this bird showed that their knowledge of selected
endangered species was quite limited at the very
beginning. Their second picture of the species at
the end of the project indicated that they drew
the picture of the organism in detail and identified
its basic characteristics (head, tail, living
area…etc). Two of Turkish students’ drawings of
Dikkuyruk are given in picture 1.
Some of the explanations of the students on
Dikkuyruk are given below;
“It has blue bill. Its tail is strait. Its head is
white. It lives in Eymir Lake. It is endangered”
(Deniz S.)
“it is a diving duck. It is called as white-head
(Akbaş). It is forbidden to be hunted. Its tail is
black” (Burak B.).
“it has brown fur/hair”. (Aleyna K.)
Students believed that passing new laws,
fining people in case of their destructive
behaviours, constructing new habitats for the
species, holding conferences and seminars, and
putting more information about the endangered
species and threatened regions in the textbooks
are the most effective ways to prevent the
extinction of endangered species and threatened
environments. They reported that prohibiting
people from entering the endangered habitats
would not be an effective precaution.
Picture 1. Turkish Students’ Pictures of Dik Kuyruk
(Oxyura Leucocephela)
Turkish students’ attitudes toward the
environments seemed to be quite positive both at
the beginning and at the end. They indicated
their willingness to take any action to protect the
endangered species, because they believed that
these animals and plants are becoming rare and
endangered. They also valued that the
endangered species are living organisms like
human beings. Thus, students felt they have
their own rights and need to be protected. For
that reason, they reported that the natural
resources should be carefully used. Their selfefficacy/internal locus of control appeared to be
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
high, because they believed in their own ability
and intrinsic motivation to take responsible
3.2. Bulgarian Students
Bulgarian students believed that hunting,
human activity and factories, destruction of the
natural habitats, lack of food, release of waste
water in water basins, and harmful / poisonous
emissions of gases in the atmosphere are the
main environmental problems causing the loss of
endangered species. Similarly, they reported
several environmental problems threatening the
natural environmental region such as tourist
activities in and around the region, wrong use of
the area for scientific investigation, and loss of
habitat and species around the region. They
more concerned about the species they
investigated during their field trips and reported
that hunting is the most severe problem
threatening the Black Kormoran.
The Bulgarian students believed that the
protection studies were not sufficient in the World
in general, since people do not pay adequate
attention and pollute the environment which
causes the extinction of species. However, they
believed that the protection studies were
somewhat sufficient since such protection
studies have been carried out by the schools,
and poachers are fined in Bulgaria.
They obtained information about the
endangered species and threatened environment
mostly from the project they were involved in,
their school, TV, books, and the Internet. Nearly,
all of the students indicated that subject taught in
the classroom and classroom activities were a bit
sufficient whereas the topics covered in the
textbooks were not enough to be knowledgeable
about the endangered species and threatened
Two of the students’ drawings are given in
picture 2. Their pictures of Black Kormoran
characteristics of this species.
They reported that imposing fines, putting
new laws, creating special areas for the plants
and the animals located in the threatened areas,
and integrating much more information about
these topics into the textbooks were rated as the
most influential ways of solving the problems
with these species and areas. Furthermore, they
suggested that the laws be changed, fines be
charged and stronger punishment be given.
Students indicated their own ways to solve
these problems included taking part in projects
and protection studies, taking non-formal biology,
ecology and geography classes and cleaning the
Picture 2. Bulgarian Students’ Pictures of Black
Kormoran Bird
Bulgarian students seemed to have positive
attitudes toward the endangered species and
threatened environment. They believed in the
necessity of protecting endangered species in
order to sustain the beauty of nature, biological
diversity and natural balance. All of them were
willing to take part in the project for protecting
endangered species and threatened natural
areas since they would like to explore nature,
protect these species and regions, and ensure
their sustainability. They all agreed that the
natural resources should be carefully used,
otherwise they would disappear. Furthermore,
they agreed that everyone could do something to
protect endangered species and take part in
protection studies.
3.3. Romanian students
Romanian students did not complete the
knowledge test, and only completed the picture
form and attitude questionnaire. Only the results
from these two forms are given here. Romanian
students selected the pool frog as their
endangered species to study during the project.
Their pictures and subsequent explanations of
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
the pool frog showed that they carefully
examined this species and their characteristics.
Two of the pictures drawn by Romanian students
are given in picture 3.
They were highly concerned about natural
resources, extinction of the species, wrong
pesticide usage in the agriculture, hunting of the
animals, population growth and urbanization and
responsibilities of human being for sustaining the
biodiversity in the natural areas. They agreed
that endangered species and wild animals
should be conserved since they all contribute to
the natural balance and have their own right to
survive. They believed in the negative effects of
unplanned industry, population growth and
urbanization on endangered species and natural
regions. They emphasized the importance of
protecting natural environments, because
otherwise, they will end in the near future They
were willing to participate in the project aiming to
protect endangered species and natural habitats,
because this would makes them happy, and they
like animals and nature. Regarding their ability to
protect species and findings ways to do so, one
of the students said that “If I do something to
protect something, I feel protected too” (Daniel
T.). They believe in their own strength to protect
these species and natural regions. They agreed
that everyone on the Earth could do something
else to protect these species and regions.
3.4. American students
Picture 3. Romanian Students’ Pictures of Pool Frog
Some of the explanations of the students on
pool frog are given below;
“it is green. It can jump and swim. It has got
four legs, two eyes and long tongue. (It) eats
insects, flies and mosquitoes. It lives in water,
lakes and pools”. (Gulya I.)
“…it is endangered. It is eaten by storks and
snakes”. (Paluca V.)
“…it lives in the water, land and swamps”.
(Huszti J.)
“…it sometimes sits on the water lilies. When
it is not careful, it is caught by stork, snakes or
birds” (Koos E.)
American students believed that chopping
down trees, construction of new buildings in the
areas where these species live are the main
actions threatening the endangered species and
their natural regions. They were more concerned
about the constructions of new buildings in the
natural regions.
Similar to the students in the other three
countries, American students’ knowledge on the
number of the other endangered species and
threatened regions was limited.
TV and the school were the sources that
students identified as where they gathered most
of their own knowledge on the endangered
species and threatened regions. Books and the
project they were involved in were also rated as
information sources which contribute to their own
Students’ pictures of the monarch butterfly
indicated their knowledge of the basic
characteristics of these species. Two of
American students’ drawings of a monarch
butterfly are given in picture 4.
Some of the explanations of the students on
monarch butterfly are given below;
“It has beautiful orange wings… Their wings
can be yellow or orange”. (Annie C.)
Their concern for the endangered species
and threatened environment was quite high.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
“Their wings are yellow / orange with black on
them. They have also antenna and legs”.
(Georgia M.)
Picture 4. American Students’ Pictures of Monarch
The American students had positive attitudes
toward endangered species and threatened
regions. They all believed in protecting
endangered species since they are a part of the
ecosystem. They also reported that endangered
animals should not be hunted because they are
limited, they may be extinct in near future and
they also have rights to survive like human
beings and other organisms. They were against
using pesticides in agriculture since uncontrolled
pesticide usage may harm species and the
environment. They believed in the destructive
roles of unplanned industry, and uncontrolled
population growth and urbanization. They were
against people constructing new buildings in the
natural habitats since this would destroy the
homes of many animals. They believed in their
own abilities to protect endangered species and
threatened environments and were willing to
participate in a project aiming to protect these
species and environments. One of the students
said that “I am a girl who has a huge voice. And
can tell people what to do” (Caroline W.). The
students agreed that every individual needs to do
something to protect endangered species
because that way the Earth can be improved for
the benefit of all living things.
4. Summary and Conclusions
This comparative case-study was carried out
with eighty-nine 5th – 7th grade students in four
schools from Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, and the
USA. Within the study, students’ knowledge,
attitudes, skills and behaviours were assessed
by making use of more than one data collection
instrument. Since most of the data gathered
were qualitative in nature, the data were
subjected to content analysis. During the project,
qualitative data rather than quantitative ones
were gathered because it was believed that
understanding about students’ awareness of
environments (regions).
As far as students’ responses to the
knowledge test and their pictures were
concerned, it can be concluded that students’
identified basic characteristics of the species
they investigated. Furthermore, they reported
their knowledge of problems threatening the
species and biodiversity in the natural areas.
However, their knowledge of other endangered
species was limited. The number of the species
they reported was quite limited.
The major sources that students obtained
information about endangered species and
natural regions from where their own schools
(teachers and classroom instruction), the Unique
and Universal Project in which they were
involved and the Internet. TV and books were
more highly rated by the Bulgarian and American
students. However, these two were rated lower
by Turkish students. Family, friends and NGOs
was not highly rated as information sources by
the students. Nearly all of the students reported
that classroom instructions and activities were
seen as useful sources of information, but
textbooks were not seen as including sufficient
information about endangered species and
natural regions.
The students have positive attitudes toward
protecting endangered species and natural
regions. They believe in the importance of
protection studies to help us know how to sustain
the biodiversity in the natural ecosystem. They
are against using pesticides in agriculture for
increasing the yield. They were against
unplanned industry, population growth and
urbanization, since they believe that unplanned
development can harm the species and can
destroy animals’ homes and food sources in
natural areas. They emphasize the importance of
using natural resources cautiously since the
resources are becoming less each day. They
believe in their own ability to engage in action
and take part in projects aiming to find ways to
protect these species and natural regions. They
suggest other people also do something to
preserve the species and natural regions.
Passing new laws to protect the endangered
species and natural regions, giving fines to the
people who harm the biodiversity in the natural
region, and taking the endangered species in the
protected / special areas are seen by the
students as most effective solutions to protect
these species and natural regions. They do not
believe that not allowing people to enter these
regions is an effective solution. The results of the
study revealed the importance of field trips for
developing students’ awareness of biodiversity in
the natural region and ecosystem. Further, the
present study shows that if teachers guide
effectively during the field trips, students could
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
develop their own solutions to the problems
threatening the biodiversity in the natural
regions. The study also shows that field trips to
natural regions could develop students’
knowledge on the diversity of the species within
the selected region and understanding the
interaction among the organisms in the natural
processes. Their attitudes could also be
developed though effective field trips. For all
these reasons, field trips and outdoor studies
should be considered as extra-curricular
activities and also integrated into the school
curriculum. American students did not go to the
field trips; instead they used schoolyard for
outdoor activities. Their activities further point out
that a prototype natural habitat can be created in
the schoolyards and then these places can be
used as instructional purposes.
5. References
[1] P.D. Leedy and J.E. Ormrod, Practical
research: Planning and design (8th ed.),
Merrill & Prentice Hall, New Yersey, 2005.
[2] M.Q. Patton, How to use qualitative methods
in evaluation, In Newbury Park: CA. Sage,
[3] M.Q. Patton, Qualitative evaluation and
research methods (2nd ed.), CA. Sage,
Newbury Park, 1990.
[4] R. Yerkes and K. Haras, Outdoor Education
and Environmental Responsibility, (ED414
112, ERIC Document reproduction service),
[5] R. Howe and J. Disinger, Teaching
Environmental Education Using Out-OfSchoolSettings
ERIC/SMEAC Environmental Education
Digest Nº. 1. Washington, DC: Office of
Educational Research and Improvement
(ERIC Document Reproduction Service Nº.
ED 320 759), 1988.
[6] I.E. Palmberg and J Kuru, Outdoor Activities
as a Basis for Environmental Responsibility,
Journal of Environmental Education, 31 (4),
32-37, 2000.
Amelioration of Acidic Soils: School
Experiments with Colour Indicators
Demonstrating Cation and Anion
Exchange Effects in Acid Soils
H. Bannwarth, I.Köster and H.Theurer
Institute for Biology and Didactics
University of Cologne, Germany
Abstract. A concept has been developed of
solving theoretical problems of applied natural
sciences by means of the method of “learning by
doing” on the basis of simple lab experiments for
schools. Appropriate mixtures of brown coal ash
and flue gas desulphurisation gypsum (FGD
gypsum) were tested regarding their ability to
improve acid soils. The essential positive effects
on acid soils may also be demonstrated with
mobile lime forms like combinations of calcium
hydroxide Ca(OH)2 and calcium sulphate
The combination of both allows to improve
soils to a nearly constant pH-value of the soil
water. The ion exchanges easily can be
demonstrated by use of acid-base indicators.
The cation exchange, calcium Ca2+ against
protons H+, always leads to a decrease of the
pH-value and the anion exchange, sulphate
SO42- against hydroxide 2OH- ions to an increase
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
of the pH- value of the soil water (“Self-LimingEffect”).The pH-value always is decreased if
acidic soils are treated with neutral salts like
calcium sulphate CaSO4, because calcium
cations Ca2+ replace protons 2H from the soil
surface. In addition the exchange of anions in
acidic soils has been demonstrated by
comparing probes of humus or loam in soil
suspensions at equimolar potassium ion
concentration: c(KCl) = 1 mol L-1 and c(1/2
K2SO4) = 1 mol L-1. The decrease of the pHvalue was higher in probes with the chloride Cland lower with the sulphate SO42- salt because
sulphate SO42- anions in contrast to chloride
anions Cl- manage to replace hydroxide anions
from the soil surface as has been shown by the
use of the indicators bromic cresol green or
methyl red.
Keywords. Hands-on, Chemistry, Biology.
there is an optimum with c(HNO3) = 10 mmol L
Serious environmental problems like acidification
of soils and the forest decline have been
explained with the formation of strong acids like
Consequences may be deficiencies of minerals
like Ca2+, Mg2+ or trace elements like selenium,
molybdenum, zinc and others as a result of
acidification and elution of soils and the over
fertilization with plant available nitrogen. The
phenomenon of eutrophication of environment
which leads to a loss or decrease of biodiversity
is essentially based on an excess of plantavailable nitrogen, which results particularly from
ammonia NH3 or from nitrogen oxides.
These gases are transferred by the airway
into ecological systems and after oxidation as
nitric damage acid forest and agricultural soils
and habitats.
Between Deficiency and Abundance:
School Experiment to Demonstrate
the Ambivalence of Environmental
Relevant Compounds Like Nitric Acid
HNO3 by Demonstrating the
Concentration- Dependent Effect on
Plant Growth
H. Bannwarth
Institute for Biology and Didactics
University of Cologne, Germany
Abstract. It is a component of an environmental
educational concept to realize the fact that the
quantity constitutes the poison (Paracelsus) and
that conditions are essential. The cognition that
nitrogen, which is needed by all living organisms,
may be harmful means a cognitive conflict. The
solution of this conflict requires an appropriate
understanding of the ambivalence of compounds
and materials in the environment. In principle
they are neither utilizable substances nor
pollutants. It always depends on conditions and
circumstances. It is important for a scientific
instruction at school to realize that this can be
pointed out and confirmed by practical examples
and experiments. For instance it may be shown
that the resulting effect of the addition of nitric
acid HNO3 to cultures of germinating cress
seedlings depends on the quantity, that too much
or too little may be disadvantageous and that
Figure 1. Effects of nitric acid HNO3 on germinating cress
seedlings: From left to right: Plants after application of
tap-water, 1 mmol L HNO3, 10 mmol L HNO3, 100 mmol
L HNO3 and finally 1 mol L HNO3
The optimum is near the concentration of 10
mmol L-1 HNO3. Upper row: cress seedlings
growing on sandy soil. The row below: the same
on a loess - loamy soil.
Keywords. Hands-on, Chemistry, Biology.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Experimental Contribution to Climate
Protection: Attempts and Problems
with the CO2-Capture by Ammonia
H. Bannwarth
Institute for Biology and Didactics
University of Cologne, Germany
H2SO4 and the formation of ammonium sulphate
(NH4)2SO4.This salt can be decomposed by heat
into ammonia NH3 and sulphuric acid H2SO4.
Both products may be recycled into the proposed
Keywords. Hands-on, Chemistry, Biology.
Abstract. The climatic topic moved into the
foreground of public and scientific interest.
Because of the fact that fossil fuels, above all
coal and natural gas, are indispensable sources
of energy, all efforts arrange themselves on
realizing the CO2- free power station in future.
CCS (Carbon-Capture-Storage) - power stations
which bind the CO2 from the flue gases and
dispose it into the underground are favoured as
future model and tested intensively. If school
wants to participate in problem solutions it is
interesting to ask how carbon dioxide CO2 can
be fixed from the incineration gases. For this aim
simple concepts and model experiments are
Figure 1: Approach of combination of carbon dioxide
CO2 with ammonia NH3 in the presence of water H2O.
The question was: Is it possible to get crystalline
ammonium carbonate (NH4)2CO3 salt, which can be
precipitated and transported? The answer is that it is not
so easy, since water is needed for the reaction
The main target is to learn a responsible
human acting in relation to environment and
climate. In this context the question arises, why
one cannot capture the CO2 with ammonia NH3
under production of ammonium carbonate
(NH4)2CO3 as a solid salt. Therefore it was
examined whether ammonia forms the solid salt
ammonium carbonate together with water and
carbon dioxide by the reaction: 2NH3 + H2O +
CO2(NH4)2CO3 or 2NH4OH + CO2 (NH4)2CO3 +
H2O. For these reactions water molecules are
required in stoichiometric quantities. The
technical implications how water may be applied
in an appropriate form are discussed. Is it for
example possible to eliminate CO2 from flue gas
with dispersed saturated ammonia solutions in
water? According to this concept clean CO2 may
be set free from the ammonium carbonate
(NH4)2CO3 salt by the addition of sulphuric acid
Respiration and Photosynthesis in
Context: Experiments Demonstrating
Relationship between the Two
Physiological Processes
H. Bannwarth
Institute for Biology and Didactics
University of Cologne, Germany
Abstract. Plants are living organisms. But this
fact is not so easy to recognize, because plant
life cannot be seen by the naked eye and takes
place in the secret. How can one find out for
instance that there is life into branches or roots?
This will be shown to children by simple
experiments with the indicator bromthymol blue,
which changes the colour from blue to yellow
within one hour during respiration. Additionally to
the use of indicators the fact that respiration and
photosynthesis are opposite physiological
processes can be demonstrated by an
experiment measuring the electric potential
between the respiration of peas and the
photosynthesis of aquatic plants (Elodea
canadensis) connected together with a voltmeter.
The oxygen consumption during respiration
develops a minus (-) pole and the oxygen
production during photosynthesis a plus (+) pole.
The context of respiration and photosynthesis
was extended on the basis of other biological
examples: respiration and photosynthesis in
ecological systems, in a plant cell, in lichens, in
plant galls and in leafs of horse-chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum) after infestation with
larvae of the moth Cameraria ohridella. The
structural and the functional aspects of the
photosynthesis have been introduced by the
comparison of branches with crust pores
(“lenticells”) on the surface like elder
(Sambucus), hazel (Corylus) or golden bell
(Forsythia) with green branches of such shrubs
which do not have crust pores (Kerria japonica,
rose or bamboo). In the first case branches take
up the oxygen for respiration by the pores and in
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
the second case the oxygen is supplied by
photosynthesis of the green parts of the plant.
Keywords. Hands-on, Chemistry, Biology.
1. Introduction
Figure 1. Relationships concerning structure and
function of photosynthesis and respiration. Green
branch pieces without crust pores (“lenticells”) of Jews
mantle (Kerria japonica), left, or Rose (Rosa spp.), right,
were compared with grey or brown pieces of branch of
Golden Bell (Forsythia spp.), left, or Black Elder
(Sambucus nigra), right, with crust pores (“lenticells”). In
every case the green photosynthesizing plant parts had
no crust pores while the respirating parts showed a lot of
“lenticels” (Table1)
Figure 2. Photosynthesis and respiration in context
Photosynthesis and respiration represent chains of
redox – reactions in a steady state or in a dynamic
equilibrium running in opposite directions. During
photosynthesis carbon, nitrogen and sulphur are
reduced and acid (H+-ions) are consumed. During
respiration carbon, nitrogen and sulphur are oxidized an
acid is produced. This leads to an acidification of the
environment. Burning augment this process. This means
that burning should be reduced and photosynthesis
reinforced by human actions
The most important metabolic processes in
photosynthesis (Bannwarth and Kremer, 2008).
Both are interconnected in many ways (Figure
2). In a single plant cell, in lichens (Figure 10), in
plant galls (Figure 11), in natural habitats and in
ecosystems they are united in complex biological
systems. At school photosynthesis and
respiration often are taught separately. But on
the other hand they belong together and one
should not forget that they are correlated. The
emergence concept of modern biology means
that the whole, intact and complete system is
more than the sum of the parts. From these
photosynthesis and respiration should be
introduced in context (Bannwarth et al., 2007).
This may be done in schools with the classic
Priestley-experiment, but the problem is, that this
experiment cannot be carried out in schools
because one should not let die animals by this
way (Figure 9).
On the other hand animals are able to
dissimilate and plants to assimilate in different
separate organisms in natural habitats. In
addition photosynthesis and respiration are
opposite physiological pathways separated in
isolated compartments like chloroplasts and
mitochondria and maintain a metabolic
equilibrium in a steady state in a plant cell.
Chloroplasts and mitochondria have common
features according to the endosymbiotic theory of
evolution. They are surrounded by a double
membrane layer and are able to synthesize ATP
using a proton gradient after accumulation of
protons between these two membranes
according the concept of Peter Mitchell (Figure
7). Halobacteria similarly transport protons
outside the outer cell membrane comparable to
chloroplasts and mitochondria. This outer
membrane corresponds to the inner membrane
of chloroplasts and mitochondria (Figure 8).
We will present here an experiment showing
the decrease of the pH - value in the surrounding
medium when halobacteria are exposed to light.
The acidification is due to the light driven proton
transport from inside to outside.
Both physiological processes, photosynthesis
and respiration, are not visible and only in the
rarest cases detectable by our senses. The
physiology knows however informative and
elucidating experiments, which permit to make
important aspects of such life procedures visible.
Since photosynthesis and respiration both are
opposite pathways their effects may be
compensated in some situations. In this case
one cannot expect to detect any change of an
indicator colour in the surrounding medium of a
water plant. Alternatively photosynthesis and
respiration can easily be studied together in a
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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combination of a photosynthesizing O2
producing system with an O2 consuming system
(Figure 6) by a simple experiment measuring the
electric potential between both (Bannwarth and
Kremer, 2007)
Figure 3. Respiration of plants. The production of acid
(Figure 2) during respiration can be demonstrated by the
use of indicators. For instance bromthymol blue changes
the colour from blue to yellow
2.1.1. Respiration
process of life
Figure 5. Roots: Respiration and cation exchange.
Respiration of roots with and without the addition of
gypsum CaSO4.During respiration the pH value is
decreased since carbonic acid CO2 or H2CO3 is
produced. This decrease is indicated by the change of
the colour of the indicator. It is faster in the presence of
CaSO4.This is due to the exchange of Ca2+-ions against
H+-ions or protons by the plant roots
Figure 4. Photosynthesis of plants. The consumption of
acid during photosynthesis of plants can also be
demonstrated by the use of the same indicator. But in
this case the colour of bromthymol blue changes from
yellow to blue in the presence of light
2. Methodology
Results may be obtained by experimenting,
by observing, comparing and combining. At first
some experimental approaches will be presented
and later on further expanding aspects will be
included into the consideration in order to
elucidate the importance and advantage of the
view of seeing photosynthesis and respiration in
Figure 6. Photosynthesis and Respiration
interconnected: Electric potential measurement.
Experimental combination of photosynthesis (left) with
respiration (right).Photosynthesizing water plants
produce oxygen O2 and respirating peas consume
oxygen O2. By this reason on the left side a plus pole
and on the right side a minus pole is developed
Questions: How can one show that something
lives? Is there for instance life in branch pieces
of shrubs in the winter time (Figure 1)? Do plant
roots live (Figure 5)? Material: 2 measuring
cylinders 250 ml - Erlenmeyer flasks, 50 ml and
250 ml - Short test tubes – Drinking straw.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
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Chemicals: 1 L of saturated gypsum (calcium
sulphate CaSO4) solution coloured with
bromthymol blue (0.1% in 20% ethanol) or
phenolphthalein (1% in ethanol): Adjust the pH
value with a NaOH-solution, c(NaOH) = 0,01 mol
L-1, in such a way that the colour change takes
place immediately from yellow to blue or from red
to colourless with minimal acid addition.
Therefore solutions should be added drop by
Test objects: Roots of the wild flower plants
from gardens, tufts of grass, Petty Spurge
(Mercurialis annua). The plants are loosened
with root with the help of a small grave shovel
carefully from the ground and washed off
afterwards with tap water. - Finger-long grey,
brown or red branch pieces of Black Elder
(Sambucus nigra), Red Dogwood (Cornus
sanguinea) with crust pores (“lenticells”) as well
as green branch pieces of Golden Bell (Forsythia
spp.), Jews mantle (Kerria japonica), Blackberry
(Rubus fruticosus) or Rose (Rosa spp.) without
crust pores (“lenticells”).
All branch pieces were well washed with tapwater before the experiment.
Procedure: The plants are given to the
measuring cylinder filled with test solution with
their roots. The branch pieces are also placed in
test tubes with test solution. A measuring
cylinder with test solution without plants serves
as control. One also can place recognizably dead
branch pieces or roots into the solutions for
The results with the branch pieces are noted
in a table, where the colour of the branches, the
occurrence of crust pores or “lenticells” and the
time until colour change is registered.
Subsequently, one can give the comparison
solutions in Erlenmeyer flasks and blow with the
help of a drinking straw carefully to exhaust
bubbles into the solutions (Figure 1).
2.1.2. Respiration and
cycle as in nature
Question: Respiration and photosynthesis are
the most important physiological life processes in
nature. They are opposite running pathways, so
that they can be joined to a cycle (Figure 2).
Thus oxidants (O2) are consumed by respiration
and set free again by photosynthesis. The
opposite direction of both processes may be
demonstrated by indicator changes or with the
help of a potential measurement in the following
experiment. How may be demonstrated in a
model experiment based on the consumption
and formation of oxidizing agents (oxygen O2)
that respiration and photosynthesis are included
in a natural cycle (Figure 6)?
Figure 7. Chloroplasts and mitochondria: Compartments
and ATP synthesis. Protons are pumped by the kinetic
energy of the moved electrons into the gap between the
two membranes (lumen of the thylacoids) in chloroplasts
and in mitochondria and cannot be detected therefore in
the external medium. This can be done with halobacteria.
During the reflux of protons ATP is synthesized
according to the chemiosmotic theory
Figure 8. Halobacteria: Light driven proton transport.
Under the effect of the light electrons are moved. With
the kinetic energy of electrons protons are exported from
the cells of the halobacteria (light - driven proton
transport).Thus the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+ions) rises in the medium and the pH value decreases.
During the reflux of protons ATP is synthesized (left).
The light driven proton transport in halobacteria
corresponds to the light driven proton transport in
chloroplasts in eukaryotic plants. The pH value drops
slightly with illumination of the culture containing
halobacteria in the course of 1 hour (right)
Material: Voltmeter - Measuring clips (alligator
clips) with cables - U-bend with porous glass -frit
- Graphite electrodes - Lamp (200-250 Watts).
Chemicals: Sulphate - rich mineral water
(mineral water).
Test objects: For respiration: germinated
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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seeds, e.g. peas (Pisum sativum) in mineral
waters or alternatively yeast suspension
(Saccharomyces cerevisiae) in glucose solution
(1%). For photosynthesis: Aquatic plant, e.g.
Canadian waterweed (Elodea spp.) in mineral
Procedure: Respiration is prepared in the left
part of the U-bend, photosynthesis in the right
part. Connect the voltmeter and note the voltage
levels. After 10 min the photosynthesis is started
by exposition with the light of a lamp.
Leybold,Hürth,Germany) - 250 ml Erlenmeyer
flasks – graduate measuring pipette 5 and 10 ml.
Chemicals: 1L saline solution, c(NaCl) = 4
mol L-1.
Test objects: Suspension culture of
halobacteria (Halobacterium halobium) in 4 mol
L-1 solution of common salt NaCl or alternatively
suspension culture of blue bacteria
(blue-green “algae “, cyanobacteria) in tap water. Procurement reference: One may get
Halobacteria from journeys to salt lakes (e.g.
Dead Sea), but also from research institutes
(look into the Internet).
Procedure: As much material is given with a
pipette from the halobacteria stock culture to an
Erlenmeyer flask filled with saline solution that
straight all light is absorbed. The cells from
halobacteria are illuminated with a lamp. The pH
value is measured in the medium by an electrode
connected with an instrument for graphical
registration. The measured values are noted and
the measuring curve is projected to the wall
(Figure 8).
Figure 9. Priestley-experiment. Joseph Priestley (1733 1804) described the dependency of animal life from plant
metabolism by simple experiments. This experiment is
often used in schools for the introduction of the
relationship of photosynthesis and respiration in order to
clarify the dependency of heterotrophic animals and
autotrophic plants from each other. The disadvantage of
this approach according to Priestley is that this
experiment cannot be carried out in schools.
(see the text)
2.1.3. Sun and life: light driven
transport by halo bacteria
Question: Life needs necessarily energy of
the sun. This energy is first taken up by plants.
The primary step is the transformation of light
energy into electric energy in certain
biomembranes, which contain photoreceptors
(e.g. chlorophyll). The moved electrons provide
the operating proton pumps with energy. By this
light-driven proton transport H -ions are
transported outward into the surrounding
medium. The resulting proton gradient at the
external membranes is used to synthesize ATP
(chemiosmosis). How can the light driven proton
export in the external medium be experimentally
Material: pH value measuring instrument with
electrode for automatic recording (e.g. Cassy
Figure 10. Lichens - symbiosis between alga and fungus.
The heterotrophic organism in this case is the fungus
which provides carbon dioxide and obtains vice versa
oxygen and organic compounds from the autotrophic
alga. The alga on the other hand is protected by the
fungus by retaining water and keeping wet.
Photosynthesis of algae and respiration of fungus are
integrated in a living system
3. Results
3.1. Experiments
3.1.1. Respiration
process of life
Observation: Within 1 h, often already after
approximately 20 min, it may be observed a clear
colour change of blue to yellow with bromthymol
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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blue and of red to colourless with
phenolphthalein in direct proximity of the roots or
the branch pieces. With the green branches
(Jews mantle, Rose or Blackberry) the colour
change takes place later than with branches with
“lenticells”. The colour change is substantially
faster, if one gives breathing air with a drinking
straw to the solutions.
Explanation: In all cases acid is excreted over
the surface by the living plant parts.
To a large extent this is due to carbonic acid
or carbon dioxide, which is set free by the
respiration. Additionally in the calcium sulphate
solutions Ca2+ -ions were exchanged against H+ions. Thus the colour change takes place more
rapidly in solutions with calcium sulphate salt
(Fig5).The green branches produce fewer carbon
dioxide (CO2) quantities than the branches with
crust pores. Partially photosynthesis may
compensate the respiration effect. The crust
pores (“lenticells”) are to be interpreted as
structures in connection with the respiration and
relationships in biology). As respiration and ion
exchange are physiological processes, these
experiments are suitable for the demonstration of
life phenomena. The experiment with the
exhausted air bubbles points out the comparison
of human respiration with the respiration of plants
and underlines the importance of the respiration
for all organisms including humans.
3.1.2. Respiration and photosynthesis:
cycle like in nature
Observation: It is recognizable from the
course of the curve that under illumination the pH
value drops slightly within 1 hour.
Explanation: Under the influence of light
electrons are moved (see solar - pocket
calculators). With the kinetic energy of the
electrons protons from the cells of the
halobacteria are exported (light - driven proton
transport).Thus the concentration of hydrogen
ions (H+ -ions) rises in the medium and the pH
value decreases (Figure 8). It may be of interest
to emphasize that the pH value in the external
medium rises with the photosynthesis of
eukaryotic green plants and algae in contrast to
the situation of halobacteria because of the
consumption of carbon dioxide or carbonic acid
and other acids. On the other hand in eukaryotic
plants the light driven proton transport in
chloroplasts corresponds to the light driven
proton transport in halobacteria. In chloroplasts
the protons are pumped into the gap between
the two membranes (lumen of the thylacoids)
and therefore cannot be proven in the external
Observation: An electric potential is to be
determined between both sides, which increases
due to the living processes of the participating
organisms during the experiment. When
photosynthesis is started a clearly stronger
change of the measured electric potential is
Explanation: The oxygen on both sides is
differently used by the respiration. Therefore the
output potential begins to change. When
photosynthesis is started oxygen is produced, so
that on the side of the photosynthesis a positive
pole develops. In the respiration part the oxygen
dissolved in the water is consumed. This may be
the onset of fermentation and perhaps even
reducing agents (H2S, NH3) may appear. Thus a
negative pole forms. The changes of the
potential are therefore direct consequences of
physiological events. They are based on
physiological processes such as oxygen
consumption and oxygen production (Figure 6).
3.1.3. Sun and life: light driven
transport by halo bacteria
Figure 11. Plant galls - cooperating organisms. The
advantage is clearly on the side of the insect larva. It is
uncertain that the tree leaf profits from hosting the
insect. But it should be emphasized that this is not a
parasitic relationship because the insect larva does not
normally damage the leaf of the tree. Moreover the plant
offers all the animal needs for life and development. This
situation is completely different from a parasitic
relationship, especially since the plant supports and
sustains the foreign animal organism and does not
attack it. In this case plant photosynthesis and animal
respiration are integrated in an emergent biological
4.1. Discussion: comparison and
The relationship of photosynthesis and
respiration is introduced in school books by the
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
well known Priestley experiment (Figure 9). Here
a new approach arising from a direct observation
on the living object is offered. The comparison of
branches with and without crust pores and the
colours of the epidermis lead to a better
understanding of structure-function relationships
of plant surfaces adapted to photosynthesis or
respiration (Tab.1). In most cases the green
branches of shrubs did not have crust pores and
in contrast to this observation crust pores
occurred on brown, red or grey coloured
branches. The conclusion is that green parts
maintain photosynthesis and obtain the oxygen
by this way and that the others get the oxygen
through the crust pores from the air.
a minus (-) pole and the oxygen production
during photosynthesis a plus (+) pole (Figure 6).
The context of respiration and photosynthesis
may be extended on the basis of other biological
examples: respiration and photosynthesis in
ecological systems (Figure 2), in a plant cell
(Figure 7), in lichens (Figure 10), in plant galls
and in leafs of horse-chestnut (Aesculus
hippocastanum) after infestation with larvae of
the moth Cameraria ohridella. These examples
show clearly the photosynthesis and respiration
in context in addition to well known experiments
with plants and other organisms (Beller,1985;
5. Conclusions
1. Instructions
respiration can be combined by simple
2. By these experiments it could be clarified that
both are opposite physiological processes.
3. The idea of emergency in the modern natural
sciences is promoted by the concept of
regarding photosynthesis and respiration in
4. Structure-function-relations of photosynthesis
and respiration may be better understood by a
common treatment.
5. The inclusion of chemical and physical
aspects into a new concept of emergence may
favour the biological understanding.
Table1. Survey of properties of selected shrub branches
with and without crust pores. The table demonstrates,
that objects without crust pores have a green surface
and should be able to perform photosynthesis and to
produce oxygen O2.The others which are not green
show crust pores. In this case the oxygen is taken up by
the pores from the surrounding air
The fact that respiration and photosynthesis
are opposite physiological processes can be
demonstrated by simple experiments with the
indicator bromthymol blue (Figure 3, 4, 5).
In our hands it changes the colour from blue
to yellow within 1 hour during respiration of whole
plants or plant roots (Figure 5). One can
accelerate this change by the addition of calcium
sulphate CaSO4 because of cation exchanges
between the plant surface and the medium. The
opposite colour change from yellow to blue
occurs when plants perform photosynthesis
(Figure 4).
In addition to the use of indicators the electric
potential between respirating peas and
photosynthesizing aquatic plants (Elodea
canadensis) was measured with a voltmeter. The
oxygen consumption during respiration develops
6. References
[1] H. Bannwarth, B.P. Kremer and Vom
Stoffaufbau zum Stoffwechsel, Schneider
[2] H. Bannwarth, B.P. Kremer and A. Schulz,
Basiswissen Physik, Chemie und Biochemie.
Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2007.
[3] H. Bannwarth and B.P. Kremer, Pflanzen in
Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler, 2008.
[4] J. Beller, Experimenting with plants Projects
for Home, Garden and Classroom. Arco
Publishing, New York, 1985.
[5] R. Prat, Expérimentation en Biologie et
Physiologie Végétale. Hermann Editeurs,
Paris, 2007.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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The Use of Everyday Life Problems in
Secondary Education:
How to Boil an Egg
P. Lamprini1, P. Dimiriatis1, E. Kyriaki2
and M. Dimitra1
Experimental School of University of Athens,
The Greek Gymnasium Lyceum of Brussels,
labpapa@primedu.uoa.gr, pdimitr@primedu.uoa.gr,
Abstract. The main didactic aim is the
understanding of scientific concepts by
secondary level pupils. Working with household
applications provides a way to our students to
processes and scientific methods from an early
Problem-solving processes are related, most
of the times, to modelling processes. A proper
model of a physical system must be simplified,
so it can be understood by our pupils.
Nevertheless, the model must maintain the basic
characteristics of the physical system. Questions
given to the pupils should require their full
attention to the experimental process. At the end
of the experiment they must be in the position to
check if their answers correspond with the
results of the experiment. Therefore, questions
related to everyday life activities help the pupils
in learning to apply scientific laws and
procedures in different situations.
Keywords. Everyday life, Hands-on.
How long does it take to boil an egg?
To answer that is not so simple. The answer
depends on:
dissemination to the interior of the egg (heat
conductivity of the egg)
The chemical structure of the egg
The relationship between the temperature
and the structure of the protein of the egg.
We give a fairly simple model of the egg to the
pupils in order to inspire them to work with:
• Modelling of physical systems
• The theory related to the experiment
Comparison of the theoretical prediction with
the experimental data
Calculations and diagrams
The New Technologies
We simplify the geometry of the egg (we
consider it to have a cubic shape) and we make
certain assumptions about the egg’s density and
thermo physical properties. In such a way, we
end up with a fairly simple mathematical formula.
The formula refers to the change of the egg’s
structure according to the temperature’s change
in the interior of the egg placed in boiling water.
The outcome is the graph of the temperature
inside the egg versus the time. The graph is
plotted automatically on the computer screen
using temperature sensors. The pupils compare
the experimental data with the theoretical
We formed two groups: a control group and
an experimentation group. Both groups were
taught the theory of thermo dynamics, but only
the experimentation group carried out the small
experimental activities we designed: boiling eggs
in water. During the experimental procedures
pupils in the experimentation group solved all
kinds of practical-technical problems.
At the end of the school year we gave a test
to both of the groups. The results were
encouraging. Carrying out experiments like the
one described in this paper, has raised the
interest and led to better results for our students.
The work will be continued the next school year.
2. Design and procedure
1. Introduction
The question to the
analyzed in this paper is:
Experiments that demonstrate basic laws of
physics, using household items, have certain
advantages. Students become familiar with the
process of simplification of the everyday life
problems. The purpose here is that our
secondary level pupils develop the ability to
choose the characteristics of the real
phenomenon which are necessary in the
simplified model. The initial formulation of the
problem could be as following: ”Place an egg
mass M in the boiling water at a temperature
Θwater (which remains stable). How is the
temperature inside the egg changing?”
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
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We consider the following assumptions:
1. The material of the shell of an egg is
homogeneous with a density of ρ, specific heat c
and thermal conductivity k.
2. The egg is a cube. It is placed in boiling water.
The heat from the boiling water spreads to the
interior of the egg by its six sides of length L
(simplification of the geometry of the egg).
3. The egg is in thermal equilibrium with the
environment (i.e. the interior of a refrigerator or
the room). Initially all its mass is in temperature
Θegg .
4. Within a time interval τ, heat amount Q is
transferred from the environment (boiling water)
to the interior of the egg. The temperature inside
the egg grows and reaches in the centre of the
egg the value Θyolk
3. Applying the Physics laws
We assume that the final temperature of the
whole egg is equal to the temperature of boiling
water. The relationship between heat and
temperature change is:
Q = M ⋅ c ⋅ (Θwater − Θegg )
We apply the Fourier law of conduction. It
states that the rate of heat flow, ∆Q/∆t, through a
homogenous solid is directly proportional to the
area, A, of the section at right angles to the
direction of heat flow, and to the temperature
difference along the path of the heat flow,
⎜ θwater − θyolk ⎟
Q ∆Q
= k ⋅⎜
θwater − θyolk
4. Hypothesis
Assuming that the rate of heat transfer is
stable, we can write:
⎜ (Θ
- Θ egg ) ⎟
⎛ 1 ⎞ ⎛ M.c ⎞ ⎜
τ = ⎜ ⎟⋅⎜
⎝ 12 ⎠ ⎝ k ⋅ L ⎠ ⎜ ⎛
⎜⎜ ⎜ Θ water - Θ
⎟ ⎟⎟
yolk ⎠ ⎠
At the equation above we replace the
quantity: (mass) with: ((density) *(Volume)).
⎜ (Θ
- Θ egg ) ⎟
⎛ 1 ⎞ ⎛⎛ ρ ⋅ C ⎞ 2 ⎞ ⎜
τ = ⎜ ⎟ ⋅ ⎜⎜
⎟ ⋅L ⎟ ⋅⎜
⎝ ⎠ ⎝⎝
⎜⎜ ⎜ Θ water - Θ
⎟ ⎟⎟
yolk ⎠ ⎠
In other words, the time required to reach the
egg a certain temperature depends on:
• The initial Θegg and the final temperature of the
egg Θyolk
• The temperature of the boiling water.
• One of the basic quantities in Thermodynamics:
the thermal diffusivity
α =
The thermal diffusivity α is expressed by the ratio
of k, the coefficient of thermal conductivity, over
the product of the density times the specific heat
(ρC). Substances with high thermal diffusivity
rapidly adjust their temperature to that of their
surroundings, because they conduct heat quickly
and they don’t need a lot of heat to adjust to this
temperature. This quantity is almost the same for
all eggs.
• The geometric characteristics of the egg. The
assumption here is that the egg has cubic shape.
This is we multiply with the 1/6.
• The dimensions of the egg. We consider that
the cross section A is proportional to L2. So for
two eggs of different sizes i.e. L1 and L2:
⎜ (Θ
- Θ egg ) ⎟
⎞ ⎜
⎛ 1 ⎞ ⎛⎛ ρ ⋅ C ⎞
τ1 = ⎜ ⎟ ⋅ ⎜ ⎜
⎟ ⋅ L1 ⎟ ⋅ ⎜
⎝ ⎠ ⎝⎝
⎜⎜ ⎜ Θ water - Θ ⎟ ⎟⎟
yolk ⎠ ⎠
⎜ (Θ
- Θ egg ) ⎟
⎛ 1 ⎞ ⎛⎛ ρ ⋅ C ⎞ 2 ⎞ ⎜
τ2 = ⎜ ⎟ ⋅ ⎜ ⎜
⎟ ⋅ L2 ⎟ ⋅ ⎜
⎝ 12 ⎠ ⎝ ⎝ k ⎠
⎠ ⎛Θ
⎜⎜ ⎜ water - Θ ⎟ ⎟⎟
yolk ⎠ ⎠
τ1 L21
τ 2 L22
Note: In the equation above, we consider that
the internal temperature of the eggs is the same.
We try to get our pupils familiar with the test
of the assumptions in Science. In the process of
stating the main hypothesis of the work
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
presented here, we had to make different
assumptions. For example one assumption is:
“All eggs have approximately the same
To verify the above assumption the pupils:
• Designed small experiments to test the
• Carried out the measurements.
• In the process, they have used eggs of
different size.
To verify equation (3) we should measure the
time intervals needed for the temperature inside
two different eggs to reach a certain value.
The experiment was repeated for different
values of the temperature θegg. By observing the
chart our pupils completed the list of the time
intervals for different values of the temperature
Θyolk. They used spread sheets to write down the
measurements and calculate the ratio. They
came to the conclusion that regardless the yolk
temperature the two ratios are equal.
A survey was carried out in the Experimental
School of the University of Athens. 44 pupils took
part, at the age of 14. They separated into two
equal groups. The first group was the
experimentation group and the other the control
group. All pupils were taught by the same
teacher the thermal phenomena included in the
curriculum of the Greek Gymnasium (lower
secondary level). In addition, the pupils of the
experimental group carried out all the activities
described above, in the laboratory. The pupils of
the control group carried out the conventional
experiments. Two months later all pupils were
given a test. They were asked to solve problems
referring to thermal phenomena. (See Annex)
5. The results
Figure 1
The temperature inside the egg is measured
by a temperature sensor (Figure 1). We take the
graph of temperature inside the egg versus the
time on the computer screen, by the appropriate
software (Coach 5 CMA). Using two temperature
sensors we can measure simultaneously the
temperatures within two eggs of different size
which originally had the same temperature
(Θegg). Then, we get the two graphs together
(Figure 2)
The results are indicated in the histogram (Figure
First conclusion: “The pupils of the experimental
group tried to relate the problem with the “egg
problem” in more than 50%”
Second conclusion: “A significant percentage of
the pupils of the experimental group succeeded
in creating a model and find the similarities with
the ‘egg problem’”. On the contrary, the pupils of
the control group answered arbitrarily.
Figure 3
Figure 2
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
6. Conclusion
The results are encouraging. They show that
pupils of the lower secondary level can develop
abilities of problem solving and modelling
through experimental processes which refer to
household phenomena. The program will be
implemented the next school years to increase
the statistical sample.
7. Prospects-Proposals
Working with household applications provides
a way to our students to become accustomed to
methods from an early age. We think that it
would be useful to teach similar to the “egg
problem” applications in the Science class,
introducing scientific concepts through them.
Moreover, we must try to create simplified
models of the phenomena and work following the
steps of the scientific method.
8. Thanks
We would like to thank Mr. P. Lykoudis,
Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering and
former Dean of the University of Purdue U.S. for
his help in simplifying the “problem of egg”.
9. Annex
Studding the problem concerning the time it
takes to boil an egg we reached the conclusion
that the time to boil an egg depends on the size
of the egg, the initial temperature and the final
temperature. The equation is:
⎜ (Θ
- Θ egg ) ⎟
⎛ 1 ⎞ ⎛ M.c ⎞ ⎜
τ = ⎜ ⎟⋅⎜
⎝ ⎠ ⎝
⎠ ⎛
⎜⎜ ⎜ Θ water - Θ ⎟ ⎟⎟
yolk ⎠ ⎠
M is the mass of the egg
C is the specific heat of the egg
k is the coefficient of thermal conductivity
L is the diameter of the egg.
Θegg is the initial temperature of the egg
Θwater is the temperature of the environment
Θyolk is the final temperature of the yolk
10. The worksheet of an Application
A warm summer day Tina went with her
parents, her brother George and her sister Helen
an excursion to the mountain. Her mother used
two thermal insulation cube-shaped containers.
The volume of the first was (40cm)3 and of the
second (80cm)3. In the first she placed icy soft
drinks and in the second, water.
Initially, the temperature inside both boxes
was 5 οC. The first box had a thermometer inside
to measure the temperature.
Three hours after they arrived at the top of the
mountain, George felt thirsty and opened the first
box to get a drink. He saw that the temperature
inside the box was now 25 οC
He wanted to find the temperature inside the
other box and asked to open and place the
thermometer inside.
Helen recalled the “problem of egg” and
claimed that she could calculate the temperature
of the second box without opening it. George, on
the other hand, argued that only by using a
thermometer they could find the temperature
inside the box.
A. Do you agree with Helen?
Absolutely False 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Absolutely True
B. Do you agree with George?
Absolutely False 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Absolutely True
C. In the relationship (1) can you find the
respective values of the physical quantities for
the first box?
D. In the relationship (1) can you find the
respective values of the physical quantities for
the second box?
E. Calculate the temperature inside the second
11. References
[1] De Kleer I. and Brown I., Assumptions and
ambiguities in mechanistic mental models. In
D. Gentner and A. Stevens (Eds) Mental
Models. 155-190, 1983.
[2] Driver R., Squires A. and Rushworth P.,
Wood-Rοbinson V., «Οικο-∆οµώντας τις
έννοιες των Φυσικών Επιστηµών, Μια
παγκόσµια σύνοψη των ιδεών των
µαθητών», Επιµέλεια – πρόλογος: Κόκοτας
Π., Μετάφ.: Χατζή Μ., Εκδόσεις: Τυπωθήτω,
∆άρδανος Γ., Αθήνα, 2000.
[3] Duit R., Research on students’ conceptions
developments and trends, 1993.
[4] Frey Karl, Η., Μέθοδος Project. Proceedings
of 3 International seminar on misconceptions
and Educational strategies in science and
Mathematics Cornel University, Ithaca, NY,
[5] Tolman, E.C., Principles of purposive
behaviour. In S. Koch (Ed), Psychology: A
study of a science. Vol. 2., N.Y: McGraw-Hill,
[6] Wertheimer, M., Productive thinking, N. York:
Harper & Row, 1945.
[7] http://newton.ex.ac.uk/teaching/CDHW/egg/
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
[8] P Roura et al., How long does it take to boil
an egg? A simple approach to the energy
transfer equation, Eur. J. Phys. 21 95-100,
[9] Βοσνιάδου, Σ., Brewer, W., F., “Θεωρίες
αναδιοργάνωσης της γνώσης κατά τη
Εκπαίδευση, τχ. 34, σσ.35-45.
issues of the script. We argue and evaluate
these activity and we point out their potentialities
such as for the effectiveness as instruments of
learning in the conception of the hands-on
science philosophy.
Conservation of Energy Activity in a
High School Classroom
Science Communication:
Science is Everywhere but Where?
A.S. Chaves, A.L. Fernandes Marques
and V. Fortes de Castro
Universidade Federal de Itajubá, Brazil
S. Gelmez
Middle East Technical University, Faculty of
Education, Educational Sciences Department,
Curriculum and Instruction, 06531, ANKARA
as.chaves@terra.com.br, amarques@unifei.edu.br,
Abstract. The discipline of Learning Practices IV
(Fis.416), from teacher education undergraduate
in Physics course of the Federal University of
Itajubá, Brazil, aim to bring High School students
to the concepts physics through experimental
activities. The goal is to develop experiments of
which energy conservation is investigated, and
for such experiments materials at low cost or
recyclable are used. The experiment was worked
out by undergraduate students as an activity of
Fis.416 discipline under the teacher supervision.
The activity was presented to the colleges and
applied to students in a High School class. The
goal of our work was clarify the connection
between kinetic and potential energies by
analyzing the trajectory of an object throughout a
path to be determined. After approval, the
experiment was presented at State School
Marquês de Sapucaí in Delfim Moreira city, near
Itajubá. The activity was to High School last
year’s student. The students were spited into five
teams. By using the script of the experiment,
they had to mount and develop the proposed
activity. The undergraduate students made a
theoretical explanation about energy and its
conservation before the experimental activity
implementation, in order to allow to the High
School students a better understanding of the
proposal. Each team mounted their experiment
and the doubts had been resolved by the
undergraduate students and by the teacher's
High School classroom. At the end of the activity
each team presented its results. A final
questionnaire was proposed to the High School
students in order to evaluate the learning of the
concepts discussed in the experiment. In this
work we present the script used in the activity as
well as the responses of High School students´
Keywords. Experiments, Energy Conservation,
High School's classroom.
Abstract. The main purpose of this article is to
discuss the effect of science and to suggest
ways to bridging the gap between science and
society. Because one of the aims of science
communication, which is very crucial but not well
conducted, is to make science understandable
and enjoyable to public. The main question rises
at that time: How well is science communicated
to the public? From starting our earlier ages
science seems something very apart from our
lives. This even continues in the older ages. In
schools instruction is generally used to transport
the knowledge. The main purpose of science
education does not seem to grow up individuals
that enjoy with the impact of science in life. So,
what is ‘science’, why does it have such a
dramatic influence on our lives? According to
Friedman et al. 1986, science comprises not only
the biological, life, and physical sciences but also
social and behavioural sciences and such
applied fields as medicine, environmental
sciences, technology, and engineering. But how
science is so far away from our lives while it is
broadly inside our lives? CIBA Foundation
Conference (1987) which is related to
Communicating Science to the Public, mentions
about this subject: “People go to Science
Museums, Centres, zoos and watch science
programmes on TV to satisfy their curiosity. This
is the primal motive. They are not generally
interested in science as a formal discipline.” This
can be emerged from not being informed on the
effect of sciences in universe, in the country,
even in our lives.
In this article, alternative ways were
discussed in the light of recent literature to
promote a better understanding and impact of
science and science communication.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Keywords. Science, Science Communication,
1. Introduction
The main purpose of this study is to assess
the effect of science communication on building
scientific awareness in the society and suggest
ways to bridge the gap between science and
society as one of the aims of science
communication is to make science enjoyable and
exciting to public.
schools, it is generally more important to
transport pure knowledge, rather than linking
science with real lives. The main purpose of
science education does not seem to raise
individuals that enjoy the impact of science in
life. Although science is related to almost every
subjects, not only the biological, chemistry, and
physical sciences but also social and behavioural
sciences such as psychology and technology, it
becomes so far away from our lives while it is
broadly inside our lives. So, “What is science,
Why does it has such a dramatic influence on
our lives?”
2. The Importance of Science
The world is surrounded with some concerns
related to science such as global warming,
cloning, acid rains etc… Schooling is an
important factor in sharing this knowledge with
students, yet it is not clear whether the society
outside the school environment is informed about
the underlying reasons of these occasions.
According to Roth (2005), the value of hands-on
activities to learning observational and
theoretical language is one of the major
Figure 2. Interaction is important in science education
Figure 1. Hands on activities should be preferred in
science education
Therefore a successful science education
environment requires interaction, participation
and hands on activities…
To build scientific awareness and sensitivity,
science communication is an important asset but
is not very much developed in Turkey yet.
The main question rises at that time: “How
well is science communicated to the public?”. In
According to Friedman, Dunwoody, and
Rogers (1986), science comprises not only the
biological, life, and physical sciences but also
social and behavioural sciences and such
applied fields as medicine, environmental
sciences, technology, and engineering. But how
science is so far away from our lives while it is
broadly inside our lives? CIBA Foundation
Conference (1987) which is related to
Communicating Science to the public, mentions
about this subject: “People go to Science
Museums and Science Centres and zoos and
watch science programmes on TV to satisfy their
curiosity. This is the primal motive. They are not
generally interested in science as a formal
discipline.” This can be emerged from not being
informed on the effect of sciences in universe, in
the country, even in our lives. Applications of
science and technology can change a country’s
future in a both political and economic way. At
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
that time science communication appears.
communication is not as “effective” as it could be
and they suggest two dominant themes about
science communication: it is important and it is
not done well (Hartz and Chappell, 1997). The
question of “What should be done for promoting
comprehensive answer.
The scientific enterprise has become too
much specialized and complicated to be
understood by the general public. Therefore a
form of mediation is needed in order to make
scientific achievements more suitable and
accessible for the public. (Bucchi, M., 1998).
Public want to know what the latest advances
in science and technology mean for people,
businesses, or the natural world even when they
don’t understand how the science or technology
works. Scientists and other researchers,
therefore, can play an important role not only in
communicating the facts, but also the value of
science and technology. (Hayes & Grossman,
the arguments in favour of the public awareness
of science.
The utilitarian argument is closely allied to the
economic one. It is the view that the public
should scientifically aware because of the way
the community uses science.
In a sense, the democratic argument is a
subset of the utilitarian argument. Unfortunately
few politicians or financial experts have any
scientific training at all. But scientifically aware
politicians would have an influence on
multinational corporations.
Next, there is a cultural argument. Science is
one of the things people do and, like all of the
things people do, it can be done, at the highest
or the lowest level.
Finally there is the social argument. As
science permeates all levels of human activity
then an awareness of the basis of science and
the issues surrounding it will serve to enhance
social cohesion. (Stocklmayer, Gore & Bryant,
3. Science Communication
In this study, critical points of current
knowledge related to Science and Science
Communication were reviewed. In addition to
this, alternative ways to enrich science
communication was discussed. All in all, in order
to enhance science communication media’s,
government’s, business sector’s, scientists’ and
As it was mentioned before it is indisputable
that mass media is important in science
communication. Nisbet and his colleagues
(2002) found a positive relationship between the
use of science magazines and science television
and factual scientific knowledge, as well as a
positive relationship between the use of general
newspapers and science magazines and
procedural scientific knowledge, after controlling
for age, gender, and general education.
Therefore using media in science communication
seems very effective since media may reach a
wide population in a short time.
Next, governments should support science
and science communication by funding or
organizing events like science festivals, shows or
building interactive science centres, museums.
Government should be aware of the impact of
science in technological meaning. Using science
and technology in an effective way may change
a nation’s future situation among the others.
Educators should use different techniques in
transporting scientific knowledge like drama,
interactive science experiments that involves the
audiences, and field trips zoo, fabrics etc…
As the world changes, so does what is
required to make science understood by the
various publics that make up society. (Knight, D.,
The presentation of science to the public has
taken several different forms (books, magazines,
educational films, radio and TV programmes)
although often labelled with the term
‘popularization’. (Bucchi, M., 1998).
Although communication of science to the
public is important, it is not as “effective” as it
could be. The question of “What should be done
for promoting science among society?” requires
a comprehensive answer. Since, governments,
media, educators, scientists should collaborate
for enhancing a better science communication.
Because these sources have key missions to
promote scientific view.
3.1. The Importance of Science
It is widely accepted that the importance of
the communication of science to the public can
be summarized under five headings: importance,
economic, utilitarian, democratic, cultural and
The economic imperative, regrettably, is
today the main driving force towards a better
scientifically educated public. The concept of
intellectual property, however, has filled many of
4. Discussion and Suggestions
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Scholars should share their knowledge
especially related to the topics that are popular in
media (global warming, AIDS, cloning, acid
rains...etc) while adjusting the subject according
to the audience.
should be opened in the universities to educate
specialists in the field.
5. References
[1] Bucchi, M., Science and the Media.
Communication. London: Routledge, 1998.
[2] Friedman, S., S. Dunwoody, and C. Rogers,
Scientists and journalists: Reporting science
as news. New York: Free Press, 1986.
[3] Hartz, J., and Chappell, R., Worlds Apart.
How The Distance Between Science And
Journalism Threatens America’s Future.
Nashville, Tennessee: First Amendment
Center, 1997.
[4] Hayes, R. and Grossman, D., A Scientist’s
Guide to Talking With the Media. Practical
Advice from the Union of Concerned
Scientists New Brunswick: Rutgers University
Press, 2006.
[5] Knight, D., Public Understanding of Science.
London: Routledge, 2006.
[6] Nelkin, D., Selling science: How the press
covers science and technology. New York:
W. H. Freeman, 1995.
[7] Nisbet, M., D. A. Scheufele, J. Shanahan, P.
Moy, D. Brossard & B. V. Lewenstein,
Knowledge, Reservations, or Promise? A
media effects model for public perceptions of
science and technology. Communication
Research 29: 584-608, 2002.
[8] Roth, W.M., Talking Science Language and
Learning in Science Classrooms, New York:
Rowman&Littlefield Publishers Inc., 2005.
[9] Sarah, D,.R., Constructing Communication:
Talking to Scientists About Talking to the
Public Science Communication 2008; 29;
413, 2008.
[10] Stocklmayer, S., Gore, M. and Bryant, C.,
Science Communication in Theory and
Practice. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic
Publishers, 2001.
“Hands-on Science” During the
A. Breda Matos, I. Couto Lopes,
M.C. Alexandre, M.F. Araújo
and M.P. Guedes
Escola Secundária São Pedro Vila Real,
bredamatos@gmail.com, berilopes7@sapo.pt,
marialopesalexandre@hotmail.com, pagu@sapo.pt
Abstract. “Hands-on Science” during the
holidays is a project of a secondary school in the
North of Portugal (Vila Real). This project has the
agreement of the parents and the teachers of a
class of the 8th grade which has 25 pupils aged
from 13-15. The Hands-on Science activities are
very diversified and from different domains of
Science: on Robotics we did a contest with handmade robots; on the Astronomy; we identified the
stars, planets, constellations with a telescope; on
Natural Sciences we identified different species
that live in OLO river with electronics magnifying
glass; on Maths we constructed different families
of polyhedra models with polydron; we made
forest vigilance doing foot walking during the
morning with military maps and binocles and in
the afternoon we visited the Senhora da Graça
observation poste.
In this week centred on Hands-on Science we
worked at the same time, the different
dimensions of the human being: the personal
one, the social and transcendental dimensions.
We talked and reflected about the different
values that are essential to be in society like:
inclusion, solidarity, respect towards the
differences, the sexuality and friendship, the bad
or good uses of science results ….
This project involved 5 teachers of different
areas at full time and a mother that is a Biology
teacher at UTAD university hat helped us with
the Biology subjects. All this project was
developed by teachers and pupils during a week
in “Fisgas of Ermelo” (Mondim de Basto) a very
beautiful area in Alvão Mountains: preparing the
meals, cleaning, making a wall paper, were tasks
that each team had to do in a rotative scale. At
the end of the week we invited all parents to join
us and celebrate.
Keywords. Science
Hands-on Experiments.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Support Material for In-School Handson Experiments
B. Rangachar
Jakkur Post & Village,
Bangalore -560 064, INDIA
Abstract Expanding learning opportunities and
giving access to quality education for children in
under-served communities has been the focal
point of CLT’s developmental work since 1997.
Technology has been an enabler in this key
process. To counter and respond to shortage of
elementary school teachers and resourcestarved government schools, CLT has engaged
in sourcing teachers with subject-expertise and
digitally capturing their pedagogical practices.
Multi-media and video-recorded content as ICT
Tools is integrated with classroom teaching to
make it more effective. For experiential learning,
as support material for popularizing Hands-OnScience, demonstration experiments as DVDs,
hand-written-notes and a Touch &Tell lab is
Keywords: Hands-On Science, ICT Tools,
Support Materials
interactive one. It can also be a capacity-building
tool for teachers with no subject expertise on
e-learning modules created at CLT Resource
Center keeps the curricula-based text books as a
reference and is enhanced with value-additions.
This content can also be for self-learning, when it
is given along with Hand-books with illustrations
and materials.
Thus mode of support-material is easy to
reach and impact many schools
Figure 1. Light Experiment
1. Misconceptions about Science
Generally, Science Lab is misunderstood to
be a very expensive affair with fancy apparatus
and gadgets and schools in poorer communities
think it is out of their reach. In addition,
Elementary School teachers with 12 years of
schooling - including 2 years of teachers’
training- find it challenging to do experiments in
classrooms, even if they had Labs. They do not
have the band-width to relate Science with
everyday situations to make it more relevant and
interesting to kids. These limitations confine kids
with only textbook knowledge sans practical
Figure 2. Light Experiment
2. Supplementing with Support Material to
inculcate Hands-On-Science in Classroom
One of CLT’s initiatives to make up for the
lacunae is to supplement classroom teaching
with support materials to help teachers to teach
their lessons with more confidence and ease.
demonstration experiments with locally available
and affordable materials is an effective
supplement that has multiple advantages to
change the dynamics of a classroom into an
3. Acknowledgements
D.R. Baluragi
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
“Hands-on: Oral Health“ Science- and
Health Education in a Constructivist
according to Kersten Reich, John Dewey et al.
can be applied in order to realize such a project.
J. Klocke, S. Neubert and K. Klein
University of Cologne, Germany
jklocke@uni-koeln.de, s.neubert@uni-koeln.de,
Abstract. “Oral health“ is of great importance
and essential for the daily life of every human
being. It is closely related to good quality of life
and to “health education“. “Oral health“ is a tailormade subject to realise constructivist methods
including “hands-on“-instructions in schools. In
order to approach this subject with a
constructivistic background we developed a
series of lessons on “teeth“ and “oral health“ in
the context of a student project titled “Science
education in a constructivist classroom“. Part of
this project was a study with 48 third graders (2
classes of 24 pupils each), that was based upon
constructivism“. Those pupils attended morning
classes at the university once a week for this
year´s summer term. Four pre-service-teacher
students of our faculty joined this project. This
group of students was responsible for the
preparation and the planning of the lessons
including the realisation of work sheets that had
been prepared in advance.
Figure 2. Learning station: “Dental hygiene“
Figure 3. “Role plays with an expert“
Figure 1. Learning station: “Types and structures of
Every class of pupils had been divided into
four groups. Those four groups, who contained
six pupils each, have been supervised by one of
the students. By approaching the subject “oral
health“ this way, we wanted to demonstrate how
constructivist principles, ideas and methods
could be applied within the course of such a
project. For example constructivist methods
Following the principles of constructivism
during our project, we decided that the pupils
should find their own way in proceeding because
they should make “real sensuous experiences“
since students, especially children, according to
constructivist thesis, tend to show the largest
learning success if learning and “real life“
situations are combined. We designed four
learning stations (“Types and structure of teeth“
(Fig. 1), “Dental hygiene“ (Fig. 2), “Prophylaxis“
and “Role play with an expert“ (Fig. 3)) that
tackle the topic “oral health“ from different
perspectives and thus encourage the pupils to
make “real sensuous experiences“. During the
learning station “Role plays with an expert“ the
pupils had the chance to get to know more about
their own sets of teeth. A positive side-effect of
this role play was that the pupils could
experience that there is no need of being afraid
of dentists. This project is great value to the oral
health of the pupils who took part in those
lessons, they did not only learn about teeth,
dental hygiene and prophylaxis but also could
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
experience during the role play that there is no
need of being afraid of a dentist.
Keywords. Oral Health, Science- and Health
“Science Camps-A Hands-on
An Experimental Contribution to
Science- and Health Education
K. Klein, A. Germunf and M. Klein
University of Cologne. Germany
andrea.germund@uni-koeln.de, m.klein@uni-koeln.de
Abstract. Science Camps provide an interesting
opportunity for children to explore and discover
natural sciences in an age group-orientated and
cheerful way. The goal is to lead children to a
positive attitude towards health and natural
sciences by fascinating them with the “hands-on”
approach which enables them to make their own
Teaching natural science, physical activities
and health education within a group during
Science Camps allow the children to get
accustomed to a healthy lifestyle by independent
research and experiments. Furthermore, they are
enabled to transfer their gained knowledge and
skills into everyday life.
Not only have the children profited from the
camp but also the pre-service-teacher students.
For them it is a great way to gain teaching
experience. On top of this they collect credit
points for their participation.
Since 1996 the Institute of Biology and its
Didactics annually organizes Science Camps for
up to 100 children aged 6 to 12. During a period
of two weeks the children have the opportunity to
explore and experience natural science handson. The children stay at the university from 7:30
am and are picked up between 4 and 4.30 pm.
They are provided with two balanced meals
(breakfast and lunch) every day and have time
for breaks which for example can be used for
physical activities such as ball games and
gymnastics. Every year 5 different topics are
selected, prepared and taught (Table 1). During
the 10 days of the camp each topic will be
addressed within a period of two days. In those
two days eight units of science classes are
taught, two in the morning and two after lunch.
Since the children shall be addressed as
individually as possible and the studies shall be
created as efficiently as possible they are divided
into 5 age-related groups with approximately 20
About 30 pre-service-teacher students of our
faculty are involved in the annual Science Camp.
On one hand the students are responsible for the
preparation of the selected topics and their
“hands-on” realization during the camp on the
other hand they take care of the participating
children (one student is mainly responsible for
four children). Each of the topics chosen:
Birds/Animals in Zoo/Forest/The
Senses/Wholesomely/Cooked Food/…
for the camp is coordinated by a chosen preservice-teacher student who serves as a contact
person for the other students and as an expert
on this field. The topics have been selected and
prepared in a seminar during the summer
semester. Furthermore each camp is always
evaluated by two students. On top of the summer
camps, the Institute of Biology and its Didactics
offers one-week Science Camps that take place
during the spring and the fall break and host up
to 30 children.
We believe that science camps are a valuable
contribution to enhance the children’s interest in
science and health. We are looking at a win-win
situation because the pre-service-teacher
students gain experience in every aspect of the
teaching process.
Keywords. Science Education, Interdisciplinary
Approach, Science Camp, Extracurricular
Contributions of a Scientific Society
(Society for Developmental Biology)
and Its Members to Science
Education at All Levels
I. Chow
Society for Developmental Biology.USA.
Abstract. Most scientific societies’ mission is to
promote advances in that particular discipline
and to further their members’ interests, by
providing the appropriate venues to realize these
goals. The Society for Developmental Biology’s
(SDB- http://www.sdbonline.org) mission is to
promote the field of developmental biology and
its advances by fostering excellence in research
and education. Almost all our full members are
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
faculty in higher education institutions, thus
involved with undergraduate to postdoctoral
training. In addition, a significant number of them
are personally involved with pre-college and
volunteering in their local schools and civic
activities. SDB gives these members several
opportunities to share their experiences at all
teaching levels with other members at the
Society’s annual and regional meetings’
education workshops and poster sessions. In
response to increasing requests from the
membership to address issues not usually
covered in the graduate and postdoctoral training
of research scientists, SDB has included the
following themes in these education sessions:
teaching skills, laboratory exercises for
undergraduate courses, working with K-12
teachers, and outreach to non-specialists and lay
In the last few years, the themes expanded to
include career opportunities, survival in the
academe, grant writing, science writing skills and
training abroad. At the same time, the Board of
Directors made inclusion of an education session
mandatory in the 6-9 SDB regional meetings
held every year in various parts of the United
States and Canada. Several of these regional
meetings offered workshops with hands-on
exercises on developmental biology and related
subjects to local K-12 teachers; a few of them
even offered local school district credits to the
teachers upon completion of the workshop. In
order to help the junior faculty in their first few
years of an academic position and postdoctoral
fellows on their way to such a position, SDB
offers biennially, at the annual meetings, the
20Camp%20index.htm). To address the unique
situation of teaching evolution in American public
schools (K-12), SDB is an active member of the
Coalition of Scientific Societies (38 scientific,
professional and civic societies, and the National
Academy of Sciences) to support inclusion of
evolution and not other non-scientific ideas in the
science classrooms. American voters’ opinion on
this topic plus their understanding for the nature
of science was surveyed and the data will help
the disciplinary societies develop toolkits and
strategies for respective members to work locally
with their teachers, school boards and
legislators. [In the United States education
standards are set by local school boards, and the
federal recommendations are only voluntary.]
Internationally, in collaboration with the Latin
American Society for Developmental Biology
(LASDB), SDB co-organizes a satellite short
Course%20Program_FINAL.pdf) to LASDB’s
international meetings to promote learning of
concepts and techniques in developmental
biology , with practical laboratory sessions, for 30
students (15 based in Latin American and 15
based in US institutions). In partnership with the
American Physiological Society (http://www.theaps.org) SDB is developing a teaching digital
library in developmental biology and related
areas where peer-reviewed learning objects for
all education levels are available to scientists,
teachers and the general public: Library of
Educational Annotated DEvelopmental biology
Resources (LEADER- http://www.sdbonline.org/
Details of these projects will be presented at the
Keywords. Scientific Societies, Postgraduate
Training, Outreach, Collaboration, International,
Developmental Biology.
The Tulla Rectification of the River
Rhine. A 19th Century Intervention
and its 21st Century Impact
K. Klein
University of Cologne. Germany
Abstract. The river Rhine is a large alluvial river
system that flows from the Swiss Alps to the
North Sea. It drains large parts of central Europe
(189.000 km2). The main river channel stretches
1.320 km. Its catchment area includes land in
Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Germany, France,
Luxembourg, and The Netherlands. The river
Rhine has a long story of human interventions,
they became significant in the Middle Ages when
the construction of dykes in the floodplain began.
In the early 19th century fears of floods were part
of daily life in the Upper Rhine Valley. The
visionary hydraulic engineer Colonel Johann
Gottfried Tulla launched “The taming of the wild
Rhine”. The rectification of the upper part of the
river was supposed to control floods, to eliminate
diseases like malaria, and to enhance the use of
the river for transporting goods.
According to Tulla’s anthropocentric vision of
the perfect river, the ideal waterway had
geographic length, but no geographic breadth,
floodplains should be used for farms and towns,
rather than the absorptions of high water during
seasonal variations in water level. This ideal
resembled a canal: “straight, predictable, easily
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
controlled, and specifically designed for
navigation” (Figures 1 and 2). This project can be
considered the greatest civil engineering scheme
that had ever been undertaken in Europe. “In
civilized countries, the rule should be that rivers
and streams are canals...” [1] The Rhine
between Basel and Worms was shortened from
354 km to 273 km, almost a quarter of its
lengths. The results as dissenting voices
predicted, were larger and meant more
devastating floods downstream. The recent rush
of enormous “hundred year floods “along the
Rhine (1983, 1993, 1994) was thus the result of
these activities as much as the extreme events
by nature.
Our experimental approach is to examine the
impact of the rectification. We use the literature
data that show a shortening of the upper river by.
approx. 23%. We developed a model. The
children are being provided with appropriate
material, work sheets and data. Figure 3 shows
our model to study the impact of river
Keywords. Rectification, Floodplains,
Water Level, "Hundred Year Floods".
[1] J.G. Tulla (1770-1828)
Waste Water Management – A Hands
on Experience
D. Serwas, S. Knop and K. Klein
University of Cologne. Germany
daniel.serwas@arcor.de, sebastian_knop@arcor.de,
Figure 1. Comparison of a Rhine section in 1820 and
Figure 2. A Rhine section before and after the
Figure 3. Our functional model of the Tulla Rhine
Abstract. The contribution of waste water to the
ecological status of rivers in Germany is
significant. During the sixties and seventies of
the last century the water quality of our rivers
deteriorated since industrial-, community- and
waste water from private sources got into the
rivers without passing through a waste water
Community and an increase of awareness
among our society let to relevant changes in
waste water management. We still believe that
the use of water and the handling of waste,
specially- water related waste- needs attention
among the general population. We have
developed a functional model of a waste water
treatment plant. The pupils can gain hands on
We provide the theoretical background by
focusing on the mayor waste water plant in
Cologne/Germany, one of the largest and
technological advanced set ups in Europe. This
is done by providing a CD that gives an overview
of the technological processes, their impacts and
development. The functional model (Figure1)
contains all stages the real plant provides for the
cleaning process. We reconstructed the process.
It is obvious that we cannot work with
contaminated waste water or with real sludge. To
stay close to reality, we fabricated waste water
that contained: oil, mechanical debris, organic
compounds (glucose) and phosphate (Figure 2).
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
With these mixtures we started the cleaning
process integrating all stages of a real waste
water treatment plant (Figure 3). As
microorganisms we used yeast. The degradation
process during the biological stage was
quantitatively measured by a bloodglucosemeter
Figure 3. Waste water after clarification
Figure 4. The degradation of glucose in the biological
Keywords. Waste Water Treatment, Biological
Stage, Sludge, Phosphate, Organic Compounds,
Yeast, Rapid Testing System.
Figure 1. Functional model of a waste water treatment
Figure 2. Waste water before clarification
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Water Purification
T. Viileberg
Vonnu School. Estonia
Abstract. Clean water is very important for
living. How does ground water get clean? How
the earth does works as a water purification
plant? We can answer to this kind of questions
using simple experiments. We don´t need
expensive laboratory equipments. Students have
a lot of hands-on experience with experiments
designed with easily obtained materials. This
work describes some hands-on experiments of
water purification.
carrying out and the accompaniment of a
electrotechnic teacher in our school, José
Alexandre Breda.
After that, we participated in Robotics Festival
2007 and 2008, and in Hands on Science 2007.
We decided to improve the robot and present it
The carrying out of this project has allowed us
to increase abilities in different areas. We hope
to share with other young people (inside and
outside school) this experience and to find out
about other built up projects.
Keywords. Clean Water.
Robotics. Robot’s Construction
A.F. Duarte1, I. Carvalho2, L. Carvalho3, R.
Krupa3 and V. Pereira2
University of Minho. Portugal
University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro.
University of Coimbra. Portugal
filipa_duarte1@hotmail.com, Isis09_8@hotmail.com,
Abstract. The Project that we present was first
included in “Área de Projecto” and is based on
the construction of a robot. We chose this project
essentially for the development of diversified
abilities (including the acquisition of knowledge)
that could be useful in our professional life. For
this, we had to do some research, followed by a
reflection about the functionally and structure of
the robot. We decided to opt to construct a
mobile and autonomous robot according to the
supplied material, which was able to follow a
track, to go up and down slopes, to get out of the
way of some obstacles and to distinguish some
We were confronted with some kinds of
problems, including technical, logistical and
financial problems. The logistical problem was
decided appealing to ANPEE (national
association of electrotechnic and electronics
teachers) that has available a kit that allowed the
robot assembly; the financial problem was
decided by resource to sponsorships of local
companies (Laboratório Pioledo of Vila Real); the
technical problems were solved by the support in
Figure 1. Our robot
Keywords. Robot, Robotics.
Science and Technology Fair of the
Rio de Janeiro State
M.S. Dahmouche, V. Cascon, V.F. Guimarães,
S.P. Pinto and P.C.B. Arantes
Fundação CECIERJ
Rua Visconde de Niterói, 1364 Mangueira
20943-001 Rio de Janeiro/RJ – Brazil
Abstract. The program of Science Fairs devoted
to high school students was implemented for the
first time in Rio de Janeiro on the 1960´s.
Although it has been a very successful
experience, it happened just a few times.
Recently, CECIERJ Foundation retook the
implementation of the State Science Fair in an
updated format. Since 2005, three fairs were
organized according the following guidelines:
each science project must be must be enrolled in
the fair by the responsible teacher and the group
that will develop the project ought to have the
maximum of five components: three students
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
and two teachers. After registration, all projects
reports are analyzed by a committee of
professors and scientists, and the best ones are
selected for presentation at the State Science
The presentations were divided on six major
themes: Physical and Earth Sciences; Health
Technology and Innovation; Interdisciplinary
Projects and Junior High science projects. The
State Science Fair occurs in two days (a
weekend) and, in this period, the selected
science projects are presented to the public as
well as to a committee that evaluates and selects
the best ones for each major thematic area. The
six best science projects then are rewarded and
automatically enrolled in the National Science
In this paper the regional distribution in Rio de
Janeiro state of the enrolled science projects
was investigated. The distribution of science
projects amongst the different thematic areas
and also the ratio of gender participation in
general and regarding the subject of the project
were also analyzed.
Keywords. Science Fair, High School Students,
Non-Formal Education.
Learning How about Climatic
Alterations in Urban Areas from
Simple Experiment of Thermology
E. Nunes da Silva
Pró Reitoria de Cultura e Extensão UniversitáriaEstação Ciência Universidade de São Paulo,
Abstract. The volume of buildings in cities is
capable of modifying the original characteristics
of the climate. Furthermore, tons of pollutants
are released into the atmosphere every day,
thereby modifying the climatic attributes and
contributing towards increasing the surface
temperatures, since these pollutants make it
difficult for the heat energy to escape from the
system. These modifications are called the
"urban climate". The first study dedicated to the
climate of the cities, carried out by Howard, in
1833, about the climate of London mentions the
differences of temperature between the field and
the area urbanized. That phenomenon known as
- urban heat island - is the clearest example of
not deliberate climate modification in urban areas
that can bring harmful biological, economic and
meteorological consequences.
The course had the objective of discussing
the climatic alterations in urban areas and the
occurrence of the island of heat from a simple
experiment of measurement of temperatures of
different surfaces as land and stone and of the
air immediately above these surfaces. The
course had three phases: first phase: the
achievement of experiment, second the reading
and discussion of newspaper texts about
environmental impacts in urban areas and the
third phase the exposition and argument of the
concepts about urban climate.
The experiment consisted of measuring the
temperatures of the surface land and of the
stone in a time interval of five minutes with the
light on during half hour and by more half hour
with the light turned off. The students noted the
values in a table and subsequently elaborated
graphics in order to analyses the behaviour of
the temperatures. Before the beginning of the
experiment the students had raised hypotheses
about the possible results in the different
environments. From the analysis of the results it
was possible to understand the climatic problems
repercussions, pointed out in newspapers. A
theoretical presentation links what has been
discussed in an experimental approach to formal
Keywords. Environmental, Climate, Urban, Heat
A New Approach in Biology Teaching:
Exploration of an Online Educational
Resources Centre
A. Barros, C. Melo, N. Regadas, J. Santos,
S. Pereira and T. Moutinho
Departamento de Botânica da Faculdade de
Ciências da Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular da
Universidade do Porto, Portugal
anar_barros@hotmail.com, cbmelo@ibmc.up.pt,
Nuno.regadas@gmail.com, jsantos@ibmc.up.pt,
mspereir@fc.up.pt, tmoutinh@ibmc.up.pt
Abstract. The “Estaleiro da Ciência” is a
plataform with information about all the events
and initiatives promoted by the Office for Science
Communication of IBMC•INEB (Institute for
Molecular and Cell Biology, Institute for
Biomedical Engineering, University of Porto).
This project results of the necessity to increase
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
and improve the connection between scientific
investigation and society. In this way, the site
<www2.ibmc.up.pt/moodle2>) as a section that is
an Educational Resources Centre, which aim is
to built a gateway of educational resources to
make available for schools and teachers learning
strategies and contents. Is it also aimed to
generate a network of teachers that participates
in training activities of the project. Other
cibernauts are also welcome to try and
experiment the activities available in this centre.
These educational activities, called “Oficinas”,
are the product of a multidisciplinary work,
involving investigation groups, designers,
university teachers and students of FCUP
(Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto), and
school teachers. Every activity is organized in
three stages: challenge, “hands-on” and results
presentation. This is a new perspective in
science teaching, which emphasis the role of
student in is knowledge construction and, in
other hand, the role of teacher as a guide in
scientific outreach. A new approach to science
teaching, in particular biology themes, is present
in these b-learning activities.
The oral presentation and workshop/hands-on
experiment demonstration in this conference
become pertinent for the spreading of “Estaleiro
da Ciência” next to the professionals in science
education. It is also important to exchange
experiences, to reflection and to improve our
work. This is address, in particular, to Biology
teachers, of third cycle, secondary and
Keywords. Science Education, Biology, bLearning Activities, Online Resources Centre.
Reception of Students in the Museum
of Sciences. A Look under the
Perspective of Extended Scientific
and Technological Literacy
M. Rocha1 and N.M. Dias Garcia2
Secretaria de Estado da Educação do Paraná
(SEED), Brazil
Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná
(UTFPR), Brazil
marcosroc@seed.pr.gov.br, nilson@utfpr.edu.br
Abstract. This work relates part of a research
that analysis a program of scholar assistance
developed by the team of the Museum of
Sciences Parque Newton Freire Maia (PNFM),
institution supported by the Secretaria de
Educação do Estado do Paraná (SEED),
regarding the diffusion, popularization and
spreading of science and technology. The
program, entitled “Pequenos Cientistas – Grades
Cidadãos” (Small Scientists - Great Citizens)
(PCGC) aims to assist students of the initial
grades of the basic education, using a
methodology that involves the School, the Center
of Sciences, the students and their teachers.
Based on the experience of one of the authors,
who worked as general coordinator of the
Program from 2004 to 2007, the study was
developed through a qualitative research which
data was collected by the participation of
education professionals who visit museum,
under the orientation of PCGC, as well as
monitors, professionals of PNFM, involved in the
program. The theoretical context was supported
on the concept of extended scientific literacy,
and also on the concept of informal education
and learning in Museums of Sciences and
Technology Centers. It is distinguished, still in
the theoretical context, the discussion about how
the knowledge produced by science is
translated, in the Museum of Sciences, in
museum knowledge, and the importance of
considering, in such discussions, the alternative
conceptions of the students regarding the
phenomena reproduced in the Museum of
perspective. The results of the inquiry indicated
that the discussion and preparation of the visit
with the teachers in the schools, the reception of
the students in the Museum of Sciences and the
posterior development of activities after the visit
in the schools, were showed as actions that have
been differentiated and that have incorporated a
methodology that approximates the practical
pertaining to school of the museum practical,
disclosing elements of reflection regarding
scientific and technological extended literacy of
the involved ones. The analysis also showed the
necessity of the discussion of the practice of the
PCGC, in order to deepen the dialogue between
students, teachers and monitors, establishing a
wider reflection regarding the concepts of
science and technology deeply experienced in
the museum PNFM towards a Scientific and
Technological Extended Literacy.
Sciences Museum.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
“Science and Technology with
Creativity”. A Case Study on the Use
of the Classroom as a Privileged
Space to Teach and Learn Natural
A.R. Abreu and V. Signorelli
Sangari Brasil, Rua Estela Borges Morato 336,
Vila Siqueira, São Paulo 02722-00 SP, Brazil
Abstract. “Science and Technology with
Criatividade, CTC) is a program developed for
science education in elementary school
(Brazilian 1st to 9th years, corresponding to ages
6 to 13). The CTC combines the use of a student
book, teacher book, materials for investigation
formation and a careful methodology that
prioritize the investigation within the classroom.
There are 36 thematic units developed by a team
of tenths of professionals, including scientists,
teachers, education specialists, psychologists,
scientists, product engineers, graphical artists,
illustrators and photographers. The CTC is
aimed to be a complete solution to teach and to
learn Natural Sciences in the public and private
schools, and it is a product under continuous
development for more than 10 years. CTC is
currently being used by more than 350 thousand
students in different places in Brazil, including
250 private schools, more than 500 public
schools (including several municipal schools
and, more recently, all the public schools of the
Federal District, Brasilia). It is worth mentioning
that all the books are being translated to Spanish
and English, to respond to a continuous demand
of the international market. In this presentation,
an overview of this innovative program will be
given, with an emphasis on the evaluation and
Methodology, Classroom.
Methodology of the Inquiry: the
Classroom as Investigative Space
A.R. Abreu and V. Signorelli
Sangari Brasil, Rua Estela Borges Morato 336,
Vila Siqueira, São Paulo 02722-00 SP, Brazil
Abstract. The development of the conceptions
of education of natural sciences throughout the
XXth Century left an important inheritance to the
educators of today: students, motivated by
adequately formulated problems, mobilize their
knowledge and learn new concepts, procedures
and attitudes while they look for proper answers
to each different challenge. Considering this
conception of teaching and learning, in which the
relationship among teacher, students and
knowledge is the background to push the
educational process, we have systematized the
so-called “Methodology of the Inquiry”, an
investigative perspective of teaching and
perspective, teachers do consider the previous
knowledge of the students through problem
propositions that favour the cognitive conflicts
that eventually would lead to learning in a
process of conceptual change. The activities,
besides starting from specific challenges, must
be varied in order to offer a different perspective
on the contents, thus increasing the possibilities
of each pupil to establish new relations and to
learn meaningfully. Based on this methodology,
Sangari Brazil created the “Science and
Technology with Creativity”, a program for
scientific education of Basic Education Schools
in Brazil. In this presentation, we will present a
detailed view of the conceptual basis of the
“Methodology of the Inquiry”, including the
challenges to turn an ideal theoretical picture into
a reality.
Keywords. Inquiry, Novel Ideas on Science
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Application of Technologies in
Physics and Mathematics Education
in some Culture-Specific Countries
Department of Applied Mathematics. Calcutta
University.Calcutta 700009, India
Abstract. Teaching physics in schools and
colleges effectively in some developing countries
did never face any special difficulty until the
advent of computers. The use of computers in
class-rooms has been able to teach less of
physics and mathematics but more about using
computers. Computers have unnecessarily
consumed class-slots, contributing to less
learning-time for abstract thinking. This is
harming the basic thinking abilities of young
learners. As the process of learning lies in
integrating observation with abstract thinking,
computers appear to pose a barrier between the
two. Both observation and thinking times are
killed, especially in these countries endowed with
a long tradition of studies in mathematics through
The thoughts pronounced above require
clarifications. Illiteracy is a challenging problem
in many developing countries (ref: World
Education Report, 1991, UNESCO: illiteracy rate
%, age 15 and over 1990: Bangladesh 64.7,
Bhutan 61.6, China 26.7, Egypt 51.6, India 51.8,
Iran 46, Pakistan 65.2, Sri Lanka 11.6, Nigeria
49.3, Argentina 4.7, Brazil 18.9 etc. ). Resources
are required to be mobilized for eradication of
illiteracy and spread of primary education.
Modernizing physics syllabus in schools and
colleges subservient to use of computers is
uncalled for in many of these countries burdened
with high rate illiteracy. Moreover, colour display
of curves or playing with data or some such
computer-abilities are irrelevant in teaching
process in the classroom. These young aspiring
physics learners have nothing to do with “data”
or “data-base” etc., which are ably handled by
computers. The teacher must always remain the
principal attraction in the classroom for the
learners and not the magic-machine computer. A
teacher can never be replaced by a CAI
(computer-assisted-instruction). A teacher only
can and must “inject” the abstract concept linking
the physical phenomena into the tender brains of
the young learners. A computer has a very little
role to play along this basic principle of teaching.
A computer indeed cannot fit into the teachinglearning processes taking place between teacher
and the learner, specially, so far learning
abstract concepts are concerned (ref. Structures
in Mathematical Theories, San Sebastian, Spain,
1991, p. 339).
What is immediately required is to imbibe the
spirit and culture of abstract thinking by
garnering as much GNP as possible. Computers
are a hindrance to achieving these essential and
primary objectives in the field of teaching
In so far as physics teaching is considered, a
physical phenomenon or an experimental result
may be viewed as part of a broader and larger
idealized or mathematical or abstract “model”
phenomenon or situation. The power to get into
abstract “modelling” or “mathematizing” physical
phenomena, probably, all will agree, is the key to
achieving path-breaking success in the field of
physics. Thus abstract thinking need be
emphasized in this level of physics teaching.
Classical examples are well-known.
The countries under reference are used to
producing export-quality physicists by employing
meager GNP and using chalk-duster-blackboard
and not-so-costly equipments through a vibrant,
age-old, excellent teacher-learner relationship.
This will be amply clarified by a serious look at
the phenomena of “brain-drain” from the
developing to the developed countries in the
fields of physics and mathematics (ref : detailed
study by R.K.Bhattacharyya, IOSTE Symp.,
1994, The Netherlands, Pt. I, p.74).
The pronouncements made above must find
justification or endorsement by a brief review of
the situation prevailing in industrialized countries
(such as, say, USA, Japan, Germany with no
illiteracy). “Simply put, students in our Nation’s
schools are learning less mathematics, science
and technology, particularly in the areas of
abstract thinking and problem solving”, - US
National Science Board Commission on Precollege Education in Mathematics, Science and
Technology, Washington, 1983. “….over 5000
American women got medical degrees in the US
in 1990 compared with 63 in physics’ – Physics
Today, 1993 ( also ref. : RKB 1994 : large
number of non-US born Americans obtained
Ph.D. in Mathematics etc).
It is imperative on education planners to
recognize the significance of diverse cultural
perspectives and endeavour to improve quality
by strengthening the cultural tradition of learning.
Keywords. Mathematics, Physics Education,
Technologies, Culture Specific Countries.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
A Mathematics Scholar Project
I. Couto Lopes
Escola Secundária de São Pedro, Vila Real, Rua
Morgado Mateus, 5000-445 Vila Real, Portugal
Abstract. The main purpose of this project in
Escola Secundária de São Pedro, Vila Real (at
North of Portugal) is to improve the mathematical
knowledge on students of 3rd cycle of the Basics
Education. As math’s teachers and professionals
on education we believe that improvements on
mathematical learning should pass by new
arrangements on the curriculum, which should
be more flexible and practical. This method has
two points that should be fully covered to achieve
positive results:
a) Teachers who teach the same level should
collaborate between each other, because the
improvements on Mathematical learning
cannot be achieved by one single person
alone in his classroom. There also should be
an interactive environment between teachers
using the new curriculum as reference.
b) Inside classroom teachers should create
specific methods of work in order to students
achieve high levels of mathematical learning.
This new awareness should give them an
appropriated level of concepts domain and
work methods, in order to appreciate and
understand the value of math’s itself. In
addition students by gaining this new
awareness should use the mathematical
learning to analyze and solve complex
situations, which would give them the
opportunity to gain self-confidence and power
of communication.
Spreading Science Fairs: Knowledge
and Training
A. Gregorio Montes
IES Porta da Auga. 27700 Ribadeo. Spain
Abstract. Science Fairs are a lucky method to
spreading science. Previous Knowledge &
training in is necessary to go to the best
practices making fairs. Historical, structural and
didactical approaches are shown to contribute to
the previous knowledge and training of teachers
and organizers. Like all social variation, the
communication of scientific knowledge and the
formation in science is subject to a history in
which diverse influences are pronounced. If we
consider the events type "Science fair" like
advisable training and educational element in the
scientific field, is desirable to remember not only
his present history or manifestations as
performance base, but also metadidactical
strategies for his transmission, expansion and
continuous didactic improvement.
As far as history, their diffusion and evolution will
draw up to the main lines of. As far as the
present manifestations, they will be classified
depending on diverse criteria. As far as the
didactic improvement, a line of formation for
professors/promoters of manifestations of
science and education like Science Fairs will set
out. In addition, we will schematically put in
relation the three previous sections.
Keywords. Science Fairs, Hands-on Science,
Collaborative Science, Didactics, Organization.
Keywords. Mathematics, Collaborative Work,
Mathematical Learning, Curriculum.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Young Talent for Sciences Program
J.B.M. Maria1, P.R.M. Oliveira1,
M.S. Dahmouche1, V. Cascon1,
V.F. Guimarães1 and P.C.B. Arantes2
Fundação CECIERJ, Brazil
R. Rodrigues de Almeida, D. Martins Morato,
F.C. Catunda de Vasconcelos,
G. Rodrigues do Rêgo Barros,
J. Justino da Silva and L. Avelino da Silva
Espaço Ciência, Brazil
raquelchemistry@gmail.com, davi_morato@yahoo.com.br,
flaviacrisgomes@hotmail.com, giovannirrb1@gmail.com,
jonatanjustu@yahoo.com.br, dinhask8@hotmail.com
Abstract. This program was implemented last
1999, and is devoted to students from high
school, especially the ones on second and third
years. In the first beginning, it was just for
students from the capital of the state of Rio de
Janeiro and nowadays it is extended to 25 cities
in the state, and includes 500 students. The main
objective of the program is to promote the
introduction of the students on scientific
environment, as a Scientific Initiation as well as
stimulate new talents for scientific career. The
students are placed at research laboratories at
the Universities or industries, under the
supervision of an advisor. The student’s
performance is followed by the program
administration. This program promotes also a
social inclusion offering to the students a grant
and better perspectives for the future.
We have remarked that the program has a
positive influence under the student´s way of life.
In order to know on details in which way the
student´s style of life was modified, we
performed a research about that by sending to
the egress of the program a questionary about
their professional life, their options, the courses
they have followed and so on.
We have performed a research about the
influence of this program on the student’s life,
200 cases were analyzed. We investigated their
career options, for the ones that are attending a
University. Some of them choose the same
career on which they have trained and others
changed the domain. An investigation about the
influence of the program on the student’s stile of
life was also performed. Once a year a
symposium where the research developed by the
students is organized. The new perspectives for
the Young Talent for Sciences Program are
permanently being evaluated to follow the new
trends of the science market.
Keywords. Scientific Initiation, High School
Students, Scientific Education.
industrialists manufacture and trade, yearly, long
ton of personal hygienic products. Have you
thought about how can these products remove
the dirty, mainly the fat ones? What makes
possible an insect walk on the water? Our
studying group on education to the science
learning developed a workshop about the
tensoactive agents which looks for the use of
problem-situation way. There, it proposes to the
members the realization of some activities to its
development. It will be available some material to
the students, such as: detergents, vegetable oil,
water and others. Their use will promote the
main idea construction about the superficial
tension water and about how some cleaning
products act on it.
Keywords. Surfactant, Surface Tension, Handson Experiments.
Discursive Trajectory of the Concept
of “Energy” in a Science Class
M.M. Gadelha Gaspar1, R.M. Alencar2
and N. Acioly-Régnier3
Faculdade de Formação de Professores de
Nazaré da Mata – UPE/FFPNM
Univ. Federal rural de Pernambuco – UFRPE
Institut Univ. de Formation de Maitres – IUFM
Abstract. The present study pertains to
discussions regarding science teaching and its
implications for the education of teachers. The
discursive trajectory of the concept of “energy” in
a science class is discussed and analyzed. The
analysis is cantered on the discursive dynamics
and teacher’s strategies in this process and is
founded on a linguistic approach to scientific
interactions of etnomethodological inspiration
(Mondada, 1994; Alencar, 2004). The teacher’s
strategies were found to enable the inclusion of
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
the students’ discourse in the construction
process on the concept of “energy”.
Keywords. Science Teaching,
Education, Discursive Trajectory.
Models of Explanation in Science
M. Ribeiro de Lira
Universidade de Pernambuco _UPE
Faculdade de Ciências Educação e Tecnologia
de Garanhuns – FACETEG
Abstract. This present study is part of an idea
that is still in an early stage of development, but
is driving future investigations regarding
explanation. We will first present the theoretical
bases for the analysis of the structural aspects of
three models of explanation: Hempel´s renowned
Deductive-Nomological (DN) Model, Wesley
Salmon´s Statistical Relevance Model and Bas
van Fraassen´s Pragmatic Theory of Explanation
(believing that explanation is a combination of
three terms: theory, fact and context). The study
was carried out in a 5th grade elementary school
science class. Based on preliminary results, we
observed the teacher´s use of the deductivenomological model as a form of validating her
Keywords. Science Teaching, Teacher
Introduction to Drama as a Teaching
have used the example of how this might be
interpreted through the subject of Climate in
Crisis and the issue of sustainable growth, as
this connects with Geography, History, Physics,
international affairs. In other words removing the
confining boxes.
At both school level and across all ages, the
nature of this challenge is fourfold, for us to find
ways for science to become:
a) more appealing and interesting
b) more relevant, to connect with other subjects
and broader issues.
c) more involving, participatory
d) more playful
By taking a key controversy currently in the
news - for example, how the advancement of
genetic science has thrown up the issue of
Designer Babies, and the possibility of parents
choosing the sex and characteristics for their
children - I would then engage the group in the
debate, recruiting advocates for and against.
Thus giving n illustration of how complex factual
material can be communicated through
argument. I will illustrate how these techniques
are transferable to any number of other areas e.g. the issue of employing atomic power to
solve the fuel crisis, or the recent debate around
bio-fuels (food vs. fuel) or the use of the MMR
vaccine, or even the ongoing debate as to the
evolutionary origins of Homo sapiens indeed
anything with a controversial or ethical
I would also explore and discuss a range of other
drama techniques that can be exploited in the
teaching of science.
Richard Pinner
Faculty of Art, Design & Technology
University of Derby, Markeaton Campus,
Abstract. There has been a fundamental change
of government policy towards the teaching of
fact-based subjects in the UK, with a new
impulse to free up science to a more imaginative
and cross-curriculum approaches allowing 20%
of a teacher's time to be at the discretion of the
individual teacher.
The Government minister responsible, Ken
Boston, and his chief advisor, Professor Hepple,
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
The Violin as a Tool for Teaching and
Learning Physics
M.L. Netto Grillo, L.R. Perez Lisbôa Baptista,
V. Rodrigues da Conceição,
J. Figueiredo Gschwend
and M. Osório Talarico da Conceição
Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, I.
Física, Dept. Eletrônica Quântica, Brazil
mluciag@uerj.br, afisicanamusica@gmail.com,
vanessavrc@gmail.com, juliagschwend@hotmail.com,
Abstract. The major difficulty faced by
Professors of Physics, and especially by highschool teachers, is the lack of motivation of their
students to whom this subject sounds really far
from the daily life world. One attitude to
overcome such problem is the use of examples
and activities related to the students interests.
Thus Music may become a strong ally in search
of motivation. For example the study of a
vibrating string can be studied in a Physics
laboratory as well as a perfect illustration in class
if directly applied to the vibration of a string
instrument such as violin or a guitar.
Keywords. Musical Acoustics, Physics Teacher.
Discovering the Human Body.
An Interdisciplinary Project in High
J.A. Martins1,2, A.C. Farias2, L. Duso1, M.
Giovanela2, S. Andrade Tesch1,
S.C. Menti1 and R. Goulart Ramos3
Centro Tecnológico Universidade de Caxias do
Centro de Ciências Exatas e Tecnologia –
Universidade de Caxias do Sul
Centro de Ciências da Saúde – Universidade de
Caxias do Sul
Caxias do Sul - RS - Brazil
Abstract. From the axis of thematic series "Who
I am?", Which has as objective to enlarge the
understanding, both in physiological and
sociological sense, by language and concepts of
the disciplines of Biology, Physics, Chemistry
and Mathematics, teachers in the Area of
Science of Nature, Mathematics and their
Technology, developed the project "Discovering
the Human Body." Where the students present to
the teachers the anatomic model mounted by
them, reporting all the steps undertaken during
the project, and that interdisciplinary concepts
were used to obtain the final result. Along the
presentation students produce and deliver a
story, in the form of comics, which use a more
colloquial language so they can count the
different stages of the project. With these
activities it was possible developing chemical,
physical mathematical and biological concepts
inter-related, which allowed the student a
systemic view of the human body.
Keywords. Interdisciplinarity, Teaching of
Sciences, Hands-on.
Playful Activities to Know Better the
Group of Insects in Espaço Ciência
C. Santos, G. Suellen, B. Severo,
F. Carmo, A. Paula, W. Bezerra
and G. Valença
Espaço Ciência. Complexo de Salgadinho s/n,
Parque 2 Cep.; 53111-970
clau.ane@gmail.com, suellen.galdino@yahoo.com.br,
wbzra@hotmail.com, gugaoo@hotmail.com
Abstract. The Espaço Ciência is one of the
largest interactive museums of science in Brazil.
Where we find Biology workshops and activities
in permanent expansion, divided into the
following groups: zoology, ecology, microscopy,
human body and botany. Among these are
workshops related to entomology using the
species of insects collected in the mangrove and
entomological collection of the Laboratory of
Biology of Espaço Ciência, helping to provide
some information about the importance of
insects in the environment, their biology, the
dangers of insects as vectors of disease,
methods for collection and criteria for
identification. These activities are designed to
develop a new way of teach entomology within
the museum of science, disseminating and
building the scientific knowledge for students and
teachers, and the general public. The
observations and collections of insects were held
around the mangrove Chico Science, in order to
register the occurrence of some species. For
this, were collected weekly, with the use of some
equipment (sticky trap, tray of water, soil trap,
funnel of Berlese, box of emersion, collecting
network, and others). Workshops were held
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
mounting boxes of entomological classification
for students of high school and a different
workshop, targeted to students of elementary
school called "Life of Insects," was created. This
different work for students and visitors as well as
training of teachers, shows up as a good factor
for the public access to the knowledge.
Keywords. Insects, Entomology, Hands-on
Investigating Extraction of DNA in
Popular Plants of Brazil as a Way to
Approach Issues of Genetics in the
M. Renilda, W. Bezerra, E. Santos Filho,
C. Santos and M. Brasil
Espaço Ciência. Complexo de Salgadinho s/n,
Parque 2 Cep.; 53111-970
{mercia_renilda; wbrza; jr_legionario; clau_anefs;
Abstract. The DNA extraction presented here in
this work is simple, and helps a lot when used to
provide a new point of view over DNA
examination, location of this molecule in the cells
and its roles. The activity presented here aims to
stimulate the sense of seeking results and
explanations on a determined fact. Comparing
results observed on DNA extraction of three
different species of plants, the students will test
which one is the best to visualize DNA molecule
and infer on what makes one plant better than
other to visualize DNA.
An Research of a Sun Movement
Model for Different Seasons and
M. Fernandes, F. Siqueira da Silva,
P.A. Ourique, V. Villas-Boas and F. Catelli
Universidade de Caxias do Sul
Centro de Ciências Exatas e Tecnologia
Caxias do Sul – RS – Brazil
marciahw@brturbo.com.br, fssilva@ucs.br,
vvillasboas@yahoo.com, fcatelli@ucs.br
Abstract. How does the sun move in the sky
throughout the year, over a certain place on the
planet? For the purpose of knowing the previous
knowledge of future teachers a pre-questionnaire
was applied. After that, these future teachers
worked in a guided way with a geocentric model
of the sun´s movement. In the questionnaire
applied to them afterward, a percentage of right
answers close to one hundred percent were
observed. Moreover, the students proposed and
“solved" the most diverse problems. The results
indicate that the use of models, manipulated and
conceptually explored in a free way, is a didactic
strategy of great value.
Keywords. Previous Conceptions, Geocentric
Model, Astronomy of Position.
The Teachers' Knowledge in Science
Classes of Elementary School
V. N. Lima1 and R. M. Alencar2
Univ. Federal Rural de Pernambuco –
Univ. Federal Rural de Pernambuco –
Secondary School, DNA Extraction.
Abstract. The research pertains to qualitative
perspective of education, exploratory and
descriptive in nature. The objective was to
identify and analyze the teachers´ knowledge
that emerge in the daily teaching of science in
the early classes of basic education. The
theoretical discussions depart from Maurice
Tardif's proposals in conjunction with the
teaching of science and his implications for
procedures were the videography, nonparticipant observation and field notes. The
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
results point to teaching practices in which the
knowledge is inarticulately evidenced.
Teachers’ Knowledge in Elementary
School Science Classes
S. Leal Marques and R.M. Alencar
Univ. Federal Rural de Pernambuco –
Univ. Federal Rural de Pernambuco –
suleimaleal@bol.com.br, rosanealencar@gmail.com
Abstract. The present exploratory, descriptive
study was carried out based on qualitative
approaches to education. The aim was to identify
and analyze teachers’ knowledge emerging in
science classes in youth and adult elementary
education. The theoretical approaches used
were those put forth by Maurice Tardif and
Clermont Gauthier. Methodological procedures
observation, field notes and interviews. The
results indicate that the teachers exhibited
knowledge related to the reading-and-writing
process, curricular knowledge and experience.
Interactive Learning Environment and
Human Communication
T.S. Ferreira and C.R.F. Andrade
Faculty of Medicine – University of São Paulo
Department of Physiotherapy, Communication
Science & Disorders, Occupational Therapy.
Faculty of Medicine. University of São Paulo
tainaferreira@gmail.com, clauan@usp.br
Abstract. The interactive museums provide
learning through dynamic and participatory
manner. There are some interactive museums in
the world dealing with Human Communication
and Vocal Production topics, as the Cité des
Sciences et de l’industrie – La Villette in Paris
that have a interesting permanent exposition
named “Communication – Sounds”, that treats
content of production and reception of sounds,
synthetic speech, mechanisms of animal
communication, relation between the spoken
language of an adult and a child babbling
exposed to the same language, parameters of
articulation of vowels sounds, among other
related subjects. From the analyses of this
example and others, came the idea of creating
an interactive exposition about health, using
Telemedicine resources from the Medical
School/USP and images from the “Virtual Man”
project, exploring the aspects of Human
Communication. The goal of this project is to
establish a proposal of an Interactive Learning
Environment and Human Communication to be
implemented at Estação Ciência/USP that will
use the volumes I and II of the “Virtual Man” of
Keywords. Science Museum, Informal Learning,
Hands-on Universe
R. Ferlet
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris
UMR7095 CNRS, Univ. Pierre & Marie Curie
98bis Boulevard Arago
75014 Paris (France)
Abstract. The Hands-on Universe (HOU) project
aims at re-awakening the interest for science by
challenging middle and high schools pupils. It
relies on real observations through an internetbased network of robotic optical and radio
telescopes. The dedicated software SalsaJ has
been developed for allowing pupils to manipulate
and measure images in the classroom, within
pedagogical resources built in close collaboration
between researchers and teachers. Gathering 14
European countries, EU-HOU is developing a
network of teachers through training sessions.
The worldwide Global-HOU project is also
developing and will take advantage of the
International Year of Astronomy in 2009.
Keywords. Hands-on Universe, Astronomy.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
About Champagne, Antrax...and Louis
Pasteur (1822 - 1895)
E. Van Haegenbergh
European School Brussels 3, Belgium
biotechnology are new and promising fields in
biology. Returning to the roots of the molecular
biology one is confronted with the experimental
work of the French scientist Louis Pasteur. The
work of Pasteur changed our world: another view
on medical science but also a change in the life
of many citizens. The bubbles of champagne, the
different taste of beer or cheese, the typical taste
of wine, the production of human insulin, the
knowledge of antibodies and the development of
artificial vaccines: all this scientific knowledge
found his origin in Pasteur's experimental work.
The young Pasteur was ambitious, had a truth
seeking spirit and was very determined to
acquire his goal. His earliest work was on the
optical activity of certain crystalline substances.
The formation of asymmetric molecules seemed
to be linked to tiny living creatures. His interest in
these substances brought him to the study of the
mechanism of fermentation. Yeast was seen as
a purely "physical" mixture of chemical
substances. Alcoholic fermentation or lactic
fermentation led both to the growth of "microorganisms".
In the middle of the 19th century the theory of
"generatio spontanea" was commonly accepted
and Pasteur became involved in the controversy
whether life forms could arise from non-living
matter. He used the growth of yeast cells to
introduce the term "germs" explaining that these
germs were the possible cause of many
infections and diseases. Based on a range of
systematic experiments it still took him 20 years
to counter the theory of the spontaneous
In 1797 Jenner had saved many people’s
lives from the smallpox using the vaccine virus
as a protecting agent. 50 years later Pasteur
added the scientific fundamentals of this process
of vaccination which lead to a better
understanding of the immune system. Pasteur's
career started by solving some problems of the
French wine industry, but finally ended with the
study of human diseases and prevention.
Since biotechnology is a compulsory biology
topic in many countries, these experiments will
make pupils familiar with the basics of
microbiology and the importance of Pasteur's
work. Two groups of experiments will be
presented: the yeast fermentations and the
bacterial growth experiments with the S-shapes
vessels. Pupils learn about applications like
Keywords. Biology, Microbiology, Pasteur.
Role of Hands-on Activity in
Development of Students´ Skills in
Science Education
J. Trna, E. Trnova and I. Vaculova
Masaryk University of Brno, Czech Republic
trna@ped.muni.cz, trna@ped.muni.cz, 63881@mail.muni.cz
Abstract. Development of students´ skills is very
important educational objective of science
education. There are a lot of students´ skills in
science education. We found the taxonomy of
these skills and identified the role of hands-on
activities into the acquiring of science
experimental skills. Measurement of science
quantities is the crucial science skill to be
developed in primary and secondary schools.
Science teachers would keep in mind the
motivation of students into the acquiring of
science skills. Gifted students have special
needs also in the acquiring of science skills. The
paper opens the problem field of development of
gifted students´ skills. Concrete examples of
hands-on activities applicable in the acquiring of
experimental science skills are presented in the
paper. The content of these hands-on activities is
the human body measurement.
Keywords. Development of Skills, Hands-on
Activity, Gifted Students, Measurement of
Human Body.
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Asymmetries and Symmetries in
Science Communication
C. Carrillo Trueba
Departamento de Física, Facultad de Ciencias,
UNAM. México
Abstract. In the mass media, every new
advance in scientific knowledge the discovery of
a new galaxy or a new particle, the solution of
Fermat´s Theorem tends to be presented as
good in and of itself, as also occurs with all new
technologies and products resulting from them
making it increasingly difficult to distinguish
between new and advertising when we are told
how, for example, a new plasma screen or a new
molecule for a drug was conceived. The
message is that only good things are to be
expected from science, whether they have
practical applications or not, whether their
contribution to our understanding of the world is
understood or not, whether their potential impact
on society and their potential repercussions can
be anticipated, etc. All science news is good
However, when negative aspects of scientific
endeavour are discussed, they are usually cast
as abnormal cases, and accordingly are often
reported in sensationalist tones. Thus, the fraud
perpetrated by a Korean scientist is the product
of his ambition, an Italian scientist´s attempts to
clone a person are pure folly, uranium
enrichment in Iran is one more Islamic plot, and
the harmful effects of a drug are the
consequence of the mercantilism of the
pharmaceutical industry, which is not like it was
before, when the marvel of aspirin was invented.
The common denominator is the abnormality of
the events, the deviation from the pursuit of
greater good for humanity which is science´s true
Science communication, scientific divulgation,
has largely taken a similar approach, extolling
the positive side of scientific endeavour in an
effort to convince society of the benefits and
marvels of science and its importance for
humanity, human progress, and the betterment
of the world. Little is said about the anomalies of
science which prefers discretion to avoid
blemishing its irreproachable image and when it
is, it tends to recur to its antithesis, an image of
science similar to that used by its harshest
critics, for whom all new technology, all new lines
of research, invariably are the harbingers of
multiple catastrophes and the products of plots
and covert interests, and who, when confronted
with something with which no fault can be found,
are unwavering in their suspicion, taking the
stance that it is a facade concealing some form
of deceit.
The question, then, is how to break this
dichotomy, how to account for both facets using
the same processes, the same initial conditions,
in short how to revert the asymmetry.
Keywords: Science communication, Critics of
Idea of Progress, Image of Scientist in Medias.
A Variation of an Ordinary Biology
Experiment in the School Laboratory.
Temperature Sensors Detect Enzyme
Catalase´s Activity in Potatoes
E. Kyriaki and C. Kozanoglou
European School of Brussels III. Belgium
Greek Gymnasium Lyceum of Brussels. Belgium
ekyriaki@gmail.com, ckozanoglou@yahoo.gr
Abstract. The purpose of this paper is to present
a variation of an ordinary experiment in biology.
The common practice is to perform the
experiment in front of the pupils and let them
observe. Our task is to give the opportunity to
our pupils of the secondary level to observe the
phenomenon, analyze properly the data and
draw conclusions. The experiment is about the
activity of the enzyme catalase in potatoes in
correlation to the temperature.
Catalase is a common enzyme found in many
plants and animal tissues. Its role is to destroy
toxic substances like hydrogen peroxide. It
speeds up a reaction which breaks down H2O2
into two harmless substances: water and
oxygen. This reaction is critical for the life of cells
because H2O2 is a common by-product of many
cellular reactions which take place in every cell.
The above reaction terminates, in case catalase
is denatured; then, the cells are poisoned and
die. In the experiment we examine the
dependence of catalase´s activity in potatoes
from the temperature.
We design the experiment in a way that will
give the essential information to our pupils
without becoming boring to them. We take the
minimum number of observations (four in this
experiment) and we follow the same method of
analyzing the sensors output on the computer
screen each time. This way the pupils´ interest
remains intact. Moreover, their attention is
focused on the phenomenon. They are relieved
of the process of taking measurements
continuously and creating the relevant diagram.
For that purpose we use a set of temperature
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
sensors connected to a computer. We consider
the Microcomputer Based Labs (MBL) an
effective tool for the development of a good
conceptual understanding of the phenomenon.
Keywords. Catalase, Enzymes.
Determination of the Impulse of a
Super-Ball in a Collision with a Wood
Block and a Sponge-Kitchen Using a
Force Sensor
J. Costa Leme1 and C. Moura2
Escola EB 2,3/S de Lanheses. Portugal
Universidade do Minho. Portugal
leme.jose@sapo.uminho.pt, cmoura@fisica.uminho.pt
Abstract. The main objective of the present work
is to present an easy way to obtain a graphical
representation for the force as function of time, in
order to extrapolate de numerical value for the
impulse in a collision. The experiment was done
using a super-ball and a force sensor in two
situations: using a wood block and a spongekitchen. The data were collected with data studio
Pasco Software (version 1.9.7). The motion of
the super-ball was filmed with a digital camera
(30 frames per second). The motion picture, in
avi format, was analyzed with Tracker videoanalyzer, in order to determine the velocity of the
super-ball, before and after the collision. With the
present work, the first conclusion was that the
concept of impulse was understood by the
students. The analyses, the discussion and
interpretation of the variation of force with time in
a collision of a super-ball, after this experiment,
allowed a much better understanding of the
concept by the students, when compared with a
simple analysis of a F = f(t) graph.
Keywords. Force Sensor, Impulse, Collision,
Tracker Video Analysis.
Cosmic Ray Physics in High Schools:
The Phoenix Project
or heavier ions, produced in astrophysical
processes. They are impinging all the time the
Earth atmosphere after their long journey from
their cosmic sources. When a cosmic proton
interacts with the matter from Earth's atmosphere
it produces a huge number of many different
subatomic particles. Despite their very short
living time (fractions of billionth of a second),
they are constantly decaying and transforming in
other lighter particles, among them are the socalled muons. The particle multiplication process
goes further, creating a kind of disk travelling
downwards through the atmosphere. The disk
size increases till the available energy from the
primary proton is not more enough to create new
particles, when it stars to diminish in size and
particle number. This phenomenon is called
“Extensive Air-Shower”. Arriving at the ground,
most of the charged particles in the showers is
made of muons. The imprint of high energy
showers on ground can cover an area that can
be large as tens of square kilometres. The
Phoenix Project is a proposal to install a simple
muon detector in the High Schools, working
together in time coincidence, building a kind of
giant shower detector. The Project has a
modular structure and can grow with no limits in
scale as the modules will be installed over the
Brazilian schools. The detector apparatus
consists of two superposed blocks of plastic
scintillator, connected via light-guides to
photomultipliers, which are read by a specially
built data acquisition board installed in a
computer. In each School, students will
participate in assembling and adjustments of the
setup to start its operation. The main scientific
task of the Project is to identify the cosmic
sources of these high energy particles. The
multidisciplinary profile of the cosmic rays
research put the students in direct contact with
frontier issues of modern science. It deals with
astrophysics, electronics, computing, information
technology, particle detection, statistics, just to
name some of the topics that can be explored
with the aim to give rise in the students the
interest to scientific culture, this is the
fundamental goal for the realization of this
Keywords. Cosmic Rays, Particle Physics,
Experimental Physics, Astrophysics
E. Manganote1 and E. Kemp2
FACAMP - Faculdades de Campinas. Brazil
UNICAMP - Instituto de Física. Brazil
ejtmanganote@gmail.com, kemp@ifi.unicamp.br
Abstract. Cosmic rays are the generic
denomination of charged particles, like protons
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
Hands-On Activities in Food-Science.
An Experimental Contribution to
Health Education
K. Markeli and K. Klein
University of Cologne, Institute of Biology
and its Didactics
Cologne, Germany
k.markeli@uni-koeln.de, klaus.klein@uni-koeln.de
Abstract. A balanced diet and physical activities
are the basis for healthy living since overweight
and obesity are a major risk for chronic diseases
such as type 2 diabetis, cardiovascular diseases,
hypertension and certain forms of cancer. In
today’s society there is neither given enough
importance to a balanced diet nor to physical
activity. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact
that worldwide statistics of the last decade show
an enormous increase in the number of
overweight and obese people including children
and adolescents. In Germany for example 15%
of the children and adolescents aged 3 to 17 are
overweight and 6,3% even are obese. In
comparison to statistics of 1980 and 1990 this
shows an increase of approximately 50% [1].
In order to prevent overweight and obesity and
its negative impact on health within the young
generation it is of the essence to teach health
education in school. By teaching health
education at school certain awareness of the
importance and the necessity of a balanced diet
and physical activity should be created.
As a possible approach to teaching this subject
at elementary schools we created an
“experimental box” based on the “circle of
nutrition” published by the German Society for
Nutrition. This “experimental box” is ideal for
hands-on school labs since it includes a
collection of worksheets and materials and
thereby offers great opportunities for teachers to
implement experimental and knowledge based
health education components into regular school
life. In regard to balanced diet subjects like
cereals, fruit, drinks, milk and its products; fat
and sugar are covered. The pupils shall
experience cooking as an experimental science.
To reach this goal the pupils for example learn
how to bake bread and prepare fruit salad and
test food for its contents of vitamins, sugar and
fat. In addition to that the box contains an
experimental component dealing with physical
activity (mobility profiles with pedometers).
By working with the “experimental box” the
children are enabled to gain knowledge about a
balanced diet, develop practical skills regarding
the selection and preparation of daily meals and
the diversity of nutrition. Thereby they shall be
empowered to take over responsibility for their
own diet.
By this experimental approach -combining
natural science, physical activities and health
education- the pupils shall get accustomed to a
healthy lifestyle and shall be enabled to transfer
their gained knowledge and skills into everyday
[1] Kurth & Schaffrath Rosario 2007
Keywords. Health Education, Nutrition, Obesity,
Physical Activity.
A Classroom Practical Activity to
Teach Concepts on Image
Digitalization and Transmission
E. Kemp
University of Campinas – UNICAMP. Brazil
Abstract. The general guidelines for the
secondary education in Brazil, the so-called
PCNEM (Parámetros Curriculares Nacionais
para o Ensino Mêdio) suggests a constant
recycling in the methods and approaches used to
teach the topics of the regular high school
disciplines. One interesting feature is the
approach, to stimulate the development of a
critical analysis capability in the students and
their self motivation to search for answers and
solutions for problems. Based in these principles,
we have developed an in-classroom activity to
teach the principles of Image Digitalization and
Transmission. It consists in an introductory talk
where the basic features of digital images are
explained followed by a split of the students in
smaller groups, each one responsible to
establish their own rules for image digitalization,
such as number of pixels, colour codes and
scanning rules. Afterwards an advisory panel is
formed by representatives of each group when
an agreement on details of the digitalization
process and encoding/decoding of information
must be achieved. The final task has a practical
approach, when the groups have to build their
own digital images with the help of squared
paper (or any similar media), encode the images
following the compliance rules and exchange the
encoded data among themselves, so each group
have to reconstruct the image transmitted from
the others. The topics embedded in Image
Digitalization and Transmission, were brought to
the day-by-day life of the students mainly
5th International Conference on Hands-on Science
Formal and Informal Science Education
© 2008 HSci. ISBN 978-989-95095-3-5
through the large diffusion of digital cameras,
and the exchange of images via internet. They
are very attractive and can be explored to cover
an expressive number of items in mathematics
and physics syllabus: numeral systems, nature of
colours, geometrical optics, analogical-to-digital
conversion, optoelectronics, reference systems,
just to name a few. Moreover it is flexible enough
to be adapted for different education levels,
complexity, number of syllabus topics to be
covered and the choice of materials and tools for
the practical session. In this work it will be
described one of the realizations of this activity,
which was successful applied in the 2007 edition
of the Brazilian program “Teia do Saber” (“Web
of Knowledge”), a series of workshops for highschool teachers aiming the diffusion of new
educational methods.
Keywords. Teaching Digitalization Concepts,
Interdisciplinary Methods
“Recreio nas Fêrias”: Workshops for
M.C. Hermida Martinez Ruiz,
E. Nunes da Silva, J. Carvalho Bezerra
and R. Deus Lopes
Espaço Ciência-USP. Brazil
carmen@eciencia.usp.br, edelci@eciencia.usp.br,
job@eciencia.usp.br, roseli@eciencia.usp.br
Abstract. In the months of January and July,
school vacation months, Espaço Ciência
receives more than 2 thousand children and
teens from the project “Recreio nas Fêrias”
(Recreation in Vacations). Promoted by de City
congregates pupils of the schools of the city and
children from institutions that render social
welfare work as shelters and day-care centres.
Differently of the students with scheduled visits,
these children do not come to Espaço Ciência
following a script of visit or a project elaborated
by a teacher that has to fit the program of the
formal school. On the other hand, servant’s
children of Espaço Ciência are used to visit the
exhibitions and search