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Hands-on science teaching: combining formal and informal science learning


Science centres have been pioneering with hands-on learning and teaching in Europe during the last decades. The multidiscipline contents of modern science centre exhibitions are large and unique forming a reliable learning source. Now, a network of eight science centres is developing their educational programmes for primary schools in co-operation with school authorities, teacher education institutes, and schools, to create an European network linking formal and informal learning with all-European organisations ECSITE and EUN and ESHA. The main target group is primary school teacher education. The goal is to use modern, interactive science exhibitions combining the best practices of informal learning and formal education. The objective is to find the key elements of curriculums in different countries to teach the scientific research process based on learning to make observations in science centres and teaching to make observations at school. The science centres will use the pedagogical expertise of the teachers and teacher training institutes as well as the curriculum development input by the educational authorities. Also the latest research results related to the affect of the informal learning sources to the career choices of young people especially creating opportunities for girls - are utilised and further developed in this project. The aim of hands-on -based methods is not solely to produce more scientists and technologists; it is also to produce a new generation of citizens who are scientifically and technologically literate. Using ICT-strategies is the main element of this European co-operation and dissemination of the results. The project is also directly linked to several other European projects (PENCIL, CONNECT, CELEBRATE) with the theme "Science is Primary" giving added value and synergy for formal and informal hands-on science learning clearly supporting the goals of the Lisbon Agenda.

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