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Teaching Enquiry with Mysteries Incorporated

Final Report Summary - TEMI (Teaching Enquiry with Mysteries Incorporated)

Executive Summary:
The TEMI project, funded by the European Commission as part of a scheme to support innovative methods in science education across Europe, has come to an end in July 2016. TEMI, which stands for Teaching Enquiry with Mysteries Incorporated, developed and offered training to 958 pre and in service science teachers across 11 countries. Project partners devised a new teaching methodology which innovation works around the combined use of mysteries deployed following the 5Es concept, together with better showmanship/communication skills and with a gradual release of responsibilities.
The methodology is described in an easy to use booklet entitled Teaching the TEMI way: how using mysteries supports science learning available from the project website in 7 languages (English, French, German, Czech, Italian, Dutch and Norwegian).
TEMI teacher trainers, based in 9 different countries, piloted and refined the methodology together with the participating teachers. Very positive results have been reported with this type of training which offers to teachers both professional and personal development. More than 80% of the teachers reported observing a better motivation in their students.
A TEMI Book of Science Mysteries was produced. It provides a sample of 30 mysteries developed following the TEMI methodology with tips for teachers and student worksheets. An app was also developed for iPhone and smartphones. It includes 15 mysteries to be solved and offers teachers and students with an extra resource to investigate mysteries from their smartphone. Many more mysteries and classroom resources are available from TEMI partners’ websites in their local languages.
Teachers interested in the TEMI training should not hesitate to contact the project partners who have plans in place to carry on with TEMI beyond the end of the project. Alternatively, for an insight into the challenges of science teaching, the fight between old and new methods and the impact of mysteries to stimulate curiosity for the sciences, one can look out for the Light Mystery, a theatre play specially adapted for TEMI and rolled out in Italy by partner University of Milan. The scientists turned actors are often on stage to the delight of teachers, students and all inquisitive minds. The script with enriched with useful comments is available from the project website in Italian and English for use by school drama groups.

Project Context and Objectives:
Research has consistently found evidence that the way science is traditionally taught is a cause of students’ declining interest in the subject with age (Science Education NOW: A renewed pedagogy for the Future of Europe). Enquiry holds out huge promise for science education, to arrest the decline in student attitudes towards science and mathematics, and foster better scientific thinking. Yet, it demands a major shift in existing classroom culture!
The project has involved nine teacher training centres across Europe to develop and implement the pilot programme through ‘Enquiry Labs’. The TEMI approach adopts a clear definition of enquiry in terms of a cognitive skill set, and sets out a stepwise progression to push students towards becoming confident enquirers. Teachers were recruited to participate in a series of training sessions where they experimented the core scientific concepts and emotionally engaging activity of solving mysteries, i.e. exploring the unknown. The enquiry labs also used scientists and communication professionals (e.g. magicians, actors, motivational speakers, etc.) to guide teachers through the transition to use the TEMI methodology.
The TEMI trained teachers provided considerable input to the development of the TEMI methodology and resources. They were invited to test the approach and materials in the classroom and feedback on it. As the training progressed, methods and resources could be refined in an iterative design-test-feedback cycle.

Project Results:
TEMI delivered 53 training courses (cohorts) across the TEMI partners in 11 countries, which amounts to 958 teachers recruited. Starting from a common methodology, the training delivery was then adapted by each teacher training centre in the various countries involved to reflect local country specific issues around curriculum, suitability of content and classroom practice.
The TEMI concepts of gradual release of expertise from teacher to pupil, and showmanship skills for teachers to be able to effectively engage students were explored progressively with the TEMI partners so they could impart these skills to their local teachers.

Main project outputs include Teaching the TEMI way: how using mysteries support science learning a booklet describing in an easy format the TEMI methodology and the TEMI Book of Science Mysteries which provides 30 lessons plans deploying the methodology. TEMI produced Light Mystery: script with added comments, a resource for schools and theatre companies. The play explores the world of physics to trigger wonder and curiosity. The play was performed in Italy by the University of Milan partner team and used in the TEMI training with discussion on how to use scientific theatre to engage with young people. The development of a TEMI app is also in its very final stage. It contains 15 mysteries and offers teachers and students with an extra resource to investigate mysteries from smartphones.

Potential Impact:
Over the last three years, TEMI partners have communicated their results and experience widely at 97 public events and 68 conferences on teaching and education. They got 25 articles in the press (general and teaching related) and 20 articles published in academic journals related to science teaching. TEMI is also listed in 5 international repositories. The list of events is available below in section 2.

Highlights include three TEMI workshops at the high profile European High School Teachers’ CPD event at CERN, Switzerland by TEMI partners University of Milan and Sheffield Hallam University in 2015 and 2016. University of Milan was invited to deliver a series of training sessions on the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism using the TEMI methodology. They did it over 14 hours to a group of 35 teachers of the CERN Italian teacher programme in September 2015. The delivery of such a complex conceptual project was innovative and a very positive experience for trainers, teachers and organisers. For the second year running, the team from Sheffield Hallam University have delivered a workshop to over 45 teachers at the CERN International Teacher’s Programme. In July 2016, they delivered a bespoke TEMI activity entitled the Mysterious Atom, which had been refined through piloting with more teachers over the last 12 months. This well-established international science teacher event has enabled further dissemination of the project, the TEMI philosophy and methodology to a European and International audience.

TEMI also had the unique opportunity to participate to the European Space Agency Summer Teachers Programme in the Netherlands, to talk about the mystery of flat galaxies. During the workshop, 60 European teachers discussed how to explain the concept of gravity to secondary school students by using the enquiry based approach and the TEMI methodology. “It was great to see such a large group of inspiring science teachers, working together with so much enthusiasm on a TEMI mystery!” said Wouter Schrier, TEMI Dutch project manager who delivered the workshop.

The TEMI mascot “Hero’s horse” is now on permanent display at the UK STEM centre in York, England. The centre welcomes about 6000 visitors a year, among them many teachers and researchers in science education. Displaying the mascot in key places visited by teachers is a great way to communicate to teachers about the project. The mascot is special and raises the curiosity of visitors who are then invited to explore the TEMI methodology, mysteries and lesson plans.

The project multi-lingual website will remain available and includes the methodology booklet Teaching the TEMI way in six languages, the TEMI Book of Science Mysteries and its 30 downloadable lesson plans, an app with 15 mysteries to explore, a physics play script with resources to support schools and drama groups to explore and engage with science through theatre. Resources are also disseminated to other IBSE platforms and teachers’networks including Scientix.

Finally, the most active piece of legacy remains with the teacher training platforms of the nine TEMI partners. They have plans to carry on with TEMI in different ways.

Part of the TEMI training has become an integral part of a practical course on experiments in chemistry teaching at Bremen University and for the next 3-5 years, all chemistry student teachers will undergo this training. The Weizmann Institute of Science and Sheffield Hallam University intends to dovetail TEMI into other CPD programmes. Leiden University will incorporate the TEMI methodology in future teacher trainings with Universe Awareness and Space Awareness. In Norway, the TEMI innovations will be part of the ongoing work Hogskolen i Sorost Norge does as a part their national effort (“Science municipalities”) in science education. Additionally, from 2017, teacher training will be a five-year master in education and Hogskolen i Sorost Norge plans to use ideas from the TEMI project both in their courses, but also as a research subject. University of Vienna is launching a follow-up project called Mysteries in Practice. In this project they will run workshops with experienced TEMI teachers to develop inquiry based learning concepts and mystery-based materials. Trainers will accompany the teachers in their classroom, observe their teaching to give them direct feedback on the implementation. University of Limerick is exploring a TEMI training for primary school teachers. Charles University in Prague has a very active group of TEMI trained teachers and will continue to support them in deploying the methodology. They organised a TEMI Congress for the Czech Republic at Liberec science centre on June 10-11, which was a great success, with the TEMI trained teachers leading the workshops together with CUNI academics. It was a real cascade event with the TEMI approach being passed by teachers to teachers. 56 teachers participated and CUNI leaders are confident TEMI will carry on because of the great interest and enthusiasm shown by the teachers themselves.

List of Websites:
More information on the project website:

TEMI was coordinated by Prof. Peter McOwan, Queen Mary, University of London.
The consortium includes partners Università degli Studi di Milano (Marina Carpineti and Marco Giliberti), Universitaet Bremen (Ingo Eilks), University of Limerick (Peter Childs, Sarah Hayes), Sheffield Hallam University (Julie Jordan and Tony Sherborne), Hogskolen i Sorost Norge (Jorn Nyberg), Universitaet Wien (Anja Lembens), Weizmann Institute of Science (Rachel Mamlok-Naaman), Universiteit Leiden (Pedro Russo), Univerzita Karlova V Praze (HanaCtrnactova), Sterrenlab (Cristina Olivotto), TRACES (Matteo Merzagora), Cnotinfor (Secundino Correia).