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Improving Quality of Science Teacher Training in European Cooperation

  Assessing Science for Understanding (CZ) Training Module Based on Socio-cognitive Constructivism (CY) European Dimension in Integrated Science Education (LT) Development Procedural Skills in Science Education (BG) Using Laboratory to Enhance Student Learning and Scientific Inquiry (TR)  
Unit 1 - A Conception of Integrated Science Education Unit 2 - Some Philosophic, Didactic and Social Aspects of Integrated Science Education Unit 3 - The Main Tendencies of Integrated Science Education Development Unit 4 & Unit 5 - Integrated Science Education in the Context of the Constructivism Theory
Unit 6 - The Models of Integrated Science Education Unit 7 - The Integrated Science Education Curricula and its Designing Principles in Comprehensive School Unit 8 - The Science Education Tools and Ways of Producing them in the Collaboration Process Unit 9 & Unit 10 - A Constructivist Approach to Integrated Science Education: Teaching Would-be Teachers to do Science
Unit 11 & Unit 12 - Contextual Teaching and Learning of Integrated Science in Lower and Upper Secondary Schools Unit 13 - The Evaluation Strategies of Integrated Science Teaching / Learning Unit 14 - The Collaboration Peculiarities of Science Teachers  

Unit 8
The Science Education Tools and Ways of Producing them in the Collaboration Process

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The Science Education Tools and Ways of Producing them in the Collaboration Process


The content of natural science education gives a chance to the dynamics and structure of the educational process. However, the adaptation of natural science knowledge system depends on both the teacher (choosing and applying teaching methods and forms, etc.) and the pupil (the methods of learning, motivation, general abilities). The diversity of teaching and learning content, forms and methods, activities are typical of natural science education. All that makes the educational process effective: develop intellectual knowledge and skills, set out conditions for intense pupils’ activities, shape thinking, foster aesthetic feelings, etc.

It is logical that the educational process should be promoted keeping in mind the following regularities:

The natural science knowledge and skills gained by pupils in the educational process form the content of teaching natural and world science. Anyhow, the process of natural science education includes the teacher and children’s activity based on direct and indirect relations. Children are interested in the classes of science when the content of the taught material is comprehensible, attracts attention and imagination, encourages to intensively work and is problematic. A highly effective component of natural science education is the presentation and examining of problems. It can be expressed in three ways: 1) asking questions about the relevant subject; 2) presenting demanding tasks; 3) facing serious problems.

Hence, the following fundamental moments can be emphasized:

Secondary natural science education, first of all, is very complicated for the teacher. It is concerned with teacher competence as well as with his/her motivation in terms of the interaction with nature. Far more relevant aspect is that teachers arrange activities from the position of the adult, i.e. they somehow ‘obtrude’ the opinion upon children.

Natural science education form is an intrinsic structure of the educational process. The forms of natural science education depend on various factors such as:

Modern didactics highly recommends to apply the methods that make the teacher and the pupil’s activity more heightened and intense. The following methods could be recommended: netting, the volition-aversion method, interview, nine ribbed “diamond”, mixed priority, free writing, the method I know-I want to know-I have learnt, the method of intensive specifying, “The book of natural complaints”, the essays of variable length, etc. (Lamanauskas, 2001). Work in groups and work with projects become particularly relevant.

Integrated natural science education creates theoretic and practic conditions because (Lamanauskas, 2003):
Interdisciplinary integration does not satisfy the requests of regular classes, and therefore the teacher must look for distinct educational ways and methods. Interdisciplinary integration seems to be the best way to develop schoolchildren’s thinking, astute observation, stimulate interest, emotions, self-expression, wish for learning, etc. The teacher must know the following algorithm of their activity:

The integration of natural science education with other educational subjects should present pupils the knowledge of natural sciences as well as the material produced in the textbooks and workbooks that are linked with the current affairs of school, with the customs and traditions of the schoolchildren and their relatives of the inhabited locality. The closest natural objects such as the park, forest, lake, mound, etc. are not out of the way. Hereby, the learners are encouraged to show interest in an environment of their inhabited locality, are stimulated to know more and more, their thoughtful evaluation of nature is developed, etc. Integral natural science education requires a different approach to the educational process itself.

The following forms of natural science education can be applied in school:
The general educational methods can be applied in school:
  1. narration (length; content; systematization; true to life; picturesqueness);
  2. interpretation (delivering questions, encouragement to observe, compare, assess, estimate, summarize, conclude, etc.);
  3. discourse (reproduction; interpretation; heuristics, etc.);
  4. the usage of published sources (helps to show interest in data sources and their search; stimulates self-studying, curiosity; fosters emotions, etc.;
  5. demonstration – observation (real visuals are used; observation and assessment; pupils are given work-material);
  6. demonstration – observation of technical training aids (instructional videos or their passages; transparencies; audio-recordings; compact discs; computer programs, etc.).
  7. didactic games (employed in different stages of the training process; stimulates the whole educational process, etc.);
  8. eco-mysteries (drama performance elements are applied, etc,).
Specific educational methods of the “Introduction into the Science of the World” course:
  1. observation – (short-term and long-term seasonal observations of natural phenomena; recording observed data; the use of simple devices, etc.);
  2. experimentation – (objects and phenomena research; the observation of research conditions and factors; the assessment and interpretation of the obtained results; knowledge acquisition and skills development, etc.);
  3. practice work - (modelling; graphic work; work with devices; work with a project, map, globe, etc.);
  4. experimentation.

The success of natural science education determines a well organized educational process, properly produced didactic teaching/learning material as well as available teaching resources (stock).

One of the main problems in science education is visualization. Students usually have many problems understanding dynamic three-dimensional processes.

For example, for chemistry teaching and learning exists some interesting tools:
Some alternative strategies for science teaching are:
Tasks (assignments)

  1. Point out the specificities of science education (i.e. identify the differences between the above mentioned process and oral, mathematical and artistic education).
  2. On the basis of the specified arguments prove that the quality of science education and the achieved results is determined by a mutual interaction (direct and indirect) between a student and a teacher.
  3. Fill in the table.

    Tools required for stimulating and maintaining the process of science education Methods of making the process of science education effective Factors determining a choice of science education forms
    1. 1. 1.
    2. 2. 2.
    3. 3. 3.
    ... ... ...

  4. Which of the teaching methods will you suggest for the teaching of integrated science in secondary school level?
Case study

Teacher X teaches an integrated course on science for upper-secondary school students not interested in studies or other professional activities related to sciences in the future. This course focuses on modern achievements in sciences, life practice and environmental problems. Despite the fact that the integrated course on sciences looks at all topics in broad outline, the teacher intently concentrates on the quality of the educational process:

The described situations only show that certain aspects of science education are paid scant attention which makes the impact on the quality of both the self / educational process and the results of self / education.

Questions to Case Study

  1. Identify the problems a teacher can face during the educational process.
  2. Referring to the above introduced example, create a model of the science education process based on the principles of a direct interaction between a student and a teacher and constructivistic teaching/learning.

There are different strategies and methods for teaching science. Also there are many different ways in which science teachers can effectively teach students. The problem consists in that how to choose the most effective methods and strategy in each concrete situation. It is obvious, that the information itself is known as the content; how that content is shared in a classroom is dependent on the teaching methods. For example, lecture is a way of providing students with basic knowledge. On the other hand it is well known that lecture has the least impact on students as well as the lowest level of student involvement. It is not so good from point of view of constructivistic teaching. The one of the main points of constructivistic approach is to increase the level of impact and involvement for students. It is clear that reflective inquiry has the highest level of student involvement. On the other hand, reflective inquiry offers opportunities for students to use knowledge in a productive and meaningful way. Different methods can be effectively used in science teaching: lecture, reading information, audio-visual presentation, demonstration, observation, field trips, interviewing, brainstorming, small group discussions, experimenting, problem-solving activities etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is it mean “horizontal teaching”?

This term meant that when teachers take students by the hand and lead them on a voyage of discovery (discovery learning theory), stimulating their observation and experimentation skills (learning by doing), imagination, curiosity and reasoning capacity – enhances students` intellectual and manual capacities remarkably.

Next Reading

Arroio, A. (2007). The Role of Cinema into Science Education. Problems of Education in the 21st Century (Science Education in a Changing Society), Vol. 1, p. 25-30.

Chang, C.Y., (2002). Does computer-assisted instruction + problem solving = improved science outcomes? A pioneer study. Journal of Educational Research, 95 (3), pp. 143-150.

Gunstone, R.F., Tao, P.K., (1999). Conceptual change in science through collaborative learning at the computer. International Journal of Science Education, 21 (1), pp. 39-57.

Hoadley, C.M., Linn, M.C., (2000). Teaching science through online, peer discussions: Speakeasy in the knowledge integration environment. International Journal of Science Education, 22 (8), pp. 839-857.

Hola, O. (2007). Computer-Based Education in Physics. Problems of Education in the 21st Century (Science Education in a Changing Society), Vol. 1, p. 45-49.

Jonassen, D. H. (1991). Objectivism vs. Constructivism. Educational Technology Research and Development, 39(3), p. 5-14.

Kumpalainen, K., Mutanenen, M., (1998). Collaborative practice of science construction in a computer-based multimedia environment. Computers & Education, 30 (1-2), pp. 75-85.

Lamanauskas V. (2003). Natural Science Education in Comprehensive School. Siauliai: Siauliai University Press, p. 514.

Lamanauskas V. (2007). The Augmented Reality Teaching /Learning Platform: New Challenges and New Possibilities to the Users. In.: Information and Communication Technology in Natural Science Education – 2007 (Proceedings of International Scientific Practical Conference). Šiauliai: Publishing House of Šiauliai University, p. 6-7.

Linn, M., et al., (1998). Using the internet to enhance student understanding of science: The knowledge integration environment. Interactive Learning Environments, pp. 4-38.

Parkinson, J., (1998). The difficulties in developing information technology competencies with student science teachers. Research in Science and Technological Education, 16 (1), pp. 67-78.

Pedersen, S., Liu, M., (2003). Teachers' beliefs about issues in the implementation of a student-centred learning environment. Educational Technology Research & Development, 51 (2), pp. 57-76.

Pintrich, P. R. (1995). Understanding self-regulated learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 63, p. 3-12.

Thomas, G.P., (2001). Toward effective computer use in high school science education: Where to from here? Education and Information Technologies, 6 (1), pp. 29-41.

Trindade, J., et al., (2002). Science learning in virtual environments: A descriptive study. British Journal of Educational Technology, 33 (4), pp. 471-488.


Arends R. J. (1998). Mokomės mokyti.Vilnius, p. 337-357.

Lamanauskas, V. (2001a). Gamtamokslinis ugdymas pradinėje mokykloje /Pasaulio pažinimo didaktikos pagrindai/. Šiauliai.

Lamanauskas V. (2003). Natural Science Education in Comprehensive School. Siauliai: Siauliai University Press, p. 514.