New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

“Science is beautiful.” Students at Risk Develop Science and Technology Integrated Projects

Rodica Constantin, Institute for Educational Sciences, Bucharest (Romania)

Ligia Sarivan, Institute for Educational Sciences, Bucharest (Romania)


UNICEF, the Institute for Educational Sciences and other partners in Romania have been carrying out an attendance campaign in order to diminish the drop out rate in poor areas in the country. One of the components of the campaign is a teacher training program the aim of which is to support teachers who work with students at high risk.

The trainees often think that students at risk have small chances to meet the curricular requirements. Moreover, science is perceived as one of the most difficult subjects due to its abstract nature and complicated assignments. The common mythology with the science teachers is that students at risk are a lost cause in their curricular area. Nevertheless, the training program consists in a series of activities to help teachers adopt new approaches to their subject by taking into account the students’ needs as well as the situation in the community.

The training sessions bring about opportunities to shift from the common practice that is text-book-based towards a student-oriented approach. What does this approach mean? Instead of presenting chapters in a science book teachers are encouraged to plan and implement meaningful projects that highlight the conceptual network of the subject within discovery learning. Students are involved in practical assignments, quite often in integrated projects that also include Technology, which are relevant for their lives and family, for their school and for their community. All the projects are developed within the framework of the national curriculum and take place within the ordinary time-table. Teachers are encouraged to plan fieldwork in order to apply the projects in meaningful settings and develop real products. Under the teacher’s supervision, students work in teams, each individual is valued and involved in the task.

These projects contribute to positive relationships among the teacher and the students. Gradually, the students’ perception about school and their habit of failure change. The students become more confident and motivated while something special and meaningful results from their project-work. In the students’ words “the science class is the most beautiful.”

Our paper presents this project-work experience with examples of good practice as well as weaknesses.


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