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Strengthening the Pedagogical Practice of Elementary Teachers through Inquiry Based Science Education. Guillermo Fernández de la Garza Member of the Board Innovation for Science Education. Context. Mexico has more than 25 million students in elementary education.

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Guillermo Fernández de la Garza Member of the Board Innovation for Science Education

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Strengthening the Pedagogical Practice of Elementary Teachers through Inquiry Based Science Education

Guillermo Fernández de la Garza

Member of the Board

Innovation for Science Education


  • Mexico has more than 25 million students in elementary education.

  • The level of proficiency of Mexican students in PISA ,in Math, Sience and Reading has been poor since our country became part of the study.

Innovation in Science Education(INNOVEC)

  • INNOVEC was created to contribute to enhance the learning science capabilities in elementary students from kindergarten to secondary schools (k-9).

  • Is a non profit organization integrated by distinguished members from academia, bussiness and education fields.

Innovation in Science Education(INNOVEC)

  • Since 1995 INNOVEC established a longtermalliancewiththeNationalSecretary of Education as well as theNationalScienceResources Center in the US to use in MexicotheScience and TechnologyforChildrencurriculum.

  • Sincethen INNOVEC adopted a systemicmodeltoenhanceInquiry-Basedscienceeducationcapabilitiesboth in teachers and students.

A Systemicapproachmeans…

  • Firsthand training forteachers, withexpertscomingfromscience, education and bussinessfields.

  • Fewtopicstolearn and practice in ordertomakeclearthosefundational ideas of science and technology.

  • At least 18 hours of training at thebegining of thescholaryear.

  • Materials and opportunitiestomanipulate and performtheexperimentsjustthey are expetedto do in theclassroomwiththechildren.

  • Mentoring and pedagogicaladviceduringtheimplementationphase.

IBSE &Professional Development of Teachers

  • The IBSE Program in México is working currently with: 8,000 Teachers, 120 Pedagogical Advisors

  • The teachers’ training has been a key objective for INNOVEC. We’ve been working in this training with the support of the State Ministries of Education, institutions and other IBSE Programs from abroad.

  • These sessions are focused in giving teachers a deeper understanding of inquiry and the tools to use it in classroom, in the scientific content, in formative assessment and in the use of science notebooks.

National and International Networking

Anothermainfactorsthat has contributedtoenhancethemexicanteacher´sformationtoteachthroughInquiry are:

StateScience and TechnologyCouncils

NationalSecretary of Education

National and International Universities

Media and politicians

ECBI Programs in theStates

Children and Teachers

National and International ResearchInstitutions


National and International Bussiness and Consortia

ECBI Programsabroad


  • Into the classrooms teachers count with the support of a pedagogical advisor who helps them to improve their science lessons, as part of its Professional Development.

  • Once the training took place, follow up theprogram in theclassroomsisalsoimportanttocompaintheteachers and supportthem in the use of thematerials and teachingstrategies.

  • INNOVEC operates a diferentiated PD fornovice, competent and expertteachers.

  • Mentorshelpustoidentifythelevel of proficiencyforteachingthroughinquiry.

International Conferences

Since 2001 INNOVEC and FUMEC have organized Six International Conferences on Science Education. This effort has been developed jointly with the National Ministry of Education Public, the Nuevo Leon State Government and the Mexican Academy of Sciences.

The Conferences have been a key element to consolidate different programs and initiatives, not only in Mexico but also in other Latin American Countries such as Chile, Panamá and Costa Rica.

  • The Conference’s subject has been on:

  • 2001. Educational Research to support SEVIC.

  • 2003. Social and Economic impact of SEVIC worldwide.

  • 2005. Professional Development for Teachers.

  • 2007. Science and Well-being from Amazement to Citizenship

  • 2009. Quality Growth of Inquiry-Based Science Education Programs

  • 2011. Innovate and transform the world through Science Education

International Collaboration…

  • In order to implement PD strategies with a global perspective as well as to learn and adapt the lessons learned in other countries and regions INNOVEC has collaborated with similar projects in other regions of the world.

IAP: Principles and Big Ideas aboutScienceEducation

  • In October 2009, a small group of UK and international science educators, from Chile, Mexico, Canada, USA, China and France, met to discuss how a set of big ideas in science education might be identified and how they should be expressed and communicated.

  • The members of the group all have extensive experience in defining science curricula in their countries; several are distinguished scientists or engineers and members of their country’s academy of sciences.

Impactonteaching and learning

In relation to pedagogy, it is fair to ask: what difference would it make to be working ‘with big ideas in mind’?

Teachers’ awareness of the big ideas –being able to explain how the ideas developed through students’ science activities relate to certain big ideas, however distantly – would lead to spending more time to study certain topics in depth,

Consciously building understanding into big ideas so that students arrive at a picture of the world in which parts are connected with each other.

In other words, it means both teachers and students realising that ‘Just as a house is not a pile of bricks, so science is not a pile of disconnected facts’ (p.47)

Cooperationwith NSRC

INNOVEC and The US – MexicoFoundationforSciencehave a strongcollaborationwiththeNationalScienceResources Center (NSRC). Mr. Leopoldo Rodríguez from INNOVEC ismember of the NSRC AdvisoryBoard.

With NSRC support and theChileanProgram, in February, 2006 INNOVEC organized a LASER Institutewheretherewasanimportantinvolvement of the local authorities, bussiness and scientificcommunitytosupportMexican IBSE programs.

Itwaspossibletocreate a commonvision and a strategic plan toincorporate a systemicmodel in thestateprograms.


La mainà la pâteProgram. France

La main à la pâteProgram in France and INNOVEC collaborated to produce the international edition of the DVD “Learning science and technology at primary school”.

This DVD was developed by the National Education Ministry and the French Academy of Sciences as a tool for the professional development of teachers.

INNOVEC also collaborated with La main à la pâte program to make the spanish edition of the book: “29 notions to savourer et faire savourer la science”. “ 29 notions to enjoy and making enjoy science”

  • The leader countries in the world are those that consider the complete and successful trayectories of their students, those which have achieved an efficient teaching profession, well remunerated with permanent formation and high social recognition (Barber y Mourshed, 2007).

  • Even when in Mexico has not been posible to implement a comprehensive assessment program to know the impact and results there are significant evidence about the achievements in students and teachers as a result of their participation in programs with a similar vision and estructure.

The ASSET Project in Pittsburgh

Student performance and teacher PD

Washington State LASER2009 – 2010 EvaluationReport

  • The Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) initiative, launched by the National Science Resources Center in 1998, has the overarching goal of promoting a sustainable, inquiry-based model for kindergarten through Grade 12 science education reform. The use of hands-on science instructional modules (kits) and inquiry-based pedagogy are hallmarks of the LASER approach.

  • Other key elements of LASER are ongoing professional development, effective program and student assessment, curriculum materials supplied to teachers in ready-to-use condition, and the development of strong administrative and community support.

Washington State LASER2009 – 2010 EvaluationReport

  • Finding 2—The following characteristics were more likely to be observed among

    students by principals in science classes in high ranking schools (see Exhibit 28):

  • Clarity of Purpose—Students clearly understood why they were performing


  • Intellectual Engagement—Students were intellectually engaged with the


  • Science Discourse—Students had opportunities to make claims, use evidence

    to support their claims, or critique others’ claims.

  • Closure—Students had an opportunity to make sense out of how the lesson

    related to science concepts, and it was clear that most drew the appropriate


  • Metacognition—Students had an opportunity to reflect on their thinking and

    most could identify ways in which their thinking about the science concepts had changed.

Achievements in ten years of Action

  • 30 thousand trained teachers

  • More than 1 million students beneffited

Students beneffited in the scholar year 2011-2012

Thank you ¡¡¡

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