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Using historical reconstruction  to implement inquiry-based teaching in primary school

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  1. Using historical reconstruction to implement inquiry-based teaching in primary school Cécile de Hosson, Paris7-Diderot University (France)

  2. Teachers in primary school and science education “I’m afraid of teaching science because I don’t know about science” The use of history of science in training sessions can be a way to reconcile the teachers with the scientific contents. Belgrade, october 2007

  3. Inquiry process for active learning Children’s ideas Scientific content Question History of science Answers’attempt : Discussion Problem to be solved Model based approach Experiment based process Activity of documentation Technological process Share Conclusion Belgrade, october 2007

  4. History of science in science education • Provides the teachers with the students’ difficulties • Provides the students with a more comprehensive view of science • Gives turning-points that can inspire the teachers with pedagogical strategy Belgrade, october 2007

  5. Questions to be solved History of science • Similarities between ideas in the past and children’s reasoning : What can we do ? • Rediscovering scientific contents : Reality or illusion ? ? Tool for a learning pathway Belgrade, october 2007

  6. First example : Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes http://www.mapmonde.org/eratos/pdf/moduleen.pdf

  7. Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes In Egypt, about 2200 years ago, a papyrus drew attention of a certain Eratosthenes, then Director of the Great Library of Alexandria (a town located on the side of the Mediterranean Sea): it was about a vertical stick which, on the first day of summer (that is to say on June the 21st) and at noon local solar time, did not cast any shadow on the ground. This happened very far from Alexandria, straight to the South, in a town called Syene (now Aswan). However, Eratosthenes noticed from his side that in Alexandria, on June the 21rst also and at the same time, a stick vertically driven in the ground did cast a shadow, even if such a shadow was relatively short. What the hell was this mystery? We invite you to discover it by yourselves. This will lead you pretty far since, as Eratosthenes showed, the key of this mystery will allow you to measure the circumference of the Earth, nothing less! Belgrade, october 2007

  8. Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes Even if they know about the circular shape of the Earth, the pupils use a flat local space in their reasonning. Most of the pupils will draw the Sun on their sheet with divergent rays. Belgrade, october 2007

  9. Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes Belgrade, october 2007

  10. Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes The line between Aswan and Alexandria is a curve one ! Belgrade, october 2007

  11. Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes Some pupils use a spherical Earth for their explanation, BUT... They still draw the propagation of the sunlight with divergent rays. Belgrade, october 2007

  12. Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes This does not square with their observations The model of the divergent rays is not operational to explain both situations : it has to be changed ! Belgrade, october 2007

  13. Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes The stake of the learning-sequence is : The parallelism of the solar rays Belgrade, october 2007

  14. Following the footsteps of Eratosthenes Eratosthenes hypothesis : The parallelism of the solar rays Eratosthenes discovery : The sphericity of the Earth Children’s hypothesis : The sphericity of the Earth Children’s discovery : The parallelism of the solar rays ≠ Do children follow the footsteps of Eratosthenes ? The use of the Eratosthenes discovery involves an pedagogical orientated reading of the history of science. This reading is guided by what one knows about children’s ideas about light, about the shape of the Earth, etc. Belgrade, october 2007

  15. Seconde example : How did light became the stimulus of the eye ?

  16. Children’s ideas about light and vision • Vision is mostly explained in an eyeobject direction. • The role played by light is often limited to lighting. • The entry of the light into the eye is solely associated with dazzle and pain • The light stays on the objects when it is not strong enough to bounce Belgrade, october 2007

  17. Children’s ideas about light and vision Prof : Can you see the wall ? Clara : No. Prof : Why not ? Clara : Because of the light. It lights my eyes, It comes into my eyes, and it hurts. Prof : What could I do for you to see the wall ? Clara : You put less light on the wall. It will just stay on the wall and won’t come into my eyes… Clara, 5 years-old The light coming into the eyes prevents vision !!... • 45 min • Experiment • 25 children (5 years-old) • Interviews tape-recorded Belgrade, october 2007

  18. History of science Science education enables the researchers to explore the history of science in a different way… … In order to favour the children’s learning process Science education « Part of what I know about how to question dead scientists has been learned by examining Piaget’s interrogations of living children » Kuhn, The Essential tension, 1977. Belgrade, october 2007

  19. Questions • What can be the role played by science education (SE) in apprehending the history of science (HS) ? • How a didactically-orientated reading of the HS can be used in order to help the children admit that vision occurs through the light passing from a lit object to the eyes ? Belgrade, october 2007

  20. Exploring Ibn al-Haytham’s work Every lit object sends out some of the light it receives It is the property of sight to be affected by light (Dazzle) This affection can be compared with pain Belgrade, october 2007

  21. Light treated in a quantitative way “The effects of light in the eye vary only by more or less. But owing to the mild effect on the eye of weak and moderate lights they are not felt as pain”. Ibn al-Haytham, Kitab al manazir, book 1, chap. 6 Belgrade, october 2007

  22. Light treated in a quantitative way Not enough light Too much light Just enough light …sent out into the eyes Belgrade, october 2007

  23. SE ofr another reading of the HS Dazzle : • Obstacle for the children, considering the role played by the light in the mechanism of vision. • Starting point for a revolutionary theory of vision in Ibn al-Haytham’s work (Kitab al Manazir, chap. 4) What about the analogies ? Promote a learning pathway which appears to be spontaneously stopped by the children’s interpretation of vision and dazzle. Belgrade, october 2007

  24. HS for a teaching-learning sequence (TLS) in elementary optics « Dialogue on the way that vision operates » • 1h30 planned teaching learning sequence • 12 children (12-13 years-old) • Binomial interviews tape-recorded and transcribed Belgrade, october 2007

  25. HS for a teaching-learning sequence (TLS) in elementary optics • Is reasoning with quantity of light operational in other situations ? « This part on the wall is less lit, it sends out less light… » « …and this part sends more light » Kevin, 13 years-old Belgrade, october 2007

  26. HS and children ’s opinion • Elements of the history of science as a motivational factor : “It’s interesting to talk about people, what they did and what they thought before” (Julie). • Identification with the characters portrayed in the sequence as a positive aspect :  “What I said earlier (The eye sends a vision) was like the beginning of the text so I think it’s reassuring to see that some people had the same idea” (Océane). Belgrade, october 2007

  27. Conclusion • There is a difference between introducing HS into a science course and organizing a science course on historical grounds. • When a science educator uses HS as a guidelines for his course, he emphazises some aspects of HS sometimes ignored (or reduced) by historians and philosophers of science > historical reconstruction Belgrade, october 2007