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Turning Young Children into Great Scientists
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background of Project: During their early years at school, children are provided with different learning environments, situations and opportunities which: a) stimulate their curiosity, b) develop their observation skills, c) promote a sense of inquisitiveness d) learn how to ask questions about how and why things work and exist and e) learn how to investigate objects and materials and their properties. Objectives of Project: This project will improve the teaching and learning of basic science concepts adapted to forty pupils aged between 6 to 9 years using informal education methods giving children the opportunity to gain first hand experience through direct involvement and hands on practice. Topics covered (please note section H) will be: a) Comparing and contrasting dwelling places of children living in Poland (North European country) with those of children living in Malta (Mediterrean country), b) Introducing the 3 R's : Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, c) Conservation of our environment and endemic habitats. d) Conservation of flora, fauna and animals. Profile of Participants: There will be 4 participants (SMT and teachers) from Zejtun Primary School and 4 participants (SMT and teachers) from Szkola Podstawowa who will take part in eight mobilities within a period of two years. Methodology used: a) The teacher exposes the topic of inquiry and provides a focus question or problem to enhance student interest and curiosity. b) The students, with their teacher as guide and animator begin to explore the question or problem presented. c) Observations and attempts will be made by the students to explain the problem or question. The teacher, as animator encourages students to elaborate on their reasoning and to explain their investigations. d) Evaluate findings. e) Teachers gain insight about children's understanding using simple drawings, in written form or orally. Members of the Senior Management Team (SMT) will observe other SMT members in their daily work at school as well as teachers during science lessons. Notes will be taken and discussed with the SMT of the host school. Teachers will visit classes and observe methods used in the teaching of science. Meetings with school staff will be organised to share experiences and good practice. Impact envisaged: This project aims towards encouraging children: a) understand the world around them by asking questions and seeking ways of answering these questions, b) investigate processes and circumstances by planning investigations, making observation, analysing evidence produced and draw conclusions, c) use simple scientific techniques appropriate to the task, d) link science to everyday life, e) explain how things work and are related to one another. The long term benefit: Through this project all children, irrespective of their abilities, and from their first years at school, will be helped to acquire and develop basic scientific skills. This will have a positive effect on the assessment and results obtained in the teaching and learning of science at their early years of schooling which would enhance a good basis towards further studies in science in the coming years.
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