Edited By Fernando J. Gonçalves, Ruth Pereira and Walter Leal Filho
Chapter 6: Experimental Science Activities and Environmental Education: A pivotal bridge
Chapter 6 Experimental Science Activities and Environmental Education: A pivotal bridge Sofia Marques, Ruth Pereira, Fernando Gonçalves Abstract The problem-solving activity described in this chapter began with a visit to a little stream flowing near the school. This place was already known by students and therefore it was the object of a more careful observation. After the visit, students used their notes to write a report. The students’ report revealed a striking fact – all of them believed that the stream was polluted. Their arguments were described, and polluting agents were identified. This preliminary field trip to the river allowed students to raise questions about the role of different freshwater species, and how these groups were affected by different anthropogenic activities (e.g. agriculture; physical disturbance of stream bed, etc.). Toxicity tests with freshwater molluscs were planned and performed by students to test the formulated hypothesis. The comments of students during the visit and their written reports formed the basis upon which a questionnaire was elaborated, focusing on environmental pollution. Students answered the questionnaire before and after the activities had been performed. Our purpose was to evaluate how the inquiry-based activity was successful in the acquisition of scientific knowledge. Students’ deep involvement during the different phases of the work indicated how important experimental activities are to science learning and how they can contribute to the development of skills among basic school students, such as critical thinking. Introduction The expression “experimental activity” is used to refer to a practical activity in which...
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