From March to November 2021, 40 schools, 91 teachers, and 1359 students from Greece, Catalonia, Romania, the United Kingdom, and Brazil, participated in CONNECT’s pilot. The pilot consisted in the implementation of CONNECT’s science actions for open schooling, which can be open-ended or structured.
Every school and teacher involved in the pilots had the flexibility to choose the type of scenario and topic they wanted to implement in their classrooms, using the available guidelines and resources.
This is Mr. Dimitris Nikas’ testimonial, a science teacher from the High School of Kounoypidiana (Crete, Greece), with a class composed of 25 students of 13 to 14 years old.
The scenario selected in this class was the structured scenario for the topic “Rewilding”.
Rewilding is a form of ecological restoration which aims to reintroduce lost animal species back to ecosystems. It can create opportunities for ecological restoration, wildlife watching and sustainable use of natural resources.
The Rewilding science-action developed in CONNECT prepares students to plan a campaign presentation that will convince the public to rewild one animal.
Students will use their knowledge of interdependence, and the enquiry skills of weighing up evidence to support a claim.
According to Mr. Dimitris Nikas, the first task for the students was to choose the animal for rewilding Greece, where the students’ families were actively involved. Then, the repercussions of that decision were discussed in class, together with an invited scientist from the Natural Museum of history at Heraklion, Crete, Mrs. Iasmi Stathi, who answered any questions that were raised.
The students used CONNECT resources not only to make an educated choice of an animal to rewild Greece but also to make scientific arguments to justify their choice.
Following the last stages of CONNECT’s “CARE-KNOW-DO” principles, the students decided to take action by writing a letter of intent to government departments responsible for environmental issues.
Overall, the involvement in CONNECT pilot allowed students to make a scientific argument of their own, using science-action resources, enhancing their interest and confidence in science.
One of the main challenges when implementing this science-action was related to fitting the program into the school’s curriculum, however, despite the difficulties, two activities promoted in CONNECT’s methodology worked particularly well with the curriculum, namely:
In addition, it took some effort to keep the students focused, after the initial joy of participation had passed, but the students never complained about not being able to complete the task.
This was an enriching and positive experience for everyone involved, who is eager to participate in other science-actions powered by CONNECT.