News . Events CONNECT with LVM

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Care: Students have been actively involved in scientific and educational activities on plastic pollution, a real-life problem that has a significant impact on quality of life. The students who participated in the activities were from grades IX-XI, aged between 15-18 years, being approximately 85 students participating.

Know: Students used knowledge about plastics discovered in the discipline of chemistry – phases of biodegradation of plastics, chemical composition of plastic, stages of making biodegradable plastic, results obtained by researchers on the period of decomposition of biodegradable plastic in nature, etc. (describe scientific topics).  The competences that the students practiced were:

  • Brainstorming debates;
  • Carrying out individual or team projects through the aspects subject to research;
  • Involvement in volunteering and greening activities;
  • Discussions on the use of biodegradable materials and their decomposition in nature; 
  • Analysis of plastics (PET bottle, plastic bags, household bags, etc.);
  • Documentation to identify the real situation in the field;
  • Conducting information campaigns on the risks of White Pollution;
  • Explanation of symbols on packaging labels;

Do: At the end, students prepared posters, posters, thematic drawings, questionnaires, information campaign, research projects. They carried out the activities individually and in teams, being supported by their families, but also by volunteers from non-governmental organizations. 

Findings related to the Open Schooling approach: The activities carried out during the implementation of the Connect project were included in the curriculum. We can also mention that the materials provided were useful in preparing and implementing lessons with students. The topic addressed in Year 3 was also relevant and innovative from a scientific and educational point of view, being debated globally. Thus, students had the opportunity to know and experience individually the ways in which they can get involved in preventing and combating environmental pollution.  Open schooling could also be useful for other teachers because we can focus on transdisciplinarity and an exchange of good practices can be made between teachers who have implemented in year 2 and 3 and teachers who want to join us.

Student achievements: Students were enthusiastic to participate in volunteering and greening activities where they could observe, for example, the phases of biodegradation, but also connected with nature, helping to protect the environment and improve quality of life. 

The students involved have formed their scientific research skills, actively participating in the realization of projects and studies on White Pollution, being able to apply the knowledge learned after going through the support materials.

News . Events Sustainable development through environmental projects

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Care: The students were involved and interested in a real-life problem: to what extent the environment contributes to the sustainable development of mankind through planting trees by students, either from saplings or seeds.  The students who participated in the activities were of secondary level, aged 11-14 years.

Know: Students used knowledge about sustainable development, environment, food resources and environment.  The competences that the students practiced were:

– Analyzing the impact of technology development on the environment and society 

– Training the capacity for design, execution, evaluation, use and capitalization of products

– Evaluation of personal resources and formation of initiative and entrepreneurship spirit in career planning.

Do: In the end, students prepared posters and planted trees in the school garden, carried out the activities both in groups and individually, being supported by families and community members.

* Identifying the possibilities of capitalizing on food products of mineral, vegetable and animal origin 

*Analysis of links between food production activities and specific trades/professions

– Description of the main resources needed to carry out family production and consumption activities

Findings related to the Open Schooling approach: The activity is part of the curriculum at the school’s decision. It was useful, relevant, challenging, innovative and contributed to the formation of the above-mentioned skills. Open schooling could be challenging for other teachers as it contributes to civic spirit and sustainable development.

Student results: Students were interested in this type of project, because it adds value to sustainable development and environmental protection. They proved pleasure in carrying out practical activities and formed social-moral skills in Open Schooling. The most relevant comment of a sixth grader was: “The world develops from seed and everything is possible through the evolution of science and God’s care.”

News . Events Environmental education – monitoring of protected natural areas in Prahova County

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Care: Students were involved, interested or concerned about monitoring the state of forests Protected Natural Area – Plopeni Forest and Glodeasa Forest, a real-life problem, the vegetation state of the forest, the age of trees, the diameter of trees, their height.  Students who participated in the activities were 17-19 years old, eleventh and twelfth grades, forestry and natural sciences.

Know: Students used knowledge about forestry, environment, ecology.  The competences that students practiced were the ability to use measuring instruments, to correctly determine diameters, tree heights and appreciation of their ages, students’ questions were related to the composition of the forest and the presence of dead wood fallen to the ground that has not been extracted, maintenance of forest roads, information and clarifications that were presented and explained by both guiding teachers and partner representatives,  all of which can be found in individual student portfolios.  

Do: At the end, students prepared posters, campaign, infographic, video, interviews. They made PPT presentations, portfolios and were supported by families and representatives of the above-mentioned partners, former students of the college.

Findings related to the Open Schooling approach: The activity was framed in C.D.L., in the curriculum. It was useful, relevant, challenging, innovative, interesting and appealing, as evidenced by the attached photos. Open schooling could be useful for other teachers because it has an inter and transdisciplinary character – practical applications, worksheets from the work for obtaining the first didactic degree of Professor Ifrimu Iulia – Apprendre et developper le lexique du domaine forestier: approches didactiques en classe de FLE.

Results obtained  by students: Students were curious, pleasantly impressed, attracted by field trips, whose memory created confidence that they will become students of forestry and biology faculties in the future. As an example, one student mentioned: “it is much easier to determine the height of trees with state-of-the-art devices – vertices than with old dendrometers in the school’s equipment” which is relevant and related to their achievements.

News . Events Involvement saves the planet

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Care: Students were interested in learning about the negative environmental effects of plastic waste currently choking the planet, plastics disposal scenarios, and the advantages of using bioplastics over conventional plastics.  Students who participated in the activities are aged 17-18, twelfth grade, 26 in number, basic field: natural resources and environmental protection. 

Know: Based on the knowledge gained and by solving the tasks in the worksheets presented in the project, students developed skills of analysis and awareness of the negative effects of plastic on the environment and offered the opportunity to propose ways to reduce pollution with this type of waste. 

Do: In the end, students made informative leaflets about the negative effects of plastics, drawings and models about the need to reduce plastic use, thematic articles in the school magazine. Family members were also involved in the activities, together carrying out activities to reduce pollution and raise awareness of the transition from linear plastic consumption to circular consumption. 

Findings related to the Open Schooling approach: The activity is framed in the curriculum, within the environmental protection module, according to the qualification of the class that participated in the project. It was a challenging activity, which managed to actively involve students, families and members of the local community in collecting a large amount of plastics at school level, and from its capitalization was purchased planting material for the green space of the school. Open schooling could be challenging for other teachers as it provides opportunities to raise awareness of the need to reduce plastic use and build an environmental awareness that it passes on to students.

Student results: Students were actively involved and challenged in obtaining bioplastics from corn starch, acetic acid and glycerine and in selectively collecting a large amount of plastic mass. As an example, one student mentioned, “If we all use so much plastic and don’t stop, then we’re going to suffocate the Earth as fast as possible.” 

News . Events Mapping my school

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Care: Students were interested to find out if their school can be accessible in other persons with disabilities, a real-life problem that occurs due to the old building where the school is located. Students who participated in the activities were 24 boys and girls of age 13-14.

Know:  Students used knowledge about maps (general and thematic).  The skills that students practiced were to create specific questions about the access in the building, to analyze the data,  to create maps with the arcgis software, to discuss their findings and to write the conclusions of their study.

Do: At the end, students were worked in small groups of 3 or 4 persons, prepared  maps, create a story map, participated in a Greek Contest “Χαρτογραφώντας την προσβασιμότητα” and present their findings in the Greek Students Conference of the Connect project. They supported by their families and the local community of the school.  

Findings related to Open Schooling approach:  The activity fitted in the curriculum. It was useful for our class of geography because students create their own maps. It was also innovative due to the real problem of the access in the bulding of school . Open schooling might be helpful for other teachers because students learn by doing themselves. 

Change/innovation supported by:  [ x ] schoolhead  [   ] school association/network    [  ] local government 
                                                                [  ] Other:  _________________________________________

Students’ Outcomes: Students were create maps and a story map that includes all their work. A group of students participated in the Greek Student Conference for the Connect project and they feel confidence about the project. As an example, a students mentioned ” I enjoyed so much to participate in the Greek Students Conference!”, “ I like to create my own map, I can learn by myself what are the important elements of a map.”

This practice contributed to increasing: 

[ x  ] families’ engagement in science   [   ]  girls’ participation in science.  [   ] students’ science careers awareness  

 

Please justify: The school faces real problem as concerns the access for persons with disabilities. Students discussed with their families what they can do and what are the solutions in order to reduce this phenomenon.  

News . Events Investigation of potential sources of pollution on Lefkada by students of the 2nd Experimental Lyceum

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Care: Students were interested in and investigated the special characteristics of the island through the online collection of data on the natural & technical environment of Lefkada’s island. The pollution of the natural environment, especially the coastal shores is a real-life problem where in many cases, the natural environment can be turned into an unjustified receiver of pollutants by local and tourist activities. This could negatively affect the island’s natural environment in the future. The students who participated in the activities were twenty-one (21), male and female students of the A and B Grades of the 2nd Experimental Lyceum of Lefkada, aged 16-17.

 

Know: Students used knowledge about of Natural Sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Biology was used as a basis for understanding ecology and ecotoxicology. The skills that the students practiced were multiple such as:

  • Investigative method (inquiry-based learning) with question definition, research design, research conduct, results, resulting in the strengthening of students’ scientific thinking.
  • Application of scientific methodology and utilization of environmental science elements.
  • Cooperation with the scientific and local organizations of the island related to the environment.
  • Collaboration with universities and research institutions for information exchange.
  • Use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) to visualize the natural environment of Lefkada through the Google map and FILOTIS – Greek Nature Database, using the iNaturalistGR database.
  • Investigation and presentation of the work plan (development of critical thinking, creativity, communication).

 

Do: At the end, the students prepared an electronic informational material which they posted on the school’s website. This was after a metacognitive evaluation of the data on Lefkada’s geophysical characteristics and the potential areas of pollution on the island. They also published an article in the school newspaper about the natural environment of the island. In the article, the students proposed ways to protect the environment, especially in the summer months when tourism increases. With the help of the Biology teacher in charge, the

students created a poster that refers to their actions in relation to the study of biodiversity and the study of potential pollution areas on the island of Lefkada. In addition, the students’ work was presented at the annual event of the Excellence and Creativity Clubs and activities of the current school year 2023, at the 2nd Experimental Lyceum of Leukada. The President of the Governing Committee of the Model Experimental Schools, Mr. Tombras, the mayor of the city, teachers, representatives of local agencies, and students of the school were invited to the event. They completed the activities as a group and were supported by their family, and their classmates by sharing good practices and ideas. The parents were especially supportive of the students as they helped them search and record reports on the pollution phenomenon, twenty years ago on the island.

 

Findings related to Open Schooling approach: The activity was fitted and adapted to the curriculum as it combined chapters from Natural Science courses including Biology, Physics and Chemistry. The activity is an innovation in education because through it students can use scientific data and elements to solve problems in their daily life, such as issues of ecological balance and environmental pollution (decision-making ability). The purpose of this activity is the cultivation of citizenship, where students, as tomorrow’s citizens and/or bioscientists, are called upon to make decisions about the environment, health, safety, and, in general, about any category of challenge that will arise from the applications of Biology/Ecology in our society. Open schooling might be both useful and challenging for teachers because it promotes students’ active participation by creating learning environments that will be governed by the principles of modern teaching methodology, such as inquiry learning and experiential and communicative approaches, encouraging critical thinking and creativity.

 

Change/innovation supported by: [X] schoolhead  [X] school association/network    [X] local government

[ ] Other:   

 

Students’ Outcomes: The students initially showed a great interest in getting to know the natural and artificial environment of their island. In the Informatics laboratory, they watched a video showing the natural environment of Lefkada such as habitats, lagoons, and mountains combined with the human-made environment i.e. houses and tourist accommodations. The online Webex communication with the scinetist Dr.Vasilios Drosos, professor of the Department of Forestry and Environmental and Natural Resources Management of the Democritus University of Thrace, excited the students because they were given the opportunity to answer their key questions about pollution and the environment and to participate in a discussion as responsible and active members of an action. Students, as the most dynamic part of society, were receptive to learning during the seminar. This created a climate of mutual trust and interaction between the scientist and students. Furthermore, the students were excited about the use of google map, iNaturalist database and Filotis database for mapping and locating cities of Lefkada with a greater percentage of pollution with the use of software even though they were initially cautious. Some of the students mentioned “Is it possible that the software we find very easily on the internet can provide us with such a large amount of information?”, “Can we also map the other islands in the Ionian Sea?”.

 

This practice contributed to increasing:

[X] families’ engagement in science   [X] girls’ participation in science.  [X] students’ science careers awareness

 

Please justify: The contribution of the students’ families was decisive in the success of the activity. This is because they helped the students search and record reports on the phenomenon of pollution twenty years ago on the island and compare them with today’s data. The participation rate of female students in the total number of students who participated in the activity was expected to be 52.4% (11/21). A large percentage of students expressed an interest in the following professions related to the Schools of Health Sciences (Medicine, Biosciences, Nursing) and Positive Sciences (Physics, Chemistry).

News . Events Discovering the natural wealth of the White Mountains using ICT

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Care: The students were engaged in recording and studying the threats and risks facing our Ecosystems and in particular the White Mountains National Park. The students who participated in the activities were 10 years old and went to Primary D. There were two sections and a total of 35 students participated in the program.

Know: The skills the students practiced was to explore the Samaria Gorge through ICT. The students initially dealt with understanding how to read, orient and process a digital map (GIS) as well as the possibilities of GPS. With the help of electronic files received from the Samaria National Forest Management Body and the use of the Google Earth computer application, they managed to see the path of the canyon but also to learn how to read and orient a map. Also through the Geogreece website they found information about the flora and fauna of our country, the National Forests and the habitats that exist. From the information they collected each group proposed 3 questions and thus each department made a Quiz.
To create the quiz they used the kahoot application. Then they visited the Spatial Information Systems laboratory of the Technical University of Crete. There they were welcomed by the professor and head of the laboratory, Mr. Partcinevelos Panagiotis, where, together with his research team, he guided them around the premises of the laboratory and together they discussed the use of IT systems in the representation of maps, as well as automatic geo-location systems (GPS ). In particular, they saw how they can use drones with built-in GPS to prevent fires and other natural disasters as well as to rescue people in the Samaria gorge. They also created a real relief map of the Samaria area using the Sandmap tool.

Do: At the end, the students prepared a model of the Samaria gorge and the Portes point in comparison. Then they built a fire alarm mechanism using the Arduino microcontroller. This mechanism was designed and programmed through the tinkercad application with the help of the students of the third grade of the school. Thus they completed the activities as a group and supported by their family and the school’s High School. The presentation of their work took place at the Connect Student Conference on May 21, 2022. Conclusions about Open Schooling:

The activity was integrated into the curriculum. It was a challenge since, on the one hand, the Informatics, Artistic and Laboratory Skills courses had to be combined and all this in
collaboration with the scientific community. Open schooling can be useful for other teachers because the pedagogical use of ICT transforms traditional teaching practices and enhances the active involvement of students in all phases of the teaching process. The participation of scientists in this process did not confuse the students but helped them to deepen the topic they studied.

The change/innovation was supported by:

[ x ] School management [ x ] school association/network
[ x ] Local government [ ] Other: ________________________________

Student results: The students saw the program positively, they were excited by the use of technological means in every phase of the program and they participated very actively in it. Concerns were raised regarding the dangers and threats facing our ecosystems, but they were particularly encouraged by both their proposal to deal with fires through an electronic self-construction and the fact that there are scientists working on their protection.

This practice contributed to the increase of:
[ x ] engaging families with sciences [ x ] involving girls in science [ x ] raising awareness among students about careers in the natural sciences

Please specify: The students interacted with technological tools and applications in order to learn and understand their usefulness.

News . Events Wildlife in Greece-Dangers, Threats, Protection: The Fauna and Flora of Messara

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Care: Students were concerned about the decline in the population of some animals in our area, which they learn live in our area but don’t see often. The students who participated in the activities were the 18th-grade students (10 years old) of Petrokefali Primary School.

Learning: Students used knowledge of the area’s land and sea flora and fauna. The skills that the students practiced were creative and critical thinking, collaboration, construction and analysis and production of informative content.

Do: In the end, the students prepared posters and prepared a local community awareness campaign. They completed the activities as a group and were supported by their families, local cultural associations, the municipality and the school’s Parents and Guardians Association. Conclusions about Open Schooling: The activity was integrated into the curriculum. It was an innovative program linked to the skills workshops implemented for the first time in the 2021-2022 school year. Open schooling can be useful for other teachers because it provokes interest and involvement directly and indirectly. The change/innovation was supported by: The school management, the teachers’ association, the parents’ and guardians’ association, the Cultural Association of Kalamaki, the Municipality of Phaistos. Student results: The students were enthusiastic throughout the implementation of the program. They were willing to undertake actions outside the school framework by involving the family and the local community. As an example, the students suggested that we visit other areas and intervene to protect them as well as return to them to monitor their condition.

Student results: Students were active and active during the research process. They were consistent in the work they each undertook in their group and seemed to assimilate relatively easily the scientific knowledge they needed to use. Their familiarity with NTs was very helpful in all dealing with digital hardware and software. They learned how a scientific study is structured and how it is conducted. They seemed to enjoy the role of researcher to the point of engaging in the tasks of the other groups as well. As an example, one student mentioned “Did you see, ma’am, that I can work in other groups and not just the one I’m in?” Their activation productively cultivated the speech skills of both production and comprehension of oral and written texts.

News . Events The “cycle” of plastic

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Care: The students addressed a real problem, which is the impact of plastics on the food they come into contact with and thus on our health, and their presence as microplastics in the food chain. They were concerned about the amount of plastic they use at individual and family level in terms of food and recorded it in a shared document. The labelling of plastics was another interesting element to investigate. They were interested in the fate of plastics after use, both in the disposal sites and in the recycling sites. Also, the possibility of replacing them with other less harmful materials.The students who participated in the activities belonged to a class of 22 students in the second grade of high school, aged 16-17 years old.

Know: Students used chemistry knowledge about polymers, both artificial and natural. The technology of plastics is not taught in school and so students are not aware of the problems associated with their safe use. Thus, through the project, they investigated the safety of plastics in terms of their use in food packaging and storage (the material to be studied accompanying the scenario was posted on eclass).

They produced a bioplastic from a potato (following research) and investigated the role of the plasticiser. They filmed the experiment and entered it into an official competition of video experiments (PANECFE). They also tried to produce bioplastic from milk. They simulated a plastic recycling plant (sorting by type of plastic using special labelling). They proposed an experimental test to determine the type of unlabelled plastic, following research.

They worked in groups to investigate microplastics (sources, shape, size, airborne dispersion) using an online activity and a prototype worksheet. They studied recent articles on the detection of microplastics in the human body. To resolve questions and obtain additional information they contacted research scientists via videoconferencing.

The skills the students practiced were:

  1. searching, evaluating and using information from the internet
  2. scientific methodology (hypothesis, experiment, conclusion) – design and implementation of an experiment
  3. critical thinking
  4. decision-making after discussion
  5. cooperation with peers within the programme and other European school programmes (Erasmus+ , European Parliament Ambassador School Programme)
  6. communication with scientists
  7. synthesis of opinions and formulation of proposals
  8. digital creation
  9. the use of collaborative digital tools
  10. linking academic knowledge to everyday life.

Do: In the end, the students prepared

  1. a podcast on the European School Radio platform about the project (in cooperation with our school’s Erasmus+ programme)
  2. a proposal which they submitted to the Future of Europe Conference (Objective: Sustainable Development – Health and Well-being) and to the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs’ conference simulation platform (in cooperation with the European EPAS programme)
  3. an information leaflet on the correct use and disposal of plastics, for distribution to families and schools
  4. poster on the creation and impact of microplastics, to be displayed in schools
  5. presentation for participation in the National Student Conference CONNECT 2022.

Note: all relevant documents and links are posted on the CONNECT platform Completed the activities as a team and supported by the families, the school’s management and the Teachers’ Association

Conclusions on Open Schooling: The activity was integrated into the curriculum. The proposed scenario was enriched with additional activities following the students’ interests and current events (see microplastics). It was extremely useful and innovative, combining research – communication with scientists – collaboration with European school projects – creation, highlighting a problem of everyday life that is not directly perceived and quite prominent (creation and presence of microplastics). Open schooling can be useful for other teachers because it enables them to open up educational horizons. They do not remain attached to the textbook and curriculum but are able to explore topics of everyday interest developing scientific thinking in students.

The change/innovation was supported by:

[ x ] School management [ x ] school association/network
[ x ] Local government [ ] Other: ________________________________

Student results: The students were very pleased with the opportunity to meet scientists and get information from them. Their participation in every kind of creation (experiment, poster, podcast…) excited them. By the end of the project they were more confident in presenting and scientifically supporting their knowledge. As an example, a student with a low communication profile claimed his participation in the CONNECT Student Conference, worked diligently to prepare for it and represented our team deservedly.

This practice contributed to the increase of:
[ x ] engaging families with sciences [ x ] involving girls in science [ x ] raising awareness among students about careers in the natural sciences

Please specify: Families were actively involved in the first stage, helping to identify the link between plastics and food and the problem they pose. The children’s mothers and their brothers and sisters were mainly involved. The girls made up the vast majority of the class and were very enthusiastic during the project. Of these, most will pursue Science Studies.

News . Events I capture through photography the problems of my place and apply solutions

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Care: The planet is facing many problems of different kinds. But often we need to start with the simple problems of our community in order to find sustainable solutions that will last. In this way, we become familiar with the ‘culture of active citizenship’, learn to find solutions, implement them and take a keen interest in our neighbourhood. Every neighbourhood has its own problems, which often apply to the wider context of our city. Thus, the 16 pupils of E2 class of our school decided to deal with the problems of their neighbourhood.

Know: The educational scenario “I capture through photography the problems of my place and implement solutions” aimed to motivate students to connect their knowledge about light, to use the tool of photography, to depict problems of their wider neighbourhood and then, to find solutions, to implement and show them in the form of a multimodal installation.

Do: The students photographed the various problems in their neighbourhood, grouped them together and then found solutions for each one. In particular, they contacted the city’s kennel, interviewed volunteers and in consultation with them collected food for the strays. They then sent a letter to the town hall secretary citing problems with the sidewalk, trash and some large trees in the area. Finally, they made their own leaflets about illegal parking and distributed them in the area. They also made and placed recycling bins in various places (outside the school).
Conclusions on Open Schooling: This project opened the classroom to the local community. The students looked forward to doing the project at different times of the day, as everything they made, wrote and created had a direct impact on their daily lives and was characterized by an actual and concrete “meaning”.

The contact with scientists and community stakeholders was particularly helpful and gave the children added interest.

The change/innovation was supported by:

[ x ] School management [ x ] school association/network
[ x ] Local government [ ] Other: ________________________________

Student results: The students organized a multimodal installation in the classroom and presented in various forms what they did through the project. They made artworks, games, added sound and image to their thoughts and actions. The exhibition seemed “fantastic”, “special” and “interesting” as the visiting parents described it.

This practice contributed to the increase of: the Director of 41th Primary school of Heraklion [ x ] engaging families with sciences [ x ] involving girls in science [ x ] raising awareness among students about careers in the natural sciences

Please specify: All students participated and cooperated. The result was very encouraging for all of us. Girls and boys found motivation and interest in the activities. Parents were delighted with the enthusiasm of their children and worked very well together.

News . Events Gorges and ravines of Crete: discovering the beauty of the land of gorges

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Care: The students were interested in the natural wealth of their country and specifically in the gorges of Greece and Crete with the main concerns being the clarification of the concept of gorge, the identification of the main gorges of both Greece and Crete and most importantly the preservation of the natural wealth of these steep routes. For this reason, after class discussion, it was considered necessary to investigate the flora and fauna of the gorges of Crete and the dangers that threaten them, with the ultimate goal of taking measures for their protection. The pupils who participated in the activities were thirty-four, aged about 9 and 12, from section 1 of 3rd grade and section 3 of the 6th grade of the 34th Primary School of Heraklion.

Know: The students used knowledge from Science, Geography, Language, Social and Civic Education, History, Visual Arts, Computer Science and Theatre Education. The skills practiced by the students were multiple such as processing questions and conducting research, recording interview questions, selecting key words from a text and creating a mind map, producing written discourse, collecting information, processing it and analysing data to draw conclusions, becoming familiar with the scientific way of research and data analysis, developing collaboration and effective communication skills.

Do: In the end, the students prepared projects on the main theme of the gorges as well as compositions with nature plants from the field visits, conceptual maps with the most important data from the meetings with expert scientists, a presentation with the progress of the work plan for the CONNECT project conference and helped in the creation of two videos through photos and information brought to the class about the most important gorges of Greece and Crete. They completed the activities as a team and with the support of their family, their classmates and the teachers who implemented this project. At the same time, there was an exchange of good practices and ideas between younger and older students, as the project involved the cooperation of children from the 3rd and 6th grades.

Conclusions on Open Schooling: The activity was integrated and adapted to the curriculum as it involved chapters from Language, History, Social and Civic Education, Geography, Visual Arts, Computer Science and Drama. It was an innovative programme that had the ultimate aim of learning through the mobilisation of all the pupils’ senses, bringing them into contact with the natural wealth of their place, raising their awareness of environmental protection issues and making them take personal responsibility for the preservation of our natural heritage. Open schooling can be both useful and challenging for teachers because it seeks to learn through events experienced by the student while at the same time changing the venue of the lesson from the confines of the classroom to research in the field of observation.

The change/innovation was supported by:

[ x ] School management [ x ] school association/network
[ x ] Local government [ ] Other: ________________________________

Student results: The students were enthusiastic both during the implementation of the project and during the field visits. Initially, the activity of gathering information about the gorges of Crete, which required cooperation with their parents, piqued their interest. At the same time, their contribution to the creation of both the videos and the presentation for the CONNECT students’ conference made them feel like fellow travellers in a common goal. In addition, the children were enthusiastic about the field trips and activities that took place before and after the visit. Specifically, they observed the flora of the gorges during the visit to the Spiliotissa gorge, which was explained to them by an employee of the Heraklion Forestry Service,
they identified the threats and dangers of visiting a similar place, they tasted the joy of hiking following the instructions of a member of the Heraklion Hiking Club, they imagined and wrote stories with fairies and elves inspired by tales of their local folklore, they approached the gorges historically as hideouts of their ancestors during the wars and as trade routes, they created artistic compositions with nature materials and above all they enjoyed playing in the safe natural environment. A third grade student said after the project:

‘I didn’t know that our place has such ornaments, madam. I told my parents and we went to cross the Spiliotissa Gorge this weekend” while a sixth-grade student: “I enjoyed most of all the creations we made with our hands. We got muddy, dirty, created and …….all good”. Finally a sixth form pupil reported: “CONNECT made us bond as a team. I will never forget everything we all accomplished together!”.

This practice contributed to the increase of:
[ x ] engaging families with sciences [ ] involving girls in science [ ] raising awareness among students about careers in the natural sciences

Please specify: It is undeniable that this practice contributed to the families’ engagement with science as the first activity carried out by the children was to find information and pictures about canyons. A prerequisite for carrying out this activity was the supervision of the whole activity by the parents and providing guidance as to what information was necessary to include. Finally, the participation of parents and students together with the class teachers in a student hike in the village of Krousonas, organized by the Heraklion Hiking Club, helped them to understand the importance of contact with nature. At the same time, the young students learned about the science of forestry and the profession of forestry through the visit of an employee of the forestry service to our school.

News . Events Integrated approach to scientific research process

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Care: The students wondered about the origin but also the future of the pink sand on the famous and highly touristic beaches of western Crete. A real problem that concerns the local community for reasons both ecological and mainly economic. The question that caught the students’ interest was “what is pink sand and how long will it continue to exist?” They were asked to discuss this question in the form of a questionnaire with their relatives and record their answers. These answers, which highlighted the essential ignorance of the local community about the “pink sand” phenomenon, were investigated in the laboratory and thoroughly discussed in the following months. The students who participated in the activities were students of 1st and 3th grade of High School and mainly of two specific classes of A1 and C1, where I was supporting teacher. The main research core consisted of two mixed age groups with a total of 17 students. Many more students from other departments also participated in the various activities, excursions, briefings and visits, fulfilling to a large extent my expectation to be informed, through participation and to stimulate curiosity about the program, of almost the entire school.

Know: The students used knowledge about single-celled organisms, food webs, the systematic classification of organisms into categories based on how they feed and how they use energy, fossils, marine biodiversity, ecology, human intervention, pollution and contamination, microplastics , mainly knowledge from the field of biology but also physics and chemistry (eg elementary nomenclature of chemical elements).

The skills the students acquired through continuous practice were using a stereoscope and microscope, using laboratory forceps, precision weighing, observing and creating data for analysis, discussing claims and evidence, collaborating both with each other and with research agencies i.e. teamwork. They understood how important the scheduling is in a research process and in general. How conclusions are made and how they are presented to the general public. They experienced media and conference presence and practiced what is called “communicative courage”. Although the skills listed below, are not skills in the strict sense of the term, I believe that self-discipline and self-confidence were successfully practiced especially in the students who “carried the burden” of publicizing our research.

Do: At the end, the students prepared a powerpoint presentation of our research, took micro-photographs and sent material (sand) to Germany where the foraminifera species were identified and entered on the website foraminifera.eu. They completed the activities working as a team under my guidance. Our research work was presented at the student conference organized by the Regional Directorate of Education of Crete and the CONNECT program, while we also presented the topic on a local TV Station. Conclusions on Open Schooling: The activity was not integrated into the timetable or the curriculum exactly. However, it accompanied, and through the research he gave meaning and explained basic material of high school biology, mainly about cells, food webs, the systematic classification of organisms into basic categories based on how they feed and how they utilize energy, fossils, marine biodiversity, ecology, pollution and contamination etc. Apart from these, through the sensitive microscopic organisms we were studying, we dealt with and discussed issues such as climate change and the way it can affect them as well as more generally human intervention and activities such as tourism, while they were given the opportunity to come into contact in practice in terms and concepts such as microenvironment, pseudopods, plasma membrane, indicator organisms, etc.

But, because our work was essentially primary research, the students came into contact with the process of producing new knowledge. They saw the exciting, gratifying and sometimes painful aspects of the research process. The complexity of biological issues and the multitude of factors that need investigation. In other words, they understood experientially the importance of asking questions, organizing them and studying them. They also understood that this is a team effort and that collaboration with other scientists and agencies is absolutely essential. They understood that not everything has been discovered and that not all the answers are in a mobile phone… They saw that scientists do not know everything, that they disagree
and make mistakes (eg at first we thought that the pink grains are broken corals, then there was a disagreement about the how deep the particular foraminifers live). They got a first idea of how important different views and approaches are in science and saw that there are no absolute truths and that biology is full of “exceptions”. They learned the importance of questioning and practiced deductive thinking.

For all the above reasons, I believe that the program was a challenge since it was largely about research in “deep unknown waters”, it was innovative and of course many times useful, mainly because it was understood that science is not something distant but something everyday that deals with ” our own questions” and that we can “use it too”, while also due to the pleasant way in which it was carried out it contributed to the creation of a positive attitude of children towards science and especially biology.

Experiential open schooling education is more than important to escape from the “museum” perception and practice of “transferring” knowledge provided by the Greek school. A common “argument” of the children is “and where will I need all this?”. The teaching material is far removed from the daily life of the students, or at least it seems so since the connection with the daily life is not made and the provided knowledge is not used to solve questions, searches and problems that children have. Practical – experiential and seemingly non-material activities, at least for the field of natural sciences, I think are not only useful but necessary especially at these ages when children should have the opportunity to show off their inclinations, preferences and “talent” and acquire a positive attitude towards science.

For some teachers, these practices may be a problem because they are out of the ordinary and need to be informed and above all to act outside the context in which they have learned. In other words, it needs work. But they ignore the “rejuvenating” effect that these practices have both on the way we as teachers perceive our work and on the relationships with students and parents, which are significantly upgraded. When children get excited about something, they talk about it at home and parents realize if the child goes to school happily.

The change/innovation was supported by:

[ x ] School management [ x ] school association/network
[ x ] Local government [x ] Other: Parents

Student results: The core of students that finally formed after 2-3 weeks were very cooperative, consistent and hardworking. Participation was high from the beginning with few drop-outs, mainly due to other activities at the same time or the bus schedule (many children in our school came from distant villages), but also with new entries “on the way”. And the fact that our meetings were held every Friday, that is, on the last day of the week, after the end of the program clock, and they participated for an hour or two more
shows, that their process was pleasant. Several even came from villages relatively far away and were awake very early in order to come to school.

In the 3 educational trips we carried out (KPE Vammos, Elafonissi and MAICH) many more students participated, so that the cost of transportation could be covered but also because I wanted an expanded participation in general so that our research could be embraced by the whole school. We always combined research with free time and sports, especially at the MAICH where we carried out an important part of our research, since the professional micro-photographs took place there, while overall its facilities were offered for many parallel activities. The goal was of course to make the whole process as pleasant as possible.

I consider this goal to have been achieved. To quote the words of a student: “I hated biology, I was thinking of becoming a philologist, but now I’m thinking of becoming a biologist” or, others, “this is how school should be”, “scientists have a good time”, etc.

In terms of learning outcomes, starting with the simplest ones, eg converting lt to ml, gr to mgr for the needs of weighing. The clarification of the difference in volume and mass, up to specialized knowledge about marine biology, such as:

  • what are foraminifera; they are not shells and which creatures we call shells,
  • what is meant by a decomposer, an autotrophic and a heterotrophic organism,
  • what is the life cycle, and other questions that are difficult to determine since the questions and discussion often arose spontaneously.

This practice contributed to the increase of:
[ x ] engaging families with sciences [ x ] involving girls in science [ x ] raising awareness among students about careers in the natural sciences

  1. The subject of pink sand is something that concerns the daily life of the residents of the area, so there was a relative curiosity from the start anyway. Initially, the opinion of the parents was asked to be recorded, and not only, regarding “what is the reason”, “if there is a decrease in the phenomenon”, “if you think it is in danger of disappearing”. Then some parents who deal with the sea gave us important information and also brought samples very important for our search about where they live (depth distance from the shore) and in what form they are first washed up as pink grains of “sand”. There have been parents who have expressed to me their personal interest and their desire to help in whatever is needed. Also, no one raised an issue or refused to pay when needed for our travel on educational trips. All this shows that the program was accepted and therefore, even just by talking with their children, some parents more or less engaged in science through it.
  2. The girls in our school, and in general I believe, have a better presence in the classroom and in the lessons than the boys, at least on average. Nevertheless, there are stereotypes and prejudices against science and mathematics. Many girls have the opinion that they don’t understand maths, physics or chemistry. The subject of biology, at least in our school, was not very popular. However, slightly more girls than boys participated in the program. Most of the students were hardworking and responsible, participating and asking questions. In my opinion, on the contrary to what they wanted to believe, some of them are, “born researchers”. They were oblivious to the microscope, while being particularly skilled with the tools and inventive in the way they carried out the activities. Through the program inclinations were encouraged and revealed. One student revealed that she liked to observe and photograph spiders, but had never shared it with her friends since “spider observation” is not considered a “female activity”. Along with the foraminifera, we also worked on and identified the student’s spiders, something that the others eventually found interesting as well. The girls enjoyed working with the laboratory and microscopes as well as tinkering with the tweezers. The visit to the Mediterranean Agricultural Institute of Chania (MAICH) where all the research staff we met were female biologists and agronomists, I believe contributed to breaking the convenient stereotypes of female students. However, if I judge from their reaction, the publicity of our research in the media and at the conference
    played a role. Apart from the fact that they want to make their own people happy, girls at this age are very involved with celebrities, social networks and want to project themselves in a corresponding way. They like to have an audience. It is characteristic that both in the presentation at the conference and in our presence on Crete TV, no boy wanted to appear in any way, while most of the girls, on the contrary, wanted to and showed remarkable seriousness and discipline throughout the preparation of the presentation. Our 16-minute appearance in a midday light show of general interest on Crete TV, with TV presenters from the modeling field, was important, I believe, in showing some girls that science and these areas are not completely incompatible after all. How the “beautiful” appreciate and admire science and there is general acceptance and appeal. That various avenues open up through research, which may include publicity. Likewise with the conference, although online, the fact that they will be seen by students from many parts of Greece appealed to the girls, especially since they were convinced of the importance of our work. In conclusion, I believe that the area in which the program was most successful was in relation to girls and their engagement in science.
  3. The reasons I mentioned above also apply to boys. Therefore, as a whole, through a research process, the students came into contact with the real tangible world of natural sciences, which is admittedly if not always exciting, certainly interesting. In summary, I will dare to “predict”, although this also depends on their teachers in the years to come, that this High School will produce natural scientists…

News . Events In the steps of a lynx

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Care: The students studied a real problem concerning the reintroduction of the lynx that has disappeared from the Greek area. The students who participated in the activities were 12, aged 17, from the 3rd grade of EPAL.

Know: Students used knowledge of food chains and food webs. Students practiced being able to describe the effects of ecological restoration on an ecosystem. They also learned to weigh evidence to support or refute a claim.

Do: At the end, the students, with the help of the teacher, prepared a map using the ArcGIS program showing the lynx population by country, as well as the project poster. They completed the activities as a group, supported by their families.

Conclusions on Open Schooling: The activity was integrated into the curriculum. It was innovative because the general knowledge they had about food chains was applied to a real problem. Open schooling can be useful for other teachers because it helps students learn experientially and develop metacognitive skills..

The change/innovation was supported by:

[ x ] School management [] school association/network [] Local government [ x ] Other: Regional Directorate of Education, Natural Hostory Museum

Student results: The students were happy with the app as they were able to apply their knowledge to solve a real problem. As an example, one student mentioned “it’s nice to learn in a different way what we do in class”.

This practice contributed to the increase of:
[ x ] engaging families with sciences [ x ] involving girls in science [ x ] raising awareness among students about careers in the natural sciences

Please specify: Student participation was universal regardless of gender, performance, presence or absence of learning disabilities.

News . Events A journey into evolution with the help of elephants’ tusks

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Care: The students were interested in a real problem, which is how elephants lose their tusks and cannot attack or defend themselves in the environment they live in. This problem was said among others and the students voted it as the most interesting for further study and research. Twenty-two students participated in the activities. The students were 13-14 years old and attend 2nd grade of High School.

Know: The students used knowledge of Biology and in particular topics of natural selection and evolution. The skills students practiced were collaboration and communication, critical thinking, question processing, discussion, digital literacy, creativity and reasoning.

Do: At the end, the students prepared a game, presentations, interviews, interactive map, experiments and a storymap. They completed the activities as a group or individually, supported by their families. Conclusions on Open Schooling: The activity was integrated into the curriculum. The activity was innovative because for the first time the students were asked what problems they had heard or experienced and really wanted to deal with. For this reason, the students discussed in plenary after they had also discussed with their families and voted for what they considered the most interesting topic. Open schooling can be useful but also challenging for teachers and teachers because they are usually involved in problems outside the standard curriculum such as climate change etc.

The change/innovation was supported by:

[ x ] School management [ x ] school association/network [] Local government [ ] Other: ________________________________

Student results: The students were participative, interested from the beginning to the end of the project. They got in touch with their parents and relatives to ask them questions and get interviews. They worked as a team and through communication they achieved tangible results. They played a game that they created themselves and that was related to the topic of the project. They made presentations on various related topics. A group of students presented the work of all the students at a student conference organized by the Regional Directorate of Crete.

This practice contributed to the increase of:
[ x ] engaging families with sciences [] involving girls in science [ x ] raising awareness among students about careers in the natural sciences

Please specify: A seemingly “innocent” and “irrelevant” observation a student had about a population of elephants raised many questions for the students to investigate and discuss with the appropriate scientists. The families were interviewed at the beginning of the project but also during it in order to give their own opinions and some due to profession were interviewed through an interview by the students themselves. Students became aware of the environment and climate change.

News . Events Landscape and Renewable Energy Sources (RES)

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Care: The students dealt with the issue of the integration of RES in the landscape, a real problem that occupied the students of Tinos in view of the massive installation of wind turbines in the landscape of Tinos. The students who participated in the activities were twenty-eight (28), 14-year-old students of the 2nd Class of the High School.

Know: The students used knowledge about the role and importance of RES considering their rational integration in landscapes and ecosystems, considering their functions and value.

The skills the students practiced were:

  • question processing,
  • data analysis,
  • discussion of claims and evidence,
  • drawing or drawing conclusions,
  • familiarity with the ways and stages of conducting a research,
  • familiarity with techniques for searching, evaluating and presenting information through a variety of sources,
  • development of collaboration, creative expression and presentation skills.

Do: At the end, students put their knowledge into practice by doing field research. A 2-day Educational Visit was made to the landscape of the paths of Andros (in collaboration with KPE Korthiou). The program of the visit included group work in and outside the field, namely: Practical-Experiential Part: hiking, information, observation, photography, exploration and activities, landscape experience with all the senses.

In detail, the practical-experiential part contained:

  • Observation and recording of field characteristics
  • Familiarity with the space through all the senses
  • Perception of space through various games
  • Identification of species of flora (mainly) and fauna
  • Map reading
  • Completing worksheets
  • Presentation of the habitats of Andros and the most important historical stations
  • Discussion about the needs of the people who created the landscape of Andros.

Creative Part: recording of valuable elements and problems of the landscape and ecosystem, discussion related to threats and proposals for better management. The result was a group presentation of the results of all work groups through a powerpoint work, which was presented by student representatives at an event organized by the High School of Tinos at the Spiritual Center of the Holy Foundation of Evangelistria on Thursday 25 May 2022 at 19.00, in which they took part and their parents/guardians. The presentation emerged from the discussions with the scientists in the context of the “learn” section and from the practical-experiential part of the training which included filling in worksheets (of the KPE), individual notes and group discussions.

The parents/guardians of the students who participated in the CONNECT program were informed about its content both in person (those who visited the school) and electronically with frequent messages describing the activities. This ensured as active an involvement as possible them in the whole project (a fact that helped to cultivate the scientific capital). The results of their program were presented extensively at a live event organized by the school.

Conclusions on Open Schooling: The action was not embedded in the curriculum, but indirectly related to it. It was useful and innovative as it related to the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes (as discussed below). Open schooling can also be useful for other teachers because it can combine knowledge and apply it in the field (eg identifying and valuing natural and cultural wealth of an area)..

The change/innovation was supported by:

[ x ] School management [ ] school association/network [ ] Local government [ ] Other: ________________________________

Student results: The students showed interest in the thematic subjects of the program, submitted questions and participated in discussions. They took into account what the scientists conveyed to them and a relationship of trust was cultivated. This was reflected in the results of the action. Notably, there were also examples of relatively weak students showing great interest in the collaborative method and field research and taking initiatives. They responded with particular enthusiasm to the educational visit (outside the island), which was an important motivation for their activation at all levels of thinking and action.

This practice contributed to the increase of:

[ ] engaging families with sciences [ x ] involving girls in science [ x ] raising awareness among students about careers in the natural sciences

Please specify: Parents participated in the collection of questionnaires for the student survey. The girls actively participated in the mapping and literature review and in general all students showed a special interest in digital maps and the contribution of geomorphological terrain to road construction.

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