Working together to promote science education in Europe
Nucleus brings together five European projects that have been selected for funding under the 'European Science Education Initiative' launched by the European Commission in 2004. Each of these five projects involves many partners from across Europe, all of them sharing the same goal: To reach thousands of teachers through directly involving them in activities and through providing them with vital new resources in the area of science education.
This “star” thus has several satellites that all rotate around the same centre.
The “satellites” are called PENCIL, ESTI, CISCI, Scienceduc and Volvox. Each of them is shining on its own and worth a closer look.
PENCIL (Permanent European Resource Centre for Informal Learning)
PENCIL combines field programmes and academic research that transform informal science activities into innovative tools for science teaching.
Science centres and science museums are creating networks involving schools, pupils, teachers associations, research laboratories, educational authorities, education and science communication specialists to run “pilot projects” on new ways to conduct science teaching.
Scienceduc (Renovation of Science Teaching with Inquiry Based Methods)
The development of society depends on the intellectual and moral development of mankind. It is thus vital that we give children a basis in scientific and technical knowledge.
The renovation of science education based on the principle of an inquire-type teaching has been launched in the last decade in a number of countries (USA, France, Sweden, China) but has now become a worldwide movement, often strongly supported by the academies of sciences as well as the scientific community.
This method encourages responsibility, learning and language development because of strong teamwork. It stimulates science and technology curiosity on children and on their teachers, because it is linked to children’s own reality.
ESTI (European Science Teaching Initiative)
Coordinated by EIROforum (a collaboration between seven European inter-governmental scientific research organisations, each world leaders within their respective fields of science)*, ESTI combines three elements: “Science on Stage” (SOS), “Science in school”, a new Journal of European Science Teaching and the Volvox network for biosciences.
“Science on stage” is a cycle of science teaching festivals with dozens of national events across Europe culminating in an international festival every two years. Alongside seminars conducted by top scientists and numerous workshops, the festival includes a major teaching prize and a fair in which teachers demonstrate and exchange their ideas. SOS will be held twice during the NUCLEUS project.
“Science in school” is a practical, stimulating platform for exchanges between teachers, scientists, and all others with a stake in creating new resources for the classroom and improving science teaching. “Science in school” will be distributed freely to teachers throughout Europe.
The Volvox network will provide teachers with briefings, laboratory protocols, classroom activities addressing the social impact of bioscience, accounts of the careers of young scientists and numerous other educational resources to help motivate them. This readily-available pool of resources should encourage more young people to develop positive attitudes towards studying science and to consider a career in it.
CISCI (Cinema and Science )
CISCI combines the two most popular media among youngsters, namely movies and the Internet. Its aim is to raise the attractiveness of science while dispelling widely-spread misconceptions that arise from pseudo-science. The idea of CISCI is to set up a free database with clips and scenes from films with scientific themes, analyzing their scientific content from the point of view of different scientific disciplines.
Xplora – More than a project output, more than a website
One of the most exciting outcomes of this cluster is the Xplora gateway, which is much more than a website. Is is a portal to science education aimed at pupils, teachers, scientists, science communicators and science educators.
Providing the latest science teaching tools and resources, it is a really attractive one-stop shop to find people, organisations and activities, contacts, resources and news, tools and much more about all areas of science education, ranging from climate change to new technologies.
It features an online library containing many kinds of information, and there is even a “megalab” for practical experiments.
Xplora is not only supported by excellent scientists, but also gets intense care by a group of specialist science teachers called the “Xplora Teachers Group”.