Science & Education

, Volume 24, Issue 7–8, pp 983–1000 | Cite as

History of Science and Science Museums

An Enriching Partnership for Elementary School Science
  • Cláudia Faria
  • Elsa Guilherme
  • Raquel Gaspar
  • Diana Boaventura


The activities presented in this paper, which are addressed to elementary school, are focused on the pioneering work of the Portuguese King Carlos I in oceanography and involve the exploration of the exhibits belonging to two different science museums, the Aquarium Vasco da Gama and the Maritime Museum. Students were asked to study fish adaptations to deep sea, through the exploration of a fictional story, based on historical data and based on the work of the King that served as a guiding script for all the subsequent tasks. In both museums, students had access to: historical collections of organisms, oceanographic biological sampling instruments, fish gears and ships. They could also observe the characteristics and adaptations of diverse fish species characteristic of deep sea. The present study aimed to analyse the impact of these activities on students’ scientific knowledge, on their understanding of the nature of science and on the development of transversal skills. All students considered the project very popular. The results obtained suggest that the activity promoted not only the understanding of scientific concepts, but also stimulated the development of knowledge about science itself and the construction of scientific knowledge, stressing the relevance of creating activities informed by the history of science. As a final remark we suggest that the partnership between elementary schools and museums should be seen as an educational project, in which the teacher has to assume a key mediating role between the school and the museums.


Science Education Scientific Knowledge Fishing Gear Science Museum Marine Fauna 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by a research project ‘Between tide marks: integrating literacies (iLit)’ (PTDC/CPE-CED/117923/2010) funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cláudia Faria
    • 1
  • Elsa Guilherme
    • 1
  • Raquel Gaspar
    • 2
  • Diana Boaventura
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of EducationUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Associação Viver a CiênciaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Escola Superior de Educação João de DeusLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Guia Marine Laboratory, Oceanographic Centre/MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences CentreScience Faculty of Lisbon UniversityLisbonPortugal

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