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Pupils Produce their Own Narratives Inspired by the History of Science: Animation Movies Concerning the Geocentric–Heliocentric Debate

Abstract

In this paper, we present the design and application of a teaching scenario appropriate for 12-years-old pupils in the primary school aiming to a better understanding of scientific concepts and scientific methods, linking the development of individual thinking with the development of scientific ideas and facilitating a better understanding of the nature of science. The design of the instructional material supporting this scenario has been based on the study of the history of astronomy and especially on: (a) The various theories concerning the movement of Earth, our solar system and the universe. (b) Key-stories highlighting the evolutionary character of scientific knowledge as well as the cultural interrelations of science and society. The design of the teaching scenario has focused on the participation of pupils in gradually evolving discourses and practices encouraging an appreciation of aspects of the nature of science (e.g. the role of observation and hypothesis, the use of evidence, the creation and modification of models). In this case, pupils are asked to produce their own narratives: animation movies concerning the geocentric–heliocentric debate inspired by the history of science, as the animation technique presents strong expressional potential and currently has many applications in the field of educational multimedia. The research design of this current case study has been based on the SHINE research model, while data coming from pupils’ animation movies, questionnaires, interviews, worksheets, story-boards and drawings have been studied and analyzed using the GNOSIS research model. Elaborated data coming from our analysis approach reveal the appearance, transformation and evolution of aspects of nature of science appreciated by pupils and presented in their movies. Data analysis shows that during the application pupils gradually consider more and more the existence of multiple answers in scientific questions, appreciate the effect of culture on the way science functions and the way scientists work as well as the effect of new scientific interpretations that replace the old ones in the light of new evidence. The development of pupils’ animation movies carrying aspects of the history of astronomy with a strong focus on the understanding of the nature of science creates a dynamic educational environment that facilitates pupils’ introduction to a demanding teaching content (e.g. planet, model, retrograde motion) placing it in context (key-stories from the history of science) and at the same time offers to pupils the opportunity to engage their personal habits, interests and hobbies in the development of their science movies.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    On this point see (Duschl 1994; Matthews 1994; Stinner et al. 2003; Seroglou et al. 1998; Seroglou and Koumaras 2001; Matthews et al. 2001; Osborne et al. 2003; McComas et al. 1998; Lederman 2007).

  2. 2.

    On this point (see Irwin 2000; Stinner et al. 2003; Bevilaqua and Giannetto 1998).

  3. 3.

    On this point (see Houghton and Willows 1987; Willows and Houghton 1987; Mandl and Levin 1989; Paivio 1986; Clark and Pavio 1991; Mayer and Anderson 1991, 1992; Mayer 1997; Lemke 1998; Kress et al. 2001).

  4. 4.

    On this point (see Klein 1982; Nussbaum and Sharoni-Dagan 1983; Sadler 1987; Jones et al. 1987; Liu 2005).

  5. 5.

    On this point (see Hodson 1998; McComas 1996; Driver et al. 1996; Jenkins 1996; Clough 1997; Matthews 1998; McComas et al. 1998; Akerson et al. 2000; Schwartz et al. 2004; Abd-El-Khalick and Akerson 2004; Lederman 2007).

  6. 6.

    On this point (see Lederman 1992; Ryan and Aikenhead 1992; Shapiro 1996; Driver et al. 1996; Leach et al. 2000; Lederman et al. 1998; Johnston and Southerland 2001).

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Acknowledgments

The development and evaluation of the teaching scenario described in this paper took place in the context of the European Research Program HIPST–History and Philosophy in Science Teaching supported by FP7 (http://www.hipst.eled.auth.gr).

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Correspondence to Fanny Seroglou.

Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 1.

Table 1 A translated worksheet filled by a group of two students (their comments appear in italics)

Appendix 2

An interview with pupils analysed by GNOSIS.

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Piliouras, P., Siakas, S. & Seroglou, F. Pupils Produce their Own Narratives Inspired by the History of Science: Animation Movies Concerning the Geocentric–Heliocentric Debate. Sci & Educ 20, 761–795 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11191-010-9321-4

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Keywords

  • Science Teaching
  • Instructional Material
  • Retrograde Motion
  • Short Film
  • Teaching Scenario