From September 2017 we are going to launch the „School Closer to Science” project developed by the Copernicus Science Centre in partnership with self-governments of Mazovia. Almost 2,000 students and over 160 teachers are going to participate in the project. The main aim is to create conditions for teachers (in schools, in seven districts around Warsaw) to teach with the elements of research methods, i.e. the ones used by scientists in their work. Inquiring, asking questions, checking and drawing conclusions constitute part of scientific approach. These behaviours help develop skills which are useful in contemporary world, teach how to think in a critical way and effectively solve complex problems.
We have planned some workshops which will increase teachers skills to work with this method, to equip schools with educational sets and tools, to provide classes developing competencies in maths, science and IT, to build creativity, teaching how to solve problems in a creative way and as part of a team. Following a series of classes and preparations, the students and teachers will have to conduct educational and research projects – together with scientists!
The project will last for two years – from September 2017 till May 2019, and will comprise 38 schools, 160 teachers and almost 2,000 students from Mazovia (Warsaw, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Otwock, Żyrardów, Kobyłka, Lesznowola, Stare Babicie) whose external exams results are below the Warsaw functional area average. The project comprises integrated schools and institutions from rural areas, which due to the distance from big cities need the support most.
The first stage is to acquire new competencies and skills by students as well as teachers. In the second stage both groups will concentrate on implementing acquired knowledge in their environment while conducting some research and scientific projects. Four scientists whose research require collecting a great deal of data (e.g. collecting samples of water or soil in many different locations) will be invited to participate in the project. The students will be involved in collecting the data – they will be conducting different research activities that require making observations both in urban and rural areas. To prepare themselves and their students, the teachers will be provided with educational materials, and the workshops will be organised at schools to enable the students to learn how to make necessary observations and reliable measurements.