The INQUIRE project 5th Partners' meeting in Italy

INQUIRE project meetings | INQUIRE NEWS

Liliana Derewnicka | 21/10/13

From 29th September until  2nd October  2013  representatives from 17 Partners in 11 countries descended on MUSE, Trento and Arboreto di Arco for the fifth and final Partners' meeting . Not only did everyone get the chance to explore the Arboretum and the, brand new, natural history museum in Trento- which opened in July of this year- but Partners gathered to show the strengths of the project, discuss the highs and lows and support developing ideas for the future.

The meeting commenced with each of the members presenting their favourite Inquiry activity and explaining why they think it is an example of best practice in Inquiry-based science education (IBSE). There was a huge range of exciting activities and topics covered. From role-plays, in which participants play the part of beetles and blackbirds to discuss the problems with pesticide accumulation and the food chain, to building plants out of household materials, like plastic spoons, to get participants talking about biodiversity.

The next task for all those in attendance was a diamond ranking activity. Partners were given the scenario in which they had funding to hire educators at their institutions. The task was to discuss what criteria are important when hiring educators and which are the most important characteristics for them to exemplify. The results were wide ranging, yet, enthusiasm, creativity and excellent interdisciplinary and interpersonal skills were recurring ideas.

The results of one group's diamond ranking excercise.


Partners discussed the importance of research in practice and reviewed each other’s lesson plans, sharing thoughts and suggestions. The importance of a solid question when beginning an IBSE activity and being aware of a groups’ prior knowledge were highlighted as being paramount to effective IBSE.

The Partners then reflected on their emotional journey over the project. For a project that relies on the strength of the relationships that have developed, sharing highs and lows at the individual and organisational level was both enlightening and rewarding.

  Disscussing everyone's emotional journey during the INQUIRE project.

The meeting concluded by looking forward to the future with a discussion of the sustainability of the INQUIRE courses. In the UK, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew will include INQUIRE as part of their CPD for teachers and will also support Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to run a course in Scotland. Educators who attended the INQUIRE course at Kew have committed to promote the application of IBSE throughout the LOtC sites they are working for.  


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