The University Museum of Chieti pays great attention to its educational role by developing and implementing educational workshops, educational projects and training courses for schools of all levels, using communication methods and tools suitable for the different recipients of the educational action.
For several years, at the beginning of the new school year, the Museum offered teachers the opportunity to use the museum facilities and exhibits to implement science teaching and learning through the “Playing and thinking science” meetings based on the principles of active education, coordinated by playful pedagogist Antonio Di Pietro.
Participants are invited to experience scientific activities and games, to discuss what it means to “do science” with children and young people and to reflect on issues relating to the scientific method. At the base of these meetings of scientific ludo-didactics there are simple experiments, easily carried out by students with recycled material.
The book Giocare, comunicare e pensare le scienze
Over time, it became apparent the need to create a teaching tool useful for tracing the guidelines of the individual games-experiments, almost as a procedure manual. For this reason, the Museum has decided to produce a volume with a deliberately operational editorial format. It is the result of the experience and long work of museum education experts and competent illustrators and graphic designers.
The aim of the training meetings is the leitmotiv that runs through the pages of this book: to create a balance between playing and thinking about science because doing science only in a theoretical form is not enough, just as it cannot be enough to propose it only in a form of a game.
The structure of the book
There are five themes (acoustics, buoyancy, flight, motion and chemical transformations), each developed through three playful activities described with different approach.
The first activity of each theme is proposed in a guided mode. There are indications for making a game or a toy in order to enhancing observation and arousing that curiosity necessary to formulate some questions.
The second activity are described in semi-structured mode to support the experimentation as much as possible. These are experiences that lend themselves to proceed through variants that are useful to stimulate the re-search of the questions.
The third activity is of the “planning” type. Unlike the previous ones, the “What if …” box (an invitation to continue asking questions) does not appear since the proposal is already a “problem solving”.
A cooperative challenge (without winners and losers) to be carried out independently or to “lead” (in case there is a need for support) by enhancing the skills and ideas of the students. At the end of each playful activity, the basic scientific principles are indicated.
Museums and publishing
In recent years, editorial offers have increased, both those related to temporary exhibitions and visits to museums, and those closely related to the scientific activity of museums and directly produced by them.
Museums are a great resource, especially for our country. However, as for all great resources, it is necessary to identify solutions that allow them to be valued, making real what would otherwise remain only a potential asset, and books can be an essential part of the process of divulgation and building knowledge carried out by museums.
Beyond the simple divulgation
The Museum of Chieti, through the book Giocare, comunicare e pensare le scienze, whishes to offer an educational tool that goes far beyond the divulgation function, engaging the reader in reasoning, starting from his daily experience.
According to Francis Bacon, wonder is the seed from which knowledge is generated, a thesis supported by the words of Bruno Bettelheim (1990), which explain perhaps in the best way what is sought, and often found, in children science books: “The best thing we can do to our children is to instil in them that sense of reverence and wonder, from which meaningful knowledge is generated. This type of knowledge really enriches our life, because it allows us to transcend the limits of everyday life: and this is an experience that we absolutely need, if we want to fully realize our humanity”.
Disseminating science means not only explaining it, but also making it accessible and pleasant, precisely because it is not the public that have to be interested in science, but it is science that must try to make itself interesting in the eyes of the public, employing all the more appropriate and modern museum means of communication, possibly integrated with each other in the creation of multidisciplinary projects and products.