Key moments in history – a fossil hunter’s story: Teaching resources and professional development to support knowledge and understanding of big ideas of science education
In the nineteenth century, British fossil collector Mary Anning made vital contributions to the emerging field of paleontology. Today, her remarkable life and discoveries can inspire students’ appreciation of the nature and process of scientific inquiry and the different contexts in which discoveries are made. Through studying Anning, they can also learn to draw connections between knowledge from science, history, and culture. The Association for Science Education (ASE) will produce a short cinematic-quality film about Anning and the big ideas of science, accompanying cross-disciplinary primary education materials, and teacher resources. By designing an immersive learning experience for primary school students, these materials will help them recreate the journey that scientists like her undertake as they make sense of the world. The bold cross-disciplinary approach of these resources will encourage a type of critical thinking and awareness among children that is seldom—if ever—addressed and developed in the current restrictively delineated approach to learning. We aim to inspire and assist children to start to ask and investigate the deepest and most urgent scientific, moral, social and political questions.
Methodology and Outputs
The project consists of two main strands of activity. The first involves the production and refinement of teaching resources that help students tease out the interweaving elements that scientists navigate every day. These resources will include the following:
- PowerPoint presentations;
- Primary and secondary historical source materials; and
- Student games and materials that accompany the movie.
We will test these resources with teachers and subject leaders from dozens of primary schools. Based on their feedback, we will refine the materials before distributing them widely after the project finishes. The second strand involves designing professional development activities for teachers guide their students through the materials from the first round, preparing them to tackle the questions students might ask during their learning activities. Feedback from these events will enable ASE to refine the teacher guidance pack that will be disseminated with the movie and student resources.
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