Having chosen Biochemistry and the related disciplines as the target subjects of the project, to develop the task and activities of the module the team decided to make use of the Inquiry-based approach, in which students follow methods and practices similar to those employed by scientific researchers. IBSE (Inquiry-Based Science Education) can be defined as a process to discover new relations, leading the students to the formulation and testing of hypotheses by the means of observations and experiments. It is generally considered a specifically task-based and problem-oriented approach, which involves the application of competences aiming at solving problems. The objective of the methodology is to motivate the students through an authentic process of discovery.
From a pedagogical perspective, scientific progress is divided into small units, logically connected to one another, that make the learners familiar with the principles, dynamics and praxes typical of scientific thought. These individual units are the phases of the inquiry, and the complex of their connections constitutes the whole inquiry cycle.
The simplest version of the cycle consists of five phases: Orientation, Conceptualisation, Investigation, Conclusion and Discussion. All phases are interconnected, and together increase the effectiveness of the learning activities. Following this pattern, the team has created a LO in the form of an articulated lesson plan, using the webtool learning designer (www.learningdesigner.org), Which can be viewed at the following link https://v.gd/UYqGci , in which the five phases are described in detail, each containing the different task designed according to the learning objectives (see fig.2).
The entire cycle is accessible and available on the portal of the GO-LAB Project (Global Online Science Labs for Inquiry Learning at School), launched by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme Agreement. An Inquiry Learning Space (ILS) has been created here, where students have the opportunity to be involved in a structured learning environment. This space (http://www.golabz.eu/spaces/enzymes – fig. 3) contains virtual laboratories, resources and applications. The learning resources consist of texts, videos or other materials aiming at providing the learners with a basic understanding of the target content, subsequently making them ready to conduct investigations or perform simulated experiments, which can be confronted with those actually performed in a real school lab. The ILS can be shared with other teachers, who can reset and adapt it to their own needs and objectives.
The module Enzymes was tested between May and June 2017 in two classes of each of the schools of the network. The experimentation was conducted using the tech and equipment available in the schools, such as tablets, IMBs, 2.0 classrooms. The results of the experimentation were recorded through the evaluation of the process, referring to the following indicators:
- Observation of students’ work, behaviour and attitude during practical activities;
- Evaluation of the students’ ability to write scientific reports relating their hypotheses to the empirical evidence collected during the investigation phase;
The assessment of the competences acquired was carried out through a final questionnaire, designed by the CLIL Team during the making of the module as an integral part of the Learning Object. The assessment rubrics and the final questionnaire are visible in the ILS Enzymes at the following link: http://graasp.eu/spaces/590b307e3123a5fcb5486259
Finally, the CLIL Team produced a Travel Diary, intended as a record and narration of the different phases of the project, testifying the efforts in the educational research and keeping track of some of the most significant moments in the team work.
The Diary was published as part of the project, and can be viewed at the link https://spark.adobe.com/page/FrC65VuQPdzET/, and contains information on the methodologies applied, the tasks and activities devised, the software and applications used to create the Learning Object. It is meant to be a kind of synthesis; self-reflection and appraisal of the work done both in the designing and in the class experimentation phases, with the hope of helping users observe and understand the dynamics of one’s own teaching practice.
The entire project and all the related materials are available on the official website of the network, at the link http://www.chemistryclil.it/corsi2/.