Image: Shutterstock/Alexandr III_
In this post I would like to share the experiences I had with my students with who I conducted the Eratosthenes experiment. During the implementation of this experiment I ran guidelines of Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) which are available on the ISE portal. To carry out this experiment students were using tablets.
Inquiry based learning can be applied to a range of subjects which are being taught in schools, but it is also possible to use this method of teaching for project-oriented topics that are interdisciplinary.
An example of that is the Eratosthenes experiment for which there are several scenarios designed for Inquiry Based Learning on the ISE portal. The scenarios are divided into five activities underlying the research learning (ask, create hypotheses, planning and research, analysis and interpretation, conclusions and evaluation).
A special feature of the scenarios is an interface with many integrated digital elements such as the possibility of adding photos, videos and questions of assessment. The scenarios of learning resources have two types of display: the teaching interface in which the teacher has all the material that is added, and the students’ interface which is controlled by the teacher.
After the students connect to their interface with the desired nickname and password they see text and digital content as well as issues of assessment. The answers, as well as any guidelines for teaching are only visible in the teacher interface.
The advantage of the scenarios is that once made as scenarios, they can “clone” or duplicate and amend individual elements for use in a variety of grades. Also, a teacher in his profile can access answers which students enter through their interface.
In order to boost interest in students to determine the size of the Earth there was a demonstration by Google Earth about the basic ideas of determining the size of the Earth (Eratosthenes experiment) pupils learn from a video which is available in the script. Also, for local noon pupils learn from the video.
The hypothesis that was necessary for conducting research is the degree of parallel rays of light, which I had to clarify further, because students will be familiar with the light concept at the end of primary school.
As part of the planning and research were considered factors which are essential for conducting experiments and for planning the calculations of the circumference of the Earth.
The students were forwarded to a link to instructions for getting to know the interface and work of Stellarium with which they will determine local noon and instructions for usage of Google Earth, with which they will determine the distance of school from the Equator.
Students made the necessary table in MS Excel to enter the measured data and they planned number of measurements and time range measurements around local noon.
Likewise, they have written a program in MS Logo to determine the angle with the computer. Within the analysis and interpretation, they are determining the length of the shortest shadow of the measurements and calculating the third side of the triangle with the help of the Pythagorean theorem. Using the geometric accessories, they construct a triangle on the basis of the data at 1:10 and then determine the inner corner circular segment. With the help of the proportion they calculate the scope of the Earth. The calculation was made with the help of the angle which is gained by using the MS Logo and the values were compared. As part of the evaluation factors were considered which affected on the result.
In my opinion, this kind of access to learning in students creates the skills and knowledge that will be used further. Working in teams, using of ICT (students have used the tablets), mathematics, physics, geography in a new way was inspiring for all students!
Article written by: Ivan Derek, Scientix Deputy Ambassador