Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

Publications

2 Educating the Educators: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Enhance Science Teaching

Authors: Denise Levy, Anna Lucia C. H. Villavicencio

Abstract:

In a rapid-changing world, science teachers face considerable challenges. In addition to the basic curriculum, there must be included several transversal themes, which demand creative and innovative strategies to be arranged and integrated to traditional disciplines. In Brazil, nuclear science is still a controversial theme, and teachers themselves seem to be unaware of the issue, most often perpetuating prejudice, errors and misconceptions. This article presents the authors’ experience in the development of an interdisciplinary pedagogical proposal to include nuclear science in the basic curriculum, in a transversal and integrating way. The methodology applied was based on the analysis of several normative documents that define the requirements of essential learning, competences and skills of basic education for all schools in Brazil. The didactic materials and resources were developed according to the best practices to improve learning processes privileging constructivist educational techniques, with emphasis on active learning process, collaborative learning and learning through research. The material consists of an illustrated book for students, a book for teachers and a manual with activities that can articulate nuclear science to different disciplines: Portuguese, mathematics, science, art, English, history and geography. The content counts on high scientific rigor and articulate nuclear technology with topics of interest to society in the most diverse spheres, such as food supply, public health, food safety and foreign trade. Moreover, this pedagogical proposal takes advantage of the potential value of digital technologies, implementing QR codes that excite and challenge students of all ages, improving interaction and engagement. The expected results include the education of the educators for nuclear science communication in a transversal and integrating way, demystifying nuclear technology in a contextualized and significant approach. It is expected that the interdisciplinary pedagogical proposal contributes to improving attitudes towards knowledge construction, privileging reconstructive questioning, fostering a culture of systematic curiosity and encouraging critical thinking skills.

Keywords: Science education, interdisciplinary learning, nuclear science; scientific literacy.

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1 Web-Based Tools to Increase Public Understanding of Nuclear Technology and Food Irradiation

Authors: Denise Levy, Anna Lucia C. H. Villavicencio

Abstract:

Food irradiation is a processing and preservation technique to eliminate insects and parasites and reduce disease-causing microorganisms. Moreover, the process helps to inhibit sprouting and delay ripening, extending fresh fruits and vegetables shelf-life. Nevertheless, most Brazilian consumers seem to misunderstand the difference between irradiated food and radioactive food and the general public has major concerns about the negative health effects and environmental contamination. Society´s judgment and decision making are directly linked to perceived benefits and risks. The web-based project entitled ‘Scientific information about food irradiation: Internet as a tool to approach science and society’ was created by the Nuclear and Energetic Research Institute (IPEN), in order to offer an interdisciplinary approach to science education, integrating economic, ethical, social and political aspects of food irradiation. This project takes into account that, misinformation and unfounded preconceived ideas impact heavily on the acceptance of irradiated food and purchase intention by the Brazilian consumer. Taking advantage of the potential value of the Internet to enhance communication and education among general public, a research study was carried out regarding the possibilities and trends of Information and Communication Technologies among the Brazilian population. The content includes concepts, definitions and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about processes, safety, advantages, limitations and the possibilities of food irradiation, including health issues, as well as its impacts on the environment. The project counts on eight self-instructional interactive web courses, situating scientific content in relevant social contexts in order to encourage self-learning and further reflections. Communication is a must to improve public understanding of science. The use of information technology for quality scientific divulgation shall contribute greatly to provide information throughout the country, spreading information to as many people as possible, minimizing geographic distances and stimulating communication and development.

Keywords: Food irradiation, multimedia learning tools, nuclear science, society and education.

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