Context-based science education and four variations of problem-based learning
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Despite the meaningful developments in the philosophy of science that took place from the middle of the 20'11 century onwards. school science still tends to be presented as a body of unquestionable knowledge developed by some geniuses that were lucky enough to make their discoveries. Therefore. students can hardly conceptualize science. as a human cultural endeavour and perceive the relevance of scientific knowledge for their daily lives. Consequently. they do not feel like engaging in scientific careers A result of the school failure to show that science is all around us is leading to an ever increasing lack of scientists. engineers and other specialized technicians in Europe and worldwide. Thus, a change in the status quo of science education is needed in order to give students the opportunity to appreciate how science relates to their daily lives and to perceive the characteristics of scientific enterprise They need to learn the big ideas of science by doing contextualized science i.e., they need to actively engage in science learning embedded into meaningful contexts There are several teaching approaches that can lead to the attainment of this goal. Problem-based related approaches are good examples. This chapter focuses on context-based science education and, in particular, on four variations of problem-based learning that may promote such education, namely, place-based Learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning and design-based learning. After characterizing each of these approaches. their distinguishing features will be highlighted and they will be related to different models of contextualization Finally, an argument will be developed to show that each one of the four variations of problem-based learning may serve as a model of contextualization. Even though each of those variations has some powers and limitations. all of them have a role to play. if contextualized education is to be put into practice.
FCT; CIEd; UID/CED/01661/2013
Year of publication: 2017