Using seismology to raise science awareness in kindergarten and elementary levels, with the help of high school students

Friday, 19 December 2014
Francisco Luís Rocha1, Graça M Silveira2,3, Guilherme Moreira1, Isabel Paes Afonso1, Bernardo Azevedo Pinto Castro Maciel1, Margarida Oliveira Melo1, Rita Neto1, Mafalda Gonçalves1, Guilherme Marques1 and Ricardo Hartmann1, (1)Colégio Marista de Carcavelos, Cascais, Portugal, (2)APCMC, Cascais, Portugal, (3)ISEL/IDL, Lisbon, Portugal
Teaching students, aged from 4 up to 18 years old, is a challenging task. It continuously implies new strategies and new subjects adapted to all of them. This is even more evident, when we have to teach natural-hazards scientific aspects and safe attitudes toward risk.

We often see that most of the high-school students (16 -18 years old) are not motivated for extra-curricular activities implying science and/or behaviours changes. But, they have a very positive response when we give them some responsibility. On top of that, we also realised that young children are quite receptive to the involvement of older students in the school environment

Taking this into consideration, our project use the k12 students to prepare scientific activities and subjects, based in questions, which they need to answer themselves. The students need to answer those questions and, only then, adapt and teach the right answers to the different school-levels.

With this approach, we challenged the students to solve three questions: How to use a SEP seismometer at school, and its data? How to set up a shaking table? How to introduce waves and vibrations contents to all ages of students?

During the project they developed many science skills, and worked in straight cooperation with teachers, the parents association and the seismology research group at Instituto Dom Luíz.

As a result, it was possible to reach all school students with the help of the k-12 ones.

This is an outcome of the project W-Shake, a Parents-in-Science Initiative to promote the study of seismology and related subjects. This project, supported by the Portuguese “Ciência Viva” program, results from a direct cooperation between the parents association, science school-teachers and the seismology research group at Instituto Dom Luíz.