How much rain must fall to make the school collaps?
PhD. Daniela Ambrosi
Liceo scientifico Galileo Galilei di Perugia, Università degli Studi di Perugia
[email protected]
The object of this work is to develop a module for meaningful learning within the teaching of Earth Sciences and Sciences Integrated with a problem-based learning (PBL) methodology
with the construction of a learning activity and a learning story. This experience is an attempt to seek answers to the strong demands by the teachers of a teaching content and method
that is able to deal with the perspective of Reform Gelmini and at the same time with the demands of the European community over the use of the inquiry in the teaching and learning of
science (Rocard et al., 2007). The philosophy of this research is rooted in the ideas of the STEM Project and in those of constructivism, as suggested by David Jonassen (1999, p. 217) “I
believe that objectivism and constructivism offer different perspectives on the learning process from which we can make inferences about how we ought to engender learning. The goal of
my writing and teaching is not to reject or replace objectivism. To impose a single belief or perspective is decidedly non constructivist. Rather, I prefer to think of them as
complementary design tools (some of the best environments use combinations of methods) to be applied in different contexts. ”
Developing problem-solving skills: students have a goal or a challenge to
resolve. The challenge/question is set by the students themselves. This builds
on their strengths, potentials and preferences. Learners become active
researchers: research across varied media (text-based, video, audio, images,
results of experiments, numbers, etc.) is the basis of the classroom activity.
Investigation can take place by reading, observing, conducting science
experiments, organising surveys, using robots, etc. Encouraging crosscurricular projects: learning across disciplines helps learners to analyse and
understand things from multiple perspectives. Learning by exploring:
students can construct models, test ideas and evaluate the results themselves.
The first activity is “Investigate” , teachers can promote inquiry- and
project-based learning to enhance students’ critical thinking skills.
Five experiments in the laboratory. The purpose of the first experiment is to
infer the law that regulates the relationship between the force responsible for
the slip and the mass of the body that undergoes it. The students collect data
and use them to make quantitative assessments. They have shown that
between the normal force and the cutting resistance exists a direct
proportionality: one can determine the equation of the straight line and to
the calculation of the angular coefficient which represents the coefficient of
friction. The purpose of the experiments two and three is to evaluate
experimentally the variation of the angle of friction and the angle of rest in
relation to the characteristics of the materials. In the fourth experiment
students experimentally evaluate qualitatively the effect of quicksand. Two
cylinders of different diameters and material (simulating buildings) are
located within the sand into the container. It makes the water flow inside the
vessel and after a few minutes it strikes the same with a hammer and it is
observed the collapse of the buildings. The purpose of the last experiment is
allow the student to qualitatively assess the effects of the water in the
landslide. In the beginning the water accumulates in the bottom of the vessel,
but then begin movements landslides from the surface layers until everything
is leveled. All experiments were carried out at the laboratory of Geology of
the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Perugia. This
approach has been used for three school years and involved a total of 201
Question Elicting
The students must to plan, design, and produce
their own work - for example, a multimedia
production or a presentation. there isn't simple
repetition of information. All students work
with real knowledge-building activities.
Interpretation, analysis, teamwork, and
evaluation are important parts of the creative
The technology provides different ways for the
learners to get involved through hands-on
learning activities. Connecting with the outside
world: rather than working within the artificial
boundaries of a school subject, the teachers and
students select real-life challenges and data to
What is a landslide? How to classify landslides?
What are the elements of a body of the landslide?
What types of movement ? Which forces come
into play in the stability of a slope? Which are
the causes of natural and artificial causes a
landslide? What is the relationship between the
resistance to friction and shear force?
Core Concepts
Motion, instantaneous velocity, reference system, measurement and mis
figuration, distance, average speed, instantaneous, average acceleration,
instantaneous acceleration. Space-time. Principles of dynamic friction,
angular coefficient, α tang, theorems of triangles, trigonometry,
differentiation and geometrical meaning of the derivative, mdedia and
seriation, measuring angles, theorems connected, Atoms, molecules,
aggrgazione state of matter, ties, solid state properties, solutions, minerals
and rocks, resistance, friction, elements of rheology
What law regulates the relationship between the
force responsible for the slip and the body (the
mass) that undergoes it. What is the
relationship between the angle of friction f and
the characteristics of the materials? What is
quicksand? How does it work the water into the
landslide? What is the permeability? As varies
depending on the material?
The prerequisites that students must know to deal with this topic have been assessed with the verification of knowledge and skills by solving two problems and with an interactive
test online. The problems were discussed and corrected in class. The recovery of students with difficulty was organized by dividing the students into groups and identifying the
students that could act as a tutors to operate a peer to peer learning. The students were informed that they would be evaluated for their ability to work in groups and participation
in the social climate and the respect of the times and of the roles within each cooperative group. The knowledge of the scientific language, the ability to build links between
concepts, ability to build theories from observation and the ability to identify and analyze the problem would be positively assessed. Also important is the ability to argue, a
commitment to work online, and the quality of the presentation of the work done. In the three years of the project, there was a positive outcome with the achievement of the
medium-high skills, as shown in Figure
The degree about learning is take by test. The level of
satisfaction was high in most of the students, we analyzed the
period 2010-2014 a total of 203 students between the ages of
The study using problem-based learning active working
memory, resulting in significant learning.
Learning was detected with test in terms of skills and crossdisciplinary:
Art, History, Chemistry, Earth Science, Letterature.
The school performance was analyzed in levels.
Bolte, C., Streller, S., Holbrook, J., Rannikmae, M., Hofstein, A., Mamlok, R. & Rauch, F. (2012). Introduction into the PROFILES Project and its Philosophy. In Bolte, C., Holbrook, J., & Rauch, F. (Eds.). Inquiry-based Science Education in Europe.
Reflections from the PROFILES Project. Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin. Print: University of Klagenfurt (Austria), pp 31-42.
Holbrook, J., & Rannikmäe, M. (2014). The Philosophy and Approach on which the PROFILES Project is Based. CEPS Journal, 4(1), 9-29.
Jonassen, D. H. (1999). Designing constructivist learning environments. In C.M. Reigeluth, (Ed.). Instructional design theories and models: A new paradigm of instructional technolgy, Vol. 2. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 215-240.
Rocard, M., Csermely, P., Jorde, D., Lenzen, D., Walwerg-Heriksson, H., & Hemmo, V. (2007). Science Education NOW: A renewed Pedagogy for the Future of Europe. Brussels: European Commission.