Europe is facing a troubling situation - young people have lost interest in science-related subjects and fewer pupils regard science as their future career field. Unless the situation improves, Europe's long term capacity to innovate and to conduct high quality research could be at risk.
According to various reports and studies, school science teaching needs to be more engaging, apply inquiry-based and problem solving methods and meet the interests of young people. Inquiry-based learning is a method which enables to pick up different kinds of subject matter knowledge through inquiry experience.
It has been shown that inquiry-based science education (IBSE) can increase pupils' interest in science and also motivates teachers. Pupils describe inquiry-based learning as a fun way of learning exciting things without even noticing. There are numerous useful inquiry-based learning methods available, but these methods are not being widely implemented.
Europe needs responsible, innovative scientists. To achieve this, learners should be encouraged to acquire inquiry skills at an early age. The Ark of Inquiry Project will target pupils 7 to 18 years of age. Through experiencing different inquiry-based activities, reading thought-provoking scientific publications and actively communicating on science-related topics at an early age, young people could develop a desire to choose a future career in science.
We plan to promote and disseminate inquiry-based activities on a large scale, making them more easily and widely implemented in science education across Europe.
The Ark of Inquiry project aims to engage young people in science and responsible research topics as well as to let them acquire inquiry skills and experience the science process first-hand through various activities:
- reading scientific publications;
- formulating problems, inquiry questions or hypotheses;
- planning and conducting observations or experiments;
- analysing collected data;
- making conclusions or generalisations.