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Informal physics teaching for a better society: a mooc-based and context-driven experience on learning radioactivity

  • Authors: Nicola Pizzolato; Dominique Persano Adorno
  • Publication year: 2020
  • Type: Contributo in atti di convegno pubblicato in rivista
  • OA Link:


The general objective of teaching physics is to provide the learners with useful knowledge, in terms of both interdisciplinary scientific concepts and practical problem-solving skills. In this work, we report the experimental evidence, collected during a first year physics class in an upper secondary technical school, for the urgent necessity to adopt an informal and inquiry-based strategy to teach physics effectively, in particular to all those students living in degraded socio-economic environments. Within the pedagogical framework of "Learning by Doing" and the paradigm "Learning by Teaching", we have explored the benefits of the students' participation to an informal ICT-based and inquiry-driven learning experience about radioactivity. Subsequently, the same students attended, as scientific communicators, a national science exhibition where the majority of the secondary schools in the region presents their scientific exhibits. About three months after the participation to the scientific exhibition, the students answered to a questionnaire about radioactivity. Their answers have been analysed in comparison with those provided by a control group of students who attended a traditional lecture-based instruction. A significant improvement in the memorization of the main aspects concerning a radioactive decay, such as the definition of isotope, particle and electromagnetic radiation, the understanding of the radioactivity process at microscopic level, as well as a stronger view of the useful aspect of radioactivity in the everyday life have been definitely achieved by the students involved in this study.