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Design principles and methods toolkit for supporting science learning outside the classroom

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Uploaded by RRI Tools on 20 January 2021

The SySTEM 2020 project, an EU-funded project that explores science learning in informal and non-formal settings across Europe, and has been generated through a co-design process

INTRODUCING THE DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND METHODS TOOLKIT: WHAT, WHY, WHO, HOW?

This document contains a set of design principles and a toolkit with methods for designing science learning activities that take place outside the classroom, in spaces such as science centres, makerspaces, museums, galleries, and gardens. The Design Principles and Methods Toolkit are aimed at science educators, coordinators and facilitators working in a diversity of contexts associated with science learning.

This toolkit hopes to aid the design and facilitation of meaningful science learning activities and programs, with an emphasis on nurturing inclusive science learning. To the best of our knowledge, to date there is not a similar resource available specifically focused on science learning outside the classroom. Thus, we hope that the Design Principles and Methods Toolkit will contribute to the professional development of those involved in nonformal science education by triggering reflection about pedagogical design and practice.

The Design Principles and Methods Toolkit builds on the knowledge and experiences of science education practitioners and learners involved in the SySTEM 2020 project, an EU-funded project that explores science learning in informal and non-formal settings across Europe, and has been generated through a co-design process. Based on the feedback and contributions of SySTEM 2020 partners, science learning outside the classroom is framed as an inter- and transdisciplinary field, in which arts and humanities are central.

The design principles provide general guidelines for designing science learning activities outside the classroom. They are intended as a starting point to aid and inspire educators and pedagogical coordinators. The design principles included in the toolkit have been distributed in three thematic sections, corresponding to their intended design purpose: for everyone, for experience and for growth. While these thematic sections are not exclusive, they help identify entry points to the principles based on specific needs. The design for everyone principles relate to equity and highlight issues around access, diversity and inclusion in science education outside the classroom. Thus, we encourage the non-formal science education community to consider the design for everyone principles as the foundation for any activity they undertake. The Design for experience principles focus on facilitation practices, while the design for growth emphasise the importance of continuous learning and development for learners and educators.

The toolkit with methods for supporting science learning outside the classroom focuses on bringing the design principles into practice. For this purpose, we have included methods and tips from practice, but also a selection of cases that give the reader a contextualised understanding on adapting those ideas to specific localities and contexts. The contexts in which people learn about science are extremely diverse. For this reason, the Design Principles and Methods Toolkit does not provide ready-made activities and solutions to replicate in other settings, as we acknowledge the need to respect subtleties in context diversity in which people learn about science. Due to this approach, the toolkit requires the active contribution of the reader to accommodate the principles and methods and adapt them to their unique context and needs.

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CONTENTS

INTRODUCING THE DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND METHODS TOOLKIT: WHAT, WHY, WHO, HOW?

Design for everyone

  • MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE 
  • EMBRACE DIVERSITY 
  • BE INCLUSIVE 

SELECTED CASES

  • Everyday chemistry: The kitchen as a lab 
  • Saturday open maker space: Lowering participation barriers to make STEAM accessible 
  • Travelling scientific microexhibitions: From the science center to the school neighbourhood 
  • E-Fabrik:Empowerment through inclusive design 
  • Wearables: Gender inclusion through the design of electronic garments 

PRACTICE 

Design for experience

  • MAKE IT MATTER 
  • KEEP IT ENGAGING 
  • INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE 
  • BUILD SOCIAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS 

SELECTED CASES

  • Mapping for understanding global challenges 
  • A hands-on approach to physics and biology 
  • Phylogenetic tree of imaginary species: Learning through storytelling 
  • Light painting: Creative expression through experimentation 
  • Learners as mentors: Learning facilitated by peers 
  • Collaboration in action: Community of young people for intermedia art and science 

PRACTICE 

Design for growth

  • CREATE PATHWAYS 
  • SUPPORT IDENTITY BUILDING 
  • PROMOTE LEARNER AUTONOMY 
  • ASSESS YOUR PRACTICE 

SELECTED CASES

  • Young leaders: Inspiring diversity 
  • Mind your egg! A design challenge for the whole family 
  • Center for Refugee Art Technology & Environment: Empowerment through art curation 
  • Reflecting on science learning through zine-making 
  • Create your world festival: Breaking new grounds 
  • Debriefs at the end of education programs: Learning through reflection 

PRACTICE 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS 

English

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