cod. 1005539

Academic year 2018/19
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Fisica teorica, modelli e metodi matematici (FIS/02)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The main objective of the course is to support and provide teaching and training for students who want to complete their skills in teaching and communicating science. The course is also designed for those who, while having a scientific background, want to become acquainted with the communication of their knowledge and who, while having a humanistic or historical education, want to extend their scientific skills.

The course aims to provide practical experience in communicating scientific material to different public through different types of communication channels: oral and written oral presentation. The student is led to acquire skills with specific didactic tools to effectively communicate topics of science.

At the end of the training activity, the student should have acquired the knowledge and skills that would be able to:

1. Understand the method and purpose of the scientific approach. Being able to use their own specific language and terminology.
Understand the historical development and the subsequent conceptual evolution. Have a clear vision of what science has represented and, above all, represents in today's society and knows how to recognize positive aspects and related issues.

2. Understand the functions and relevance of a widespread and correct knowledge of the scientific issues of society and citizens.
Being able to evaluate what, in this sense, has now been made possible by the means of communication, and if this really meets the
Demand for knowledge from the citizens themselves.

3. To be able to expose and argue on the subjects of science teaching, and its communication, clearly and directly with
An unknowing public. Know how to present, even to an unknowing public (and in the final part the course focuses on the places of disclosure
Designed for the little ones) the essential peculiarities of the communication of science.

4. Know how to evaluate the quality of a dissemination or exhibit layout based on its design and purpose and the intended users.

5. Be able to link the different topics dealt with each other and with related topics. Be able to consult and use distributed knowledge to propose original science communication projects.


- - -

Course unit content

Introduction to the course. A brief history of science
The language of science
The texts of science
Science and communication
Scientific museums
The scientific exhibits
The scientific dissemination sites

Full programme

The lessons deepen the various modes of disclusure and exposure of Science.

After an introductory part introducing the main aspects and developments of the history of science, a first section of the course
focuses on a brief history of how it has changed over the centuries, the concept of the museum, started as a small private study in the home of noble scholars, and how they evolved spaces, display techniques and especially the purposes and the type of audience. Today the exhibition of scientific topics, supported by specialized websites, databases, festivals and other educational activities of various kinds, is entrusted mainly to the Museum of Science, to show the historical collections (ancient instruments, stuffed animals, minerals, etc.), and the Centers for Science, to explain in a simple and immediate scientific principles through the interactive devices, called "exhibits".

These two categories are analyzed from the point of view of the institution, the architecture and the public. The public is in fact the single biggest new star of Museums: want to learn, have fun, be stimulated, intrigued, and sometimes put to the test. So a key component not only of the Centers for Science but also new museums is the interactivity, which is the preparation of an exhibition in which the visitor is not a passive observer but an active discoverer, which operates the devices present aa an internal path, "interrogates" the multimedia stations on the contents that most interest him, explores some issues and sometimes choose freely the way forward.

Through numerous examples you want to provide an overview as comprehensive as possible of the various display techniques and above all the potential contained within a large container which can be the Museum of Science to the collections or the Center for Science for educational experiments.

The modern interactive science museums while not expressly designed for an audience of children offer even to the smallest experiential occasions of great importance and often include internally spaces expressely dedicated to children. Some exhibits, in particular, constitute a "classic" for science centers and are hosted also in school facilities or playgrounds These exhibits are examined and their differences are analyzed in different science centers located in different parts of the world. But what it means to do science with the children and with the children? We must first determine which is the idea that the adult has of the child and of the science. In our case we believe that the child is a competent person in a position, since the years of kindergarten, to make scientific investigations and formulate theories.

As for children, it is important to emphasize some aspects which, as an example of in-depth study, are briefly listed here.

Several studies attest to how girls and boys already very small are able to analyze the world around them with the scientific method. Looking at the world around them pose fundamental questions and try to find an answer. Their brain does not have rigid barriers between the disciplines for which the philosophy intersects strongly with the scientific and imagination with the development of the theory.

Our idea about science is thus to intersect with our idea of ​​the child. If science is a discipline with multiple and articulated connections with other tools at our disposal to deal with the world and if the child is a competent person whom should simply be offered opportunities for interaction with the surrounding world, the encounter between science and children can only be fruitful, peaceful, harmonious, full of discoveries and important moments. In this context, the making of the child is often a making of science.

We analyze the mode of action of children. At the beginning there is often to repeat a large number of times a certain action that highlights a phenomenon that interests them. Much has been written and observed by Puppeteer Mariano Dolci on the discovery of the shadow of the school children of Reggio Emilia. Children are attracted by the shadow and feel the need to investigate this extraordinary phenomenon. No adults to ask, to impose it to establish it, are themselves placed in the appropriate conditions to have the urgent need to observe, discover, evaluate the black shape that follows them wherever they go. The research and observation are therefore natural for children.

That's not all. Even the repetition is part of the common behaviour of children and, moreover, also required by the scientific method of Galileo, according to which it is not sufficient to carry out one time a scientific experiment, but it is so defined that, you need to repeat a raised number of times. This part of the scientific method is certainly also the method of play of the very young children who constantly repeat certain actions. Think for example to a child on the chair that keeps throwing objects and watching with astonishment this interesting phenomenon. Generally it not limited to a single observation, but repeated countless times the experiment. For example in the years we have had the good fortune to follow an interesting path of the nursery Rampari the Municipality of Ferrara, during which girls and boys were given the opportunity to experiment with different objects and situations. This observation led us to experience as continually trying to reproduce the initial conditions of the '' experiment 'and to observe it again, making minor changes in a second step and returning to repeat the new action. Amazement, wonder and enchantment are growing every person and are an integral part of scientific research. In this sense a science that provides children with empty brains to be filled with formulas, theories and explanations, removing the pleasure of discovery, is certainly a far cry from the science of what we are talking about.


During the course will be used as reference texts the following ones:

Marco Fabbrichesi : Pensare in formule Newton Einstein Heisenberg, 2004, 258 p., ill., brossura Editore Bollati Boringhieri (collana Saggi. Scienze).

Matteo Merzagora Paola Rodari : La Scienza in Mostra, Bruno Mondadori 2007 ( collana Campus ).

Further bibliographic material will be suggested and agreed upon for further research and study by the students. Here a tentative list of possible texts:

Marco Fabbrichesi : Delle Cose Semplici: Pianeti, Piselli, Batteri E Particelle Elementari, Editor CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edizione (5 marzo 2014) 278 p.

Leonard Susskind George Hrabovsky : The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics

Frank Oppenheimer, The Exploratorium. Exhibit conception and design, in “Working Prototypes”, 1969.

Adalgisa Lugli, Le stanze della meraviglia «Wunderkammer», Torino, Allemandi, 1997.

John Durant (a cura di), Scienza in pubblico. Musei e divulgazione del sapere, Bologna, Clueb, 1998.

Luca Basso Peressut, Musei per la scienza. Spazi e luoghi dell'esporre scientifico e tecnico, Milano, Lybra Immagine, 1998.

Here a short list of museum and center of sciences web sites that will be shown and considered as examples during the course.


Science Museums:

Science Centers:



Teaching methods

A large part of the course is devoted to communication in museums, science centers and scientific exhibitions, and in this area will focus on didactic and exhibition themes, on the analysis of the audience to which communication is directed with particular reference to the youngest , And the interaction between the means of communication and the public and, within the didactic practice, will deepen the scientific content of the communication by identifying, in particular, the fundamental elements of the discipline in question, the nature and purpose of the communication.

The didactic activities will be conducted by privileging interactive learning methods with the teacher alternating with traditional frontal lessons.

During the lessons, the discussion and the dialogue with the classroom will be preferred to the issues raised in order to raise any questions or doubts about
Themes in question by students.

In the second part of the lessons, however, practical and planning learning cycles will be activated
Students will be required to apply the theory to a research project they have proposed or defined together with the teacher
That students will be able to develop according to the methodological criteria illustrated in the lessons with the teacher's literary and teaching material.

The transparencies used to support lessons will be uploaded weekly on the Elly platform.

To download the transcripts and the teaching material you need to enroll in the online course.

Transparencies are considered an integral part of the teaching material.

It is reminded to the students not attending to check the available teaching material and the directions provided by the teacher through the
Elly platform.

Assessment methods and criteria

During the course, exercises will be carried out to verify the content. Both in the course of the verification tests and in the final exam, the students will be given a wide range of initiatives and proposals on topics of organization of presentation and presentation of science content in various fields: museums, exhibitions, websites, seminars etc. .
In order to pass the exam, an appropriate understanding will be required
Of technical terminology, a clear and motivated understanding of the issues and one
Personal processing capacity of the same.

The comprehensive evaluation of the learning involves two moments:

1) a semi-structured written test with three open questions. During the written test the student will be asked to:
- designing and analyzing a theme of dissemination among those carried out (weight 10pt);
- be able to critically identify one or more examples presented during the course (weight of the 10pt item);
- to indicate particularly significant thematic or methodological aspects in the dissemination and teaching of science (weight of the 10pt element).

The duration of the written test is 2 hours. The written exam is rated at 0-30. Praise (laude ) is given
in the case of achieving the highest score on each item to which the mastery of the lexicon is added

2) an oral test consisting of a critical discussion on a dissemination project as
Effective search on the field by the candidate and taking into account the criteria and the methodology addressed during the lessons using reference bibliography

During the oral examination, it will be verified that the student knows the practical and theoretical aspects of the project, the methods of realization
knowing how to apply it appropriately to a specifically selected didactic and educational context by exhibiting the specific terminology.

The project can be carried out by students individually or in groups of up to 2 people.

The paper must be presented in paper copy on the day of the appeal in which the oral test is to be taken;

In the case of a group project it is necessary that every member of the group also be explicit in the paper,
The parts he personally cared for.

The oral test is evaluated on a scale of 0-30.

To obtain the final vote, one proceeds to the arithmetic mean of the votes of the two trials (both in

The oral test shall be communicated immediately upon the end of the test; The test vote
written in the two weeks following the test, through publication on Elly.

During the lessons, partial tests will be carried out as useful exercises to monitor
Achieving the learning goals in the field and providing students with elements of their actual understanding of the topics.

Other information

- - -