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Discovering science phenomena at home through fun activities

With schools in Luxembourg currently closed, parents have to immerse themselves in their little one’s schoolwork. Multiplication tables, grammar, spelling, all this may not always bring back pleasant memories to parents and caregivers. Fortunately, there is one subject that allows for fun while learning: science. The SciTeach Center released a series of fun activities to stay curious about science phenomena, geared towards children and families at home due to COVID-19.

Since 2016, the SciTeach Center supports the teaching and learning of sciences in primary schools. It helps teachers develop their student’s competencies through specific trainings, and also by lending resources for teaching. “The coronavirus crisis suddenly shifted the spotlight for children’s learning from teachers to parents” explains Christina Siry, director of the center. “In response to the current COVID-19 crisis, we have developed a set of  activities that parents can use to keep their kids interested in sciences, even if they are stuck at home”. 

Aware that many parents have to juggle between home-office, home-schooling and daily household chores, the SciTeach Center’s Science Doheem webpage offers simple activities for everyone. « It was out of the question to develop time consuming activities. Instead, we thought of simple things based on observations, that can be done with almost no materials. For example, it’s spring now, and there is already a lot to learn about science by simply looking at a garden” shares Siry. “We believe in the value of learning by exploring the world around us, through child-focused, inquiry-based perspectives, and we hope to encourage a sense of wonder”. Available on the website https://sciteach.uni.lu/science-doheem/ the first set of activities will soon be complemented by additional activities. 

The main mission continues remotely

Although the Center’s focus has shifted to now also include support for families about science, teachers are not left out. « We restructured many of our previously planned activities to be done remotely, and we have been having diverse online discussions with teachers and partners to continue to work towards the Center’s mission of supporting science education research and practice” underlines Christina Siry.

Developing activities for families was not part of the initial mission of the SciTeach Center, but the team intends to assess the impact of this new initiative. « We already have received positive comments and anecdotal feedbacks from parents. We encourage them to share their experiences with us via sciteach@uni.lu and we hope to post samples of children’s work on our website soon” welcomes Christina Siry before she concludes : “nevertheless, we must all remember that this is home schooling in response to a crisis, not regular home-schooling by choice. We must be patient with children and understand that they also need to be reassured during this uncertain time. Like often, it’s a question of balance.”  

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The SciTeach Centre: A Hub for Innovation and Research in Science Education in Luxembourg
The SciTeach Centre at the University of Luxembourg works with teachers and experts in science education to research innovative approaches to teaching science in the unique educational context of Luxembourg’s primary schools.