The pilots are based on the outcomes of MARCH's events that are under the theme of 'Sustainable Cities', drawing from the empirical study The State of the Art in Science Education: Results of MARCH Empirical Studies (pdf), the good practices, methodologies and results reached through the local (LWs) and international swap innovation workshops (ISWs), as well as the new tools and techniques developed during the webinars. More than 1200 teachers and 1400 students have been directly involved in these events.
In order to assist educators on how to design and apply the pilots in their schools, an educational toolkit has been developed and is available for downloading (in pdf). In this toolkit, the 21 good practices collected and successfully applied to schools in all partner countries have been included, along with the Pilots FAQs, so that educators across Europe can try them in their own classrooms and open up to new learning paths, aiming to make science teaching more attractive and enjoyable for the students. Lesson plan templates, questionnaires, resources and guidelines on how to present results at the end are also included in the toolkit's appendix.
Additionally to the toolkit, 35 face-to-face and online trainings were organised in each participating country to provide the local educational community with resources, insights, mentoring and helpful tips that will make the pilots’ stage smooth and enjoyable for teachers and students alike.
The pilots ran from February 2016 until October 2016 in 143 schools across Europe, with 9080 students and 1395 teachers involved in their implementation. Educators had the choice to implement them in their school on a timescale that served their teaching needs, from two school hours to a school semester. The final report on the pilots' findings, which also includes pilots in individual countries (UK, Greece, Germany, Serbia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Portugal), pictures, evaluation and conclusions from the pilots, can be found and downloaded here (in pdf).
The pilots served the entire project’s objectives well, identifying and spreading good practices across all partner countries, making the educators and policymakers aware of innovative methodologies in their field, encouraging students to approach STEM in a different, out-of-the-textbook way and inspiring careers in science. Furthermore, the pilots’ data were of major significance for putting together the final recommendations report that was disseminated in ministries and high-level education officials in Europe.
The MARCH methodology was very student-oriented, young people were present in all conferences and innovation swap workshops and had their say, while themes like sustainability, active citizenship and connecting science to everyday life were constantly present.
The educational goals of the pilots included to:
- Make STEM attractive to the students
- Engage students in projects with a strong collaborative character, working in teams and receive peer feedback
- Develop the confidence of the students in STEM subjects
- Make students aware of the wide variety of STEM careers
- Promote scientific thinking, reasoning, critical thinking and problem-solving
- Connect everyday life examples and phenomena with science and technology through an interdisciplinary, cross-curricular approach
- Encourage the development of social, co-operative, creativity and communication skills
Additionally, the educational goals of the pilots also included skills related with the professional development of the teachers, serving the lifelong learning purpose of the programme. These goals included to encourage the teachers to search for innovative methodologies that fit their classroom needs; to create a network of teachers who will share, review and apply good practices in all partner countries; to provide a discussion platform among policymakers, teachers and students; to promote new practices in teaching that make STEM subjects appealing to the students; to promote collaboration among teachers of different expertise to achieve a holistic approach of a subject; to inspire teachers to participate in science projects with the active engagement of their students.