From botanic garden to the school: natural sciences with the IBSE methodology outside classroom

A.C. Tavares, I. Cabral, J.M. Alves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Non-formal educative settings, such as gardens and museums, as well as the Inquiry-based Science Education (IBSE), a multifaceted and student-centered methodology, play an essential role as tools for Education. Based in the educative experiences in a Botanic Garden, our aim is to study the integration of IBSE outside classroom in a formal Portuguese school context. The goal is to understand the impact of this methodology in Natural Sciences learning, and in the opinions and educative products of 10 to 12 years old students. Within a partnership with a School and a Science Teacher of the Portuguese 5th year level, and trained in IBSE, seven thematic classes on biodiversity and sustainability were taken from an Educational Program developed in Coimbra Botanical Garden. Fulfilling the curricular demands these lesson plans were integrated in the classes during the three school periods and adopted and adjusted to the existing conditions and resources. The cognitive learning of the students in the Natural Sciences topics, and their opinions, were regularly monitored, validated and statistically evaluated by seventy-two pairs of pre and post-questionnaires and also analyzed in a semi structured interview with the teacher. The results proved a cognitive improvement of the students in all curricular themes evaluated, as referred elsewhere. The emphasis is now to highlight the positive feedback from students and their teacher view on the work developed. After completing the innovative approach in class, the motivation involved 92% of the students, responses in 99% of them and new learning felt by all; 89% of the students showed satisfaction in the activities experienced and in the documents produced. Favoring questioning, both the teacher and the students want to continue this teaching and learning format at School, as an enlarged and creative alternative for Natural Sciences understanding. Moreover, lesson plans, new botanic thematic and the resources produced are replicable by other educational communities and diverse stakeholders, directly, or as ideas to new activities for schools. Applying those educative strategies on a regular basis outside classroom, either in a museum, a botanic garden or a school garden, will improve knowledge, encouraging imagination and a stronger sensitivity for nature, plants and their importance for life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBotanic gardens, people and plants for a sustainable world
EditorsMª Dalila Espírito Santo, Ana Luísa Soares, Manuela Veloso
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9789728669751
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event8th European Garden Congress - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 7 May 201811 May 2018


Conference8th European Garden Congress


  • Active learning
  • Curricular innovation
  • Experimental practices
  • Non-Formal educative settings


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