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School animals and robots in the elementary and middle grades: “This is how pupils learn to study the behavior of living things”

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Discover the science, and try to do it in the field. This is the idea behindDiscovery robotic animalsThe project of the Ministry of University and Research to allow children to approach the world of observation and experiment. The initiative targets students Primary and middle schools It is an innovative way to spread scientific culture. In fact, “those who join Receive In their own category A animal-like robot – explain Eduardo Datteri, Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science and Coordinator of the RobotiCSS Laboratory of the Department of Humanities Education at the University of Bicocca – can thus study their behavior and conduct research, in order to understand how scientific thinking works in practice.” For educators who wish to participate, training sessions will be held from February 19. Registrations will end soon

Certainly the most curious component of the experience is choosing to use avatars cordbot Small robots programmed to simulate animal behavior: “We didn’t want to focus on a particular subject, such as physics, chemistry and biology – says Dattrey – but we are working on scientific processknowledge and thought. So we preferred to suggest a neutral subject.” In fact, robots do not resemble dogs, cats or other animals. But they manage to reproduce all the typical behaviours. So children can act as real researchers: “They make observations and experiments, formulate hypotheses. They work like that moral activity“. Or rather mechanistic ethology, because the object of their study is not living organisms. Moreover, on November 4, at the end of the project, young scientists will present the results of their experiment at a series of conferences organized by Bikoca University. “They will be ordinary conferences – says the philosopher of sciences – but the children will be the speakers and they will discuss among themselves – and with the audience – what they have discovered.” At a time when science, as a source of knowledge, is under attack – explains Dattrey – it is necessary to promote scientific culture, but not only as a means of communicating results. We want Educating scientific thinking And it allows you to understand how it works.”

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Then the “discovery of robotic animals” is an opportunity for turn into practice A very theoretical topic, at least in school: “Science is often taught, but it is not. Students learn from books, but are not on the right track – admits the philosopher – this activity very interactive. It allows you to work in direct contact with science, to understand its methods, and to see if an experiment was done well or poorly done right away.” Support for teachers is essential to accompany children and young people on their path in engaging with robotic behavioral science. That’s why Mur funded courses Specific training: “The goal is to think about what science is and what’s important in it with those who go to class and talk about it.” Sign-up is free. Teachers and educators from elementary and middle schools can be registered. Theoretical training – which lasts 30 hours – will begin in February and will focus on the foundations Philosophical Scientific Method In the practical part, on the other hand, they will learn how to conduct a robotic behavioral science activity in the classroom.

On the other hand, the way thinking is at the heart of the project. In fact, the “discovery of robotic animals” arises from a three-dimensional interaction, linked to orchards and test tubes in a sideways way: the method of education and philosophy. It focuses meticulously on these aspects to bring youngsters closer to a topic, seemingly difficult and distant, but essential for “understanding the contemporary world and what surrounds us”. However, the experiment will not only include schoolchildren: during conferences, “we will try to bring them into contact with real scientists.” Comparison with those who work in the field every day can actually enrich the experience of younger scientists. According to Dattiri and colleagues, “the approach may also be interesting for the future.” The next steps, after the start of the project, will be to make it visible at the national level, in order to expand the audience of participants. The initiative is carried out under the auspices of Silfs – Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science. theUnique Association.

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