EPI•STEM Doctoral Seminar Series: A talk by PhD Student Miguel Romero Gutiérrez

MiguelResearcher of Sensociencia Project, University of Almería


Wednesday 11th May  12h00, Room A1-065


Title of Talk:

Sensociencia Project: Science with Sense, Sensors and Sensations



Laboratory activities in science classes are disappearing in Spain, the reasons behind this could be that teachers only identify with the motivating function of laboratory activities and prefer hands-on activities before an inquiry-based approach. In the long run this leads to teachers focussing only on conceptual and theoretical contents, unconnected with their real world.

Sensociencia is a project developed in the University of Almería in collaboration with Parque de las Ciencias and University of Granada, which tries to promote the implementation, development and assessment of Inquiry Model-Based (IMB) teaching-learning sequences for science classrooms with scientific contents, from real context, using sensors.

To reach our goal we develop sequences of activities called 'Sensopills', sequences implemented in a very short time in which an engaging question is put to the students and answered with their own hypothesis. They design theirs experiments looking for evidence, using Micro-computer Based Laboratories (MBL) that take and show live data, following this, a model is introduced to explain and predict.

We also consider teaching and learning science is not only a cognitive process, but also a highly charged process with feelings and emotions. The need to consider these cognitive and affective dimensions lead us to incorporate the awareness of the emotions felt when the IMB is applied. The initial insecurity becomes only a reminder of the experience and is replaced by the satisfaction of learning, this in turn generates a positive attitude for new scientific knowledge. There is nothing more motivating than being conscious of the satisfaction of learning something new.

The project works on three levels: in-service teachers, pre-service teachers with a pro-active approach and, lastly, secondary students.

Due to the lack of inquiry-based learning experiences teachers can use as methodological models for teaching, we have developed Sensopills.

Through these sequences of activities we address two goals: pre-service teachers can experience inquiry-based science education proposals (as learners), and in-service teachers perceive the advantages of this approach by attending the implementation of an IBSE sequence (guided by a researcher of the project) with their own students. In this way, we provide different IBSE experiences to (inservice and pre-service) teachers, as an alternative to the traditional methodologies.

But, how can we prove that this really works for teachers? After a brief presentation of the different tools used to evaluate the evolution in teaching conceptions, scientific knowledge and the measure of emotions and level of satisfaction, we will present the results obtained from each of them and demonstrate how they could be used to justify what we do, and ask ourselves if there are other possibilities.



Miguel has an Early Childhood Education Degree and Environmental Education Master’s Degree (both from the University of Almería). In 2015 he obtained a PhD Student Contract granted by Andalusian Regional Government for the Sensociencia Project (P11-SEJ-7355) and right now he is finishing his PhD in Educational Research.

He has attended national and international conferences and seminars e.g. International Conference - New Perspectives in Science Education (5th Edition), in Florence; International Conference ‘Engaging Pedagogy for Science Education’, in Seville; III International Symposium of Teaching Sciencie, in Vigo; and XXVI Encuentros de Didáctica de las Ciencias Experimentales (EDCE), in Huelva.

He is currently involved in a research group (University of Almería, Science Education Department) working on Evaluation of the implementation of Microcomputer-based Laboratory in Laboratory Practices in Andalusian Schools and Analysis of their Influence on the Development of Scientific Competence implementing several Inquiry Model-Based science education sequences of activities in different andalusian's centres.