Dr. Peter E. Childs and a team of researchers from the University of Limerick are partners in a €3.5m EU-funded project entitled Teaching Enquiry Mysteries Incorporated (TEMI). TEMI is a teacher training project with the aim to help transform science teaching practice across Europe by giving teachers new skills to engage with their students, exciting new resources and the extended support needed to effectively introduce inquiry based learning into their classrooms.
The project aims to equip teachers with new resources and methods to teach Science using mystery as the starting point. Mysteries or discrepant events engage the observer in the learning process and are rooted in inquiry-based learning. The idea is to use mysteries or discrepant events to arouse student interest, motivate students to inquire and find out scientific explanations, and develop science enquiry skills. Such events stimulate an observer's natural curiosity and will motivate the observer to learn more about the topic.
The TEMI project began in 2013 and runs until June 2016. Epi•Stem are one of 12 european partners providing professional development for the teachers involved in the TEMI project. Epi•Stem have recruited and trained three cohorts of teachers to date (end of school year 2015).
The teacher professional development workshops explore the concept of inquiry-based teaching, and the use of mysteries and discrepant events in science, as well as identifying particular examples within the various science curricula that lend themselves to teaching enquiry with mysteries. Following the first full-day workshop, teachers are encouraged to develop and trial TEMI teaching ideas within their own teaching before returning for the second full-day workshop.
It is intended to involve three further cohorts of teachers in the 2015-16 school year. In order to ensure sustainability of the ideas and to embed the approaches in school practice, more than one teacher from each participating school is encouraged to attend.
In addition to the full-day professional development workshops, the TEMI team have also prepared and delivered half-day workshops for pre-service science teachers (within the University of Limerick), other in-service science teachers (e.g. through collaboration with the PDST).