2 Experimental (open) inquiry with low-cost materials

Nikolaos Nerantzis


On Galileo’s experiment of throwing balls at the Pisa’s tower, many pages have been written if and in what context those experiment(s) took place (Feyerabend, 1981 & Martinez, 2011). Galileo doesn’t report such an experiment, but he did mentioned the relative “though” experiment proving wrong in Aristotle’s theory (Andrews, 2010). The present, open inquiry base science education (IBSE), proposal aims typical students and students with disabilities and/or special educational needs (SEN), in order to investigate whether two bodies arrive simultaneously or not at the ground, using “low-cost” materials (Valadares, 2005), posters, interactive whiteboard (IWB), photo and video editing software via a GoLab’s Inquiry Learning Space (ILS)1. The educational process “negotiates" basic physics’ concepts, such as field, field strength, gravity, with innovative educational tools. So, this open inquiry (Levy, 2011) via an ILS approach is providing internal motives to the students (Boekaerts, 2002). The present

educational scenario takes into account a) the difficulty –for students with SEN – to connect core scientific ideas & mathematical representations with real life’s tasks (Padeliadou & Chideridou, 2013), b) that students’ concepts are universal & not easy to be modified (Driver, 1994 & Heywood 2010), c) the general difficulties in memory (short term, working, long term) for students with SEN (Padeliadou & Botsas, 2007). We also took in our concern to achieve the maximum active involvement of all of our students in order to understand the basic scientific concepts and Ideas (Staver, 2007 & GoLab 2015b), setting our educational goals in the zone of proximal development (Vytgosky, 1978). Finally, we succeed to integrate the emotion component in learning (Hinton, 2008).

Keywords: freefall, IBSE, ICT, GoLab, poster, special education.


The present didactic proposal integrates the use of the Go-Lab’s ILS, tools & repository and the Go-Lab Inquiry Cycle2. The lesson plan is aimed at Junior High Schools students, both General and Special Education. The present educational scenario «overcomes» a) the difficulty –for students with SEN – to connect core scientific ideas & mathematical representations with real life’s tasks (Padeliadou & Chideridou, 2013), b) that students’ concepts are universal & not easy to be modified (Driver 1994, Heywood 2010), c) the general difficulties in memory (short term, working, long term) for students with SEN (Padeliadou & Botsas, 2007).

Τhe ILS of the proposed teaching scenario.
Right below we are presenting the “Falling Objects” ILS. You can find it on-line here http://goo.gl/X4c4so or here http://www.golabz.eu/spaces/falling-objects. If it requires a nickname you can insert …whatever you want (e.g. kf, 1234, George, …). Let us note a) we present the ILS here without all the images added on-line and without the Extend phase and b) the content of the ILS is “constantly” changing. In order to edit and develop an ILS we must
register to Graasp (graasp.eu). A Graasp user can “copy/paste” the hole ILS and modified it according to his/her students’ educational needs. Experimental (open) inquiry with low-cost materials, on the simultaneous free fall of two different bodies from the same height.

1. See the comic strip below and then answer the the following questions


2. And now please watch this short video on Galileo Galilei!



3. Now share your thoughts and your observations. (GoLab app: input box)

…Go to the next Phase!




In this phase we are about prepare our scientific research to answer the question “Two
(different) objects which let simultaneously from the same height arrive simultaneously or
eterochrona the ground?”
4. But,first, answer to the next question…


14. Before presenting each group’s experiment and the associated results, please re-replied
(!) to the questionnaires you met previously! …


15. In parallel, you can discuss and comment on the following poster “Aristotle vs Galileo”.

16. At the end, you can watch an interesting video on Galileo Galilei and the “hammer &
feather” experiment from ….the moon!


Discussion :
In order to design the present proposal we took into account our pupils difficulties and
the teaching requirements of the specific way of content’s organizing and presenting.
Subsequently, the activities were designed to be simple, understandable, not based on
students’ language skills, stating all the same theoretical concepts and to promote cooperation
between the typical and special education. The present project combines self-motivated team working
students, exploring as researchers, describing as scientists, inquiring and explaining,
peer to peer education, integrating I CT’s and m-learning, with better relationship between
teachers & students, positive self-esteem of the students and happiness as educational
Experimental (open) inquiry with low-cost materials, on the simultaneous free fall of two different bodies
from the same height 12 outcomes.

The project’s approach is not a typical/common didactic approach to Hellenic
Schools. As a teacher I saw my students acting, asking questions to trying and trying again and
being happy. I succeed to integrate the emotion component in learning, cooperation and
consistency & continuity to teaching. All the above are objectives through to an effort for an
inclusive education.

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Feyerabend P., (1981), Philosophical Papers, Realism, Rationalism and Scientific Method : Volume 1, Cambridge University Press, ISBN0-521- 31642-1 pg.182 – (You can see also this Wisniewski’s link http://knowledgenuts.com/2014/02/02/galileo-didnt- drop-anything- off-the- leaning-tower- of-pisa/).

Ginnis, A.I., Kostas K.V., Politis C.G., Kaklis P.D.,2010, VELOS: A VR platform for ship evacuation analysis, Computer-Aided Design 42 (2010) 1045-1058.GoLab, goladz.eu .

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Experimental (open) inquiry with low-cost materials, on the simultaneous freefall of two different bodies from the same height


Hinton C., Miyamoto K., Della–Chiesa B., (2008), Brain Research, Learning and Emotions: implications for education research, policy and practice, European Journal of Education, Vol.43, No.1.

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Martinez A.A., (2011) Science Secrets: The Truth about Darwin’s Finches, Einstein’s Wife, and Other Myths, University of Pittsburg Press, ISBN 978-0- 8229-4407- 2, pg.7 – (You can see also this Wisniewski’s link http://knowledgenuts.com/2014/02/02/galileo-didnt- drop- anything-off- the-leaning- tower-of- pisa/ )

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