Formation of mediators of Science Square of Vitoria, ES, Brazil – A proposal for a conceptual approach to the hand lift equipment

Author: Laercio Ferracioli – Department of Innovation and Science Outreach/Federal University of Espirito Santo, Brazil

Laercio Ferracioli – ModeLab/Federal University of Espirito Santo
Marcely Rodrigues – ModeLab/Federal University of Espirito Santo

Science Square, located in Vitória, Brazil facing the sea was opened in 1999 and is one of the four Centres of Science, Education and Culture linked to the Municipal Department of Education. The collection is exposed in an open area of approximately 7,500 m2 with gardens and free circulation for visitors and accessibility for wheelchair users. The collection consists of equipment such as Solar Scale System, Sundial, Sound Mirror, Swings, Levers, Inclined Plane and Hand Lift.

Science Square mediators are mostly undergraduate students in Physics and develop centre activities. There is a continuous training process of new mediators for promoting the adequate attendance to visitors: besides interactivity based on a exploratory attitude focusing on discussion and dialogue with the visitor, activities include exploration of the scientific concepts involved in each equipment focusing on “opening the black box” strategy for each device and avoiding the classic division between theory-practice.

This presentation reports results of a conceptual approach for training mediators on the Hand Lift equipment. An Explanatory Guide was produced in the form of a plasticised insert using front and back and previously submitted to the evaluation of three judges to verify the existence of conceptual, diagram and grammatical errors.

Results revealed that the Hand Lift Explanatory Guide was positively evaluated by the new mediators, being better accepted than the current hand-out in use. Even non-physicists mediators reported that it was possible to understand the Explanatory Guide approach covering their conceptual doubts about the equipment. The analysis of mediators’ performance in presentations after the training activity corroborated these results.

These results reaffirm the classic responsibility of training mediators of science centres and museums that must be a built-in and continued action on daily basis of these loci so that they can operate in resonance with their mission.

Presentation type: Visual talk
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice