Scientific literacy in non-formal environments for Brazilian elementary students – an educational challenge to GeoLogar

Author: Raquel Nery Lima Bezerra

This paper aims to discuss some aspects of the relationship between science and the basic education in Brazil. We are considering the experience that started with an interactive science fair organized by the GeoLogar – Earth Sciences for Society Project, in the exposition “The Secrets of Meteorites: a record of the Solar System evolution”, occurred in a shopping center. The meteoritic thematic allowed to evaluate the possibilities of learning experiences in non-formal environments for elementary level students from Salvador City, Bahia. The data were obtained through the analyzing of letters wrote by the students from 8 to 18 years, regarding the Meteorites Fair experience. These letters were examined by the perspective of scientific literacy and museum pedagogy. First, we were interested in exploring the possibilities of language development during the exposure to natural sciences in interdisciplinary contexts. Surprisingly, the data showed the inverse way, that means, the low levels of reading and writing abilities of some Bahia’s students also interfere in their possibilities to appreciate Science, that is especially true for the students of the public board of education. In an effort to reverse this, the Meteorites Exposition currently has a permanent room at the Bahia’s Geologic Museum. The mix of meteorites and interactive technology showed to be effective to attract the young public and resulted in a increased rate of visitors for the museum. The research now aims to integrate the Bahia’s science museums to the public board of education in the Province to better use the educational potential of informal environments, as museums. We hope to better explore these resources, allowing the social integration of public school students, improving their learning abilities and interest for sciences, while also training graduate students that act as science tutors and prospecting new talents for Geosciences.