Science on Stage 2022

Wednesday 23 March 2022
“How to teach the idea of ‘motion’ to my students?” Every dedicated teacher of science and physics grapples with this question. Femke Boers and Patrick Diepenbroek believe they have found a definitive answer to this question: “create ‘hands-on intuition’ and avoid mathematics’!”

When Patrick first taught ‘motion’ (a.k.a. kinematics), he started with mathematics; “velocity equals displacement divided by time”, and he then expected that students would understand. But tests consistently showed his students did not understand it! That led him to study the literature on how students learn, and many years later, and in collaboration with Femke Boers, they are now teaching in a way that truly leads to students understanding motion!

On Tuesday 28 September 2021, Patrick and Femke convinced the jury that their approach really works and that hasled to their being invited to be part of the Dutch delegation of the International Science on Stage Festival 2022. This festival is slated for 24-27 March 2022 in Prague, Czech republic.

Now, Wednesday 23 March – one day before the start of the Science on Stage 2022, posters are printed, all materials are ready, and suitcases are almost packed. Femke Boers: “I am very excited to see what other teachers are doing!” Patrick adds: “Not only do I want to inspire fellow teachers around the world, I hope to get inspired by others aswell!”

We will hear more from Femke and Patrick soon after they have had a first taste of what it is like to be part of the International Science on StageFestival 2022.

Thursday 24 March 2022
“Creating ‘hands-on intuition’ and avoid mathematics’!” – that is the approach that Femke Boers and Patrick Diepenbroek use to teach their students ‘motion’ (a.k.a. ‘kinematics’) and it is this approach that they will share with fellow teachers at the Science on Stage Festival 2022 in Prague.

After an early start, Femke and Patrick arrived at Václav Havel Airport Prague. At 14:30,they were welcomed by the Czech Sun, and made their way to the Clarion Congress Hotel Prague – the venue where the festival is held.

The Festival comprises hundreds of stands. The stand that was assigned to Femke and Patrick was quickly built and they did not even have time to sit down, before their bright orange stand attracted their first visitors. And being true to their approach, Femke and Patrick had them act out a motion – a kin to the game Pictionary.

At the end of the first day, both Femke and Patrick feel very inspired already. “We have had about 10 teachers who enthusiastically acted out the motion,” says Femke. Patrick added: “The plenary opening – the science show – really gave me some ideas about how to introduce and visualise soundwaves!” Femke added: “The acoustic levitation device was very nice!”

Let us hope that the following days at International Science on Stage Festival 2022 will be as inspiring to Femke and Patrick as their first day!

Sunday 27 March 2022
“Creating ‘hands-on intuition’ and avoid mathematics’!” – the approach to teaching ‘kinematics’ ( = the study of motion) that Femke Boers and Patrick Diepenbroek shared with hundreds of fellow teachers at the International Science on Stage Festival 2022 in Prague, from 24 to 27 March 2022.

Since the last time you heard from Femke and Patrick, they have had hundreds of teachers visiting their stand and experience first hand how avoiding mathematics when studying motion is more effective than ‘diving into the maths’ from the get go. “I strikingly remember the look on almost all teacher who thought kinematics was so simple, but once they were asked to act a motion out, they was completely lost!” says Femke. Patrick adds: “I was happily surprised that so many teachers had no problem participating! It let to amazing discussions. That is what Science on Stage is all about –by teachers, for teachers.”

Although a four-day conference may seem long, Femke and Patrick would have loved the festival to continue. “At almost every stand did I started talking and share ideas! I got so many new ideas for my lessons of experimental sciences! And I got quite a number of new ideas to further develop for my higher-years physics students!”

Looking back at the Festival, Femke and Patrick both agree that participating in the Festival has been very inspiring. “We will definitely continue to collaborate with a few teachers whom we have met at the festival!” says Patrick. “We hope that we have the opportunity to represent IST, College Zuid, and The Netherlands in two years!” Femke added.

Written by Patrick Diepenbroek (International School Twente) and Femke Boers (Het Stedelijk Lyceum College Zuid)