The first national Science on Stage festival, organized by the Institute for Modern Education, was organized on September 18 in the premises of the Modern Primary School. The works of as many as 5 Best Educators of Serbia were among 35 top candidates!
A selection of candidates, who will represent Serbia at the international competition in the Czech Republic next year, was held at the national Science on Stage festival.
Candidates were asked at the competition to make their projects great examples of STEAM teaching. The festival was attended by 35 candidates from all over Serbia, with projects from various fields: natural and social sciences, information technology, and environmental protection.
Out of 35 candidates, 5 are teachers who hold the title of the Best Educators of Serbia.
These are: Jelena Babić, Slađana Trajković, Zvonimirka Jovičić, Biljana Uskoković Brković and Tanja Olear Gojić.
Tanja Olear Gojić, who won 1st place with her project Magic World of magnets introduces students to magnets and magnetism through the project while developing the ability of logical, abstract, and divergent thinking through the role of small researchers and creators. Students undergo simple and appealing tasks, also experiments that lead them to conclusions about the characteristics of magnets. Students write down their observations, discuss and draw conclusions that they also record. At the end of each experiment, they consider how it could be implemented in everyday life. Finally, using functional knowledge of physics and mathematics, they build their architectural works of art through the use of Geomag magnets.
Biljana Uskoković Brković, won 3rd place in the competition and the trip to the Czech Republic thanks to the project she conceived and realized with her students. Biljana says the following about her project: "The project" Visual Perception "deals with challenges, research, and experiential learning.
When we look at our reflection in the mirror, we ask ourselves: What is behind it? How do our eyes help us get to know the world? Why are some people blind? Why do some other people have blurred or poor eyesight? What is going on with our eyes?
The meaning of the answer lies in the challenges that can inspire students to want to experience this mystery. The methods are intertwined, the approach is interdisciplinary and applicable through different classes. Students are given the chance to experience science on their own because they participate in the content - experimenting, creating, observing, thinking and connecting, making solutions, and then reviewing the knowledge they have gained.
Jelena Babić, a teacher from Prokuplje, explained in more detail the work with which she applied: "The project was a one-year work of monitoring changes in wheat grain from sowing to harvest. The students had the task to monitor the changes in the nearby field, record with a mobile phone, and illustrate the main stages of the process. We implemented this project in other subjects, so we studied the structure of the plant in the world around us and nature and society, made a model of the basic parts of the plant and learned their functions, and in the field, more precisely on the meadow, we determined that.”
The project of Zvonimirka Jovičić, a teacher from Žagubica, was related to sustainable development. Zvonimirka points out: "The goal was to notice the irresponsible actions of man towards nature, as well as to get acquainted with the ways of protecting nature from pollution."
Slađana Trajković came to the competition with the project "How much math is in a banana?". She believes that: "A student learns and progresses best when he independently discovers the relationships between certain mathematical objects." The teacher should enable that by applying appropriate forms and methods of work, and at the same time motivate students to learn, which is a complete teaching skill. About her project, Slađana points out: "The project" How much mathematics is in a banana? "Was designed with the goal of making students connect their knowledge of mathematics with chemistry, physics, biology. The students were divided into four groups, solving the following tasks: what is the connection between a banana and nuclear reactors, how to determine the equation of the lower parabolic arc of a banana, how acidic is a banana, what is the connection between Fibonacci and a banana. The activities designed in this way enabled students to connect previously acquired knowledge in a meaningful way. Also learning through work, performing tasks, being active, learning through direct involvement in the learning process, have the role of a teacher, thus ensuring horizontal learning."
The experiences of the best educators in Serbia at the festival are very positive. Together, they share the opinion that the festival represents an opportunity to promote science interestingly and unusually, while the practitioners can be enriched with new ideas. Also, as an important segment of the festival organization, they emphasize the opportunity that was given to them to introduce young people to the magical world of science through their projects and to feel the festival spirit that they can share with their colleagues. Interaction with participants, organizers, and visitors enabled them to exchange materials and experiences with each other, which opened the possibility for self-reflection and refreshing their work. One of the participants in the festival and the holder of the title of the Best Educator of Serbia, Zvonimirka Jovičić, pointed out: "Festivals awaken desire, ideas, thoughts and thus make us avoid the constant and direct us towards new possibilities."