Worldwide, less students enter Scientific training programmes. It seems students, in the course of secondary education, loose interest and become less motivated for science. Science topics are perceived as difficult, boring and unlinked to reality. What is the problem?
Many pupils have difficulties understanding the basic concepts in science. It is in a very honest and sometimes confusing way that they give way the core of the problem. Pupils do not necessarily interpret the words used in the science class in a scientific way. The words we use in science classes are often not new to pupils. They know the word ‘energy’, but it appears that they often interpret it in an unscientific way. So pupils do have knowledge about concepts as energy, but they interpret these concepts in a different way than scientists do. In literature this is referred to as preconceptual or misconceptual knowledge. As a result the information the science teacher offers, somehow conflicts with the intuitive interpretation (Driver et al. , 1993).
Possibly the cause for low motivation and early drop out in science programmes is this lack of understanding basic scientific concepts. Because pupils fail to connect their preconceptual knowledge to the scientific one, they simply do not understand. This incapability of understanding demotivates.
Vosniadou, Vamvakoussi and Skopeleti stated in 2008 that not being able to change the preconceptual or misconceptual knowledge into scientific knowledge, might be one of the main causes for students’ failing to understand contra intuitive scientific concepts’ (Vosniadou, Vamvakoussi, Skopeliti, 2008) .
In a close cooperation with teachers, pupils, teacher trainers, students and researchers in Lesotho, Spain and Belgium a didactic approach that tackles this problem was designed. We call this didactical approach 'A FACTORY OF IDEAS' . The idea behind this name is that we aim to start in pupils' heads a factory that identifies, compares and produces ideas on science concepts. This will enable them to effectively build a rich conceptual framework for science concepts.
The approach was tested, evaluated positively and now is being dessiminated. On this site we collected the material, information and results that will help you to start up your own factory of ideas.