Annie Champagne Queloz, PhD. ETH Zürich


Archive for the ‘Allgemein’ Category


Je souhaite clore mon blogue pour me consacrer à de nouvelles activités. Mes articles restent disponibles et vous pouvez toujours communiquer avec moi via mon courriel.

Tout du bon!!


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Séminaire: “Comment savez-vous que c’est vrai?”


Voici une conférence, dont le titre complet est: “Comment savez-vous que c’est vrai? Ou pourquoi voulez-vous que j’apprenne ça alors que les scientifiques sont même pas d’accord?” qui pourrait aider bien des enseignants en science! Elle sera présentée par M. François Lombard, M. Andreas Müller et M. Bruno J. Strasser, tous de l’IUFE de l’Université de Genève, le lundi 27 novembre 2017 de 12:15 à 13:15. Elle se tiendra à IUFE, dans la salle 234.




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Ma thèse en 180 secondes: Le déterminisme génétique

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Félicitations à Florian Stern qui a gagné le second prix à la finale genevoise du concours « Ma thèse en 180 secondes ». Il a brillamment présenté ses travaux de recherche sur les conceptions alternatives (les idées reçues) en génétique chez des étudiants au niveau pré-universitaire. Sa présentation vidéo est disponible ici: https://mediaserver.unige.ch/play/101508/Florian%20Stern

De plus, Florian participera à la finale Suisse, ce jeudi 18 mai à 18h30, à l’Université Dufour de Genève. Venez nombreux pour le soutenir : l’entrée est gratuite, avec inscription obligatoire :https://www.mt180.ch/finale-suisse-2017/


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Diagnostic of students’ misconceptions using the Biological Concepts Instrument (BCI)


Youpi! Our paper “Diagnostic of students’ misconceptions using the Biological Concepts Instrument (BCI)” is now available online here in PlosOne: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176906.

Article in pdf is available here: Champagne_misconceptions

Congratulations to all collaborators! And many thanks!


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Results on questions 15, 16 and 20. Many participants were attracted by the oversimplifying analogy of puzzle pieces to explain molecular interactions and underestimated random diffusion and collisions as the main influence to spread and separate associated molecules.




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Debunking Nature of Science (Part 2)

The Duplo Vitruvian Man. Background figure presented by Prof Galili (not that one, but the original!). The anatomy of Science education = subject matter, pedagogy and didactics, cognitive sciences, philosophy and history. Who knows? Whom to ask?

Last Monday, I have been to an interesting presentation (see previous post here) titled: “The need of refinement of the features of the Nature of Science sometimes stated to be the “consensus view” in science education discourse” by Igal Galili, professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof Galili has background in physics and has a very strong interest in physics education (see here his remarkable contribution in divers scientific journals). The structure of knowledge into a discipline and perceptions of students on knowledge that educators tend to teach them are central themes of his research. In addition, he suggests an alternative model of the nature of science (NOS) features often taught to future science teachers. The presentation was interesting because it reflected quite well the development of knowledge: (re)-elaboration, refutation and re-elaboration of a model. You will see why by reading the following post…

Who knows? Whom to ask?

In general, NOS refers to the study of knowledge, i.e. the epistemology of science. Philosophers and historians of science, scientists and scientist educators are contributing to analyzing scientific conceptualization models or paradigms (Kuhn 1962) and attempt to determine the origin, the value and scope of knowledge (Lederman et al. 2013). The underlying questions of NOS are who knows and whom to ask (here is an interesting chapter about Prof Joseph Schwab (1939-1986) and his contribution in the emergence of contemporary NOS debates). The nature of science (NOS) is always more promoted in teaching biology. Indeed, it is well reported that many students do not realize how scientific knowledge (or data) are elaborated and are they can be “fixed” over time (Sadler et al. 2007; Burgin & Sadler 2015; Lederman et al. 2013). The teaching of NOS can improve scientific literacy, i.e. “an individual’s ability to make informed decisions about scientifically-based personal and societal issues” (Campanile et al. 2013, p. 206). In addition, the consideration of the NOS helps to understand the fallibility of science and consequently, driving the scientific research process continuously through new discoveries or innovations. We can easily understand how important learning NOS can be for students who expect working in scientific or technology research (and also for all students).

NOS characteristics

The NOS underlying 7 characteristic guidelines (Lederman et al. 2013) (read here for a complete description of each characteristic):

  • There is a distinction between observation and inference.
  • There is a distinction between scientific laws and theories
  • “Even though scientific knowledge is, at least partially, based on and/or derived from observations of the natural world (i.e., empirical), it nevertheless involves human imagination and creativity”.
  • “Scientific knowledge is subjective or theory-laden”.
  • “Science as a human enterprise is practiced in the context of a larger culture and its practitioners (scientists) are the product of that culture”.
  • “It follows from the previous discussions that scientific knowledge is never absolute or certain”.
  • “Individuals often conflate NOS with science processes (which is more consistent with scientific inquiry)”. There is not a single scientific method.

Features of Science

At first sight, the Ledermann 7-NOS features make sense for many people in education, including me, who often observed students’ weak scientific literacy. Such features are accessible (philosophical or historical backgrounds are not required to understand them) and can catalyze very interesting discussions between educators and students in science courses. However, as everything, there is a “but” to address the 7-NOS features with students. Here comes the main theme of Prof Galili’ presentation, who explained some limits of this model. The main concern is the overgeneralization of the features. For example, the distinction between laws and theories is quite debatable. A theory can be everything! It includes laws, models, principles, rules, definitions, experiments and epistemology aspects. This dichotomised thinking is not relevant in teaching science. Another example is about the subjectivity of science. Being subjective means for the majority of people that knowledge are influenced by someone’s personal feeling rather the facts. Or that knowledge exists only in someone’s mind. Biology or physics teachers can be unsafe to introduce the subjectivity of science to students. Being potentially destabilized in their learning, students may question the knowledge they have learned and asking why they have to learn it (which I’m considering this questionning totally relevant). As Prof Galili suggested, being objective does not presume being universally correct. “Knowledge is objective in certain conditions (the facts) over which arbitrary will have no control”. Here are its suggestions to specify the 7-NOS features in an educational context (see also Matthews 2012, available here):

  • Theory-empirical symbiosis.
  • Theories and laws in a based cultural structure
  • Enculturation
  • Objective product (theory) subjective inquiry (form)
  • Socially independent essence
  • Hypothesis, tentativeness, certainty
  • Scientific method, rules and procedure not anything goes

I will not detail all Prof Galili 7-NOS revisited features. Rather, I simply recommend to read this chapter: “Changing the Focus: From Nature of Science to Features of Science” by Michael R. Matthews in Advances in Nature of Science Research (M.S. Khine, ed.), available here. As Prof. Galili, Matthews considers the 7-NOS list incomplete and superficial. He suggests additional features covering realities of science studies and to change of focus from NOS to FOS, for Features of Science. Prof Galili argues “for addressing the features of science in the span of variation objective-subjective, tentative-certain, and so on depending on the context” (as cited in the presentation abstract, below).

Conclusions (tentative of…)

The idea of this post is not to decide who suggest the best model for teaching the construction of scientific knowledge. Both demonstrate the necessity to explore NOS with students to induce the development of scientific literacy. Interestingly, this debate reflects quite well the development of knowledge: (re)-elaboration, refutation and re-elaboration of a scientific model. All knowledge are subject to negotiations and consensus (Kuhn 1962).  To conclude, I quote Prof Galili’s argument: “that comparing and contrasting the contributions of scientists addressing similar or the same subject could not only enrich the picture of scientific enterprise, but also possess a special appealing power promoting genuine understanding of the concept considered” […] Considering this difference is educationally valuable, illustrating the meaning of what students presently learn in the content knowledge […], as well as the nature of science and scientific knowledge” (Galili 2015, in the abstract). I could not conclude better!



Burgin, S.R. & Sadler, T.D., 2015. Learning nature of science concepts through a research apprenticeship program: A comparative study of three approaches. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, pp.n/a–n/a.

Campanile, M.F., Lederman, N.G. & Kampourakis, K., 2013. Mendelian Genetics as a Platform for Teaching About Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry: The Value of Textbooks. Science & Education, 24(1-2), pp.205–225.

Galili, I., 2015. From Comparison Between Scientists to Gaining Cultural Scientific Knowledge. Science & Education, 25(1), pp.115–145.

Kuhn, T.S., 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 4th Edition, 2012, University of Chicago Press.

Lederman, N.G., S, L.J. & Antink, A., 2013. Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry as Contexts for the Learning of Science and Achievement of Scientific Literacy. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 1(3), pp.138–147.

Sadler, T.D., Chambers, F.W. & Zeidler, D.L., 2007. Student conceptualizations of the nature of science in response to a socioscientific issue. International Journal of Science Education, 26(4), pp.387–409.


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Aperçu des idées reçues d’étudiants en biologie

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Le 24 avril 2017, pour une première francophone (!!), je présenterai quelques-uns de mes résultats obtenus lors de mon projet de doctorat. La présentation aura lieu à 12:15, à l’Université de Genève,  en salle 225 de  l’IUFE au Pavillon Mail. Soyez les bienvenus!



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Debunking Nature of Science (Part 1)

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Aura lieu le mardi 2 mai, à 12:15, un séminaire qui a pour titre : “The need of refinement of the features of the Nature of Science sometimes stated to be the “consensus view” in science education discourse”. Ce séminaire sera présenté par le Professeur Igal Galili, de la Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Le rendez-vous a lieu à IUEF du Pavillon Mail, à Genève, dans la en salle PM10.

On Tuesday, May 2 at 12:15, the seminar titled: “The need of refinement of the features of the Nature of Science sometimes stated to be the “consensus view” in science education discourse”  is presented by Professor Igal Galili, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The seminar takes place at IUEF of the Pavillon Mail, in Geneva, in the room PM10.

Voici le résumé de la présentation/here is the abstract of the presentation:

Abstract. Until recently, features of nature of science (NOS) were often not addressed in science curriculum at all or addressed superficially, drawing on an oversimplified perception of philosophy of science.  Within the attempt to improve the situation, a specific discourse has been developed by researchers in science education.  Since describing the nature of science involves the knowledge of history and philosophy of science, the discourse on NOS in education is not immune to confusion and speculative statements that require clarification to the wide population of students and practitioners. Such are, for instance, the popular claim of science to be “subjective” or rejecting the need of history of science for containing obsolete knowledge. We have performed several studies, and participated in HIPST European international project to provide a more comprehensive account for the subject.  Within this approach, we have developed so called discipline-culture framework to represent scientific knowledge seeking cultural content knowledge (CCK)* as well as addressing epistemological aspects of science.  The two require different accounts for presenting different types of culture – the culture of rules (the content knowledge) and the culture of texts (the scientific method) (**).  In my talk, I will describe our understanding of the NOS features as mentioned in literature (***) and their correspondent refinement.  We argue for addressing the features of science in the span of variation objective-subjective, tentative-certain, and so on depending on the context.

(*) Galili, I. (2012). Cultural Content Knowledge – The Case of Physics Education. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 20(2), 1-13.  Galili, I. (2014). Teaching Optics: A Historico-Philosophical Perspective. In M. R. Matthews (ed.).  International Handbook of Research in History and Philosophy for Science and Mathematics Education, pp. 97-128, Springer.

(**) Lotman, Yu. (2010). The problem of learning culture as a typological characteristic. In What people learn. Collection of papers and notes (pp. 18-32). Moscow: Rudomino.

(***) Lederman, N., Abd-el-Khalick, F., Bell, R.L. & Schwartz, R.S. (2002). Views of Nature of Science Questionnaire: Toward Valid and Meaningful Assessment of Learners’ Conceptions of Nature of Science.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(6), 497–521.


Pour plus d’information sur les projets du Professeur Galili, cliquer ici.


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Workshop: Naturwissenschaftlich – technischer Unterricht

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On March 25, 2017, Swiss Science Education organizes a workshop (SwISE “Innovationstag”) titled: “Naturwissenschaftlich-technischer Unterricht”, at PH FHNW, Campus Brugg-Windisch (09:15 Uhr – 16:40 Uhr).

Prof. Dr. Miriam Leuchter will give a talk titled: “Anschlussfähige Aufgaben im naturwissenschaftlichen Unterricht and Prof. Dr. Gian-Luca Bona: “Die Natur weiss wie’s geht – und wie viel muss ich wissen, um es im Unterricht zu behandeln?”.

In practice stages and short presentations, the participant will test rainworms and laser microscopes, gluing, screwing and braiding, discussing specialist research results and perspectives in science, technology and information formation.

Here is the link to the event: http://swise.ch/home/veranstaltungen/innovationstag/programm/

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Weiterbildung EduETH – Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft UZH

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The “Institut für Erziehungwissenchaft” UZH and the EducETH organize different continuing formations, in German. Next semester, two formations are closely related to biology:

1- Zoologische Systematik

  • Freitag, 3. Februar 2017, 14.00 – 17.00 Uhr
  • Anmeldeschluss: 03.01.2017
  • Fiona Straehl

2- Biologie: Fachwissenschaftliche Vertiefung mit pädagogischem Fokus

  • Dienstags, 23.2.17 – 31.5.17, 9.00 – 9.45 Uhr
  • jede zweite Woche zusätzlich 10.00 – 12.00 Uhr
  • Ernst Hafen, Katja Köhler

Here is the contact:

ETH Zürich


Susanne Schawalder

Redaktion Newsletter



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