About the project

The “Schools Study Earthquakes” (SSE) is supported by Erasmus+ Program under the key action Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. It focuses on the study in the reality of classroom practice of a physical phenomenon with great societal impact and proposes pedagogical practices based on inquiry-based methods that are more effective in science education. The objective of this combination is on one hand to increase children’s and students’ interest in science, on how science is made and how it affects every-day life, and on the other to stimulate teacher motivation on up-taking innovative teaching methods, subjects and practices to enrich and renew the science curriculum. The SSE project also provides increased opportunities for cooperation and collaboration between schools across different areas and countries and encourage relationships between stakeholders of both formal and informal education. It also proposes to build a network of schools that will study real data, do real analysis of real situations and real earthquake phenomena in real time. Teachers are key players in the renewal of science education and among other methods, being part of a network allows them to improve the quality of their teaching and supports their motivation. Networks can be used as an effective component of teachers’ professional development, are complementary to more traditional forms of in-service teacher training and stimulate morale and motivation which then is passed to learners and have long-term implications for the individuals and for the society.

Seismology is fundamental for understanding our dynamic planet, as it plays a vital role in monitoring both human-made and natural seismogenic events. Appreciating and understanding seismology's scientific and societal relevance requires knowledge of geology and physics, often coupled with elements of civil engineering, environmental sciences, official state policy, geography and geo-engineering as well as other scientific disciplines. Seismology is thus an engaging and quantitative science exhibiting a number of inherent links to wider areas of science but also to society.

Seismology in school education can promote scientific literacy at all levels but its benefits go far wider than simply providing scientific knowledge about this everyday natural phenomenon. It provides the basis for informed action to protect lives and property on local, regional, and national levels. As such, the SSE project and proposed approach will not only contribute to providing high-level educational material to teachers and their students but will also highlight aspects of civil protection, citizenship, civil responsibility and cooperation. Teachers and students of the participating schools, as part of their involvement, will consider matters connected to the societal impact of this natural phenomenon and will be asked to produce material that can be used in outreach programs for public awareness.

The large societal impact of earthquakes in the participating countries along with the increased awareness of the participating students and teachers will significantly contribute to meaningful collaboration between the participating schools in both national and international levels. The SSE project will take advantage of the opportunity provided and will strengthen these connections through the use of ICT tools on the project website to establish a tight-knit network of schools across the participating countries.
Apart from the proposed benefits of the SSE approach in terms of promoting scientific literacy, civil responsibility and transnational cooperation, the project has set another very important aim, to assist students in developing skills in problem analysis and solution formulation. In order to achieve this, students need to be exposed to real-world problems so that they learn to develop, evaluate and select solutions. Seismology can be safely considered a domain of science that offers this particular real-world setting that will both motivate and improve students’ problem solving skills, both individual as well as collaborative. Teachers also need to be prepared to look at the real world, particularly the world that students live in order to appeal to the affective domain in problem solving (willingness and persistence), but also to the cognitive domain by aiding skill transfer across contexts.

This project is ground breaking in the area of teaching techniques in natural sciences, as for the first time the implementation and creation of a South Eastern European/Mediterranean School Network of digital seismographs for the monitoring of the seismic signals across different regions and countries, is proposed. On the whole this project aims at targeting students’ interest on natural sciences, while making the study of a high importance physical phenomenon, such as earthquakes in the South Eastern European/ Mediterranean area, part of the experimental procedures students follow in the science lessons of their school curriculum. Furthermore students do their studies through inquiry learning methodology. The innovation of the proposed project in terms of student experience and engagement lies in the fact that students deal with real seismic data that they have acquired themselves. A complicated geophysical phenomenon like the earthquake is possible to be studied in the classroom with the use of a simple instrument and results can be obtained with the combination of data from the collaborating schools. The use of the new technologies and ICT in education makes all these activities possible. As a different approach, than a traditional study of the earthquakes, the partnership proposes real data, real analysis of real situations and real phenomena in real time.