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Pilot Project: Science Centre at school

The objective of this project was to make a SWOT analysis of existing hands-on science curricula for primary schools (such as STC, Insight, Foss) and cook-books from science centres from the USA, regarding their effectiveness in creating awareness and positive attitudes with pupils for R&D and stimulating pupils to conduct R&D themselves at a basic level. The aim was to help to select critical success factors for the adaptation of hands-on science curricula in a given EU country.

The project used modern, interactive science exhibitions combining the best practices of informal learning and formal education. NEMO used the pedagogical expertise of the teachers and teacher training institutes as well as the curriculum development input by the educational authorities.

Target age group
11-12 years old children

English, French and Dutch


  • Developing new hands-on science teaching method for primary schools;
  • Doing curriculum analysis on national, local and school level by combining formal education through school authorities and informal learning through science centre experts leading to European synthesis;
  • Implement the new hands-on methods both in student teacher programmes and in-service education;
  • Forming a structural European network for dissemination and sustainability of the results of several European science education projects.

NEMO wanted to fascinate and enthuse a broad public about subjects in science and technology. NEMO is a non-profit organisation opened for the public in 1997; since then 2.5 million people (annual average 300 000); 30% school groups; 70% other public visited NEMO.

Evaluation strategy
The pilot project combined:

  • The findings of desk-research using reports and studies performed in different countries (Sweden, France, England) about formal learning;
  • Science centre "cook-books";
  • The findings from the presentations of the EU conference “Science is primary”;
  • The outcomes of the NEMO project Science on wheels;
  • The outcomes of the project from the American School in The Hague (Science centre at school);
  • Other EU project outcomes usable in this direction.

For further information see the PENCIL deliverables:

D10 Assessment of Pilot Projects
Case studies illustrating the work of each of the Pencil pilot projects (pdf, in English).

D24 Pilot Project Outcomes
The objectives, the learning activities used, the methodology employed and the results of the pilot projects (pdf, in English).

Pilot coordinator
NEMO, Dutch National Centre for Science and Technology

Website of the project
Visit the website: Science Center at School

Contact details
Oosterdok 2
1011 VX Amsterdam
tel. 0900 - 91 91 100 (€ 0.35)
fax 00 31 20 – 5313535

Project coordinator
Leo van den Bogaert
Tel.: +31205313133

Scientific partners
• AMSTEL-Instituut (university of Amsterdam) Science Faculty
• EfA, Education faculty of the university of Amsterdam
• VeDoTech, Association of Technical Teachers
• SLO, Dutch Institute for curriculum development 

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