The POLAR STAR methodology proposes new innovative ways of teaching science, which include the promotion of interdisciplinary learning and the ‘Science as a whole’ idea while supporting the idea of inquiry learning and the combination of science learning with artistic expression. Our methodology is heavily based on the idea that meaningful learning and deeper learning is more effectively achieved when building around an existing knowledge structure. By attaching each piece of new knowledge to an existing organisation, which includes not only concepts and ideas but also personal stories and experiences, students are more likely to increase their knowledge retention, make connections, and recall existing knowledge in order to understand and explain phenomena. Thus it is also essential for our methodology to be accompanied and supported by effective assessment and monitoring tools that go beyond traditional assessment methods and focus on higher-order-thinking aspects of science activities that don’t focus on eliciting fragmented pieces of information but on providing evidence on students improvement in conducting tasks creatively and independently, building on past knowledge and understanding different aspects of scientific inquiry. The assessment and monitoring dashboard is an essential part of the POLAR STAR methodology as it allows teachers and students to gather tangible results on improving students’ basic skills and key competences as well as on changes in the way the perceive science.
The POLAR STAR Assessment Toolkit