“Scientist as a game”: learning geoscience via competitive activities

Gemma Musacchio, Giovanna Lucia Piangiamore, Giuliana D’Addezio, Stefano Solarino, Elena Eva


Nowadays, science communication is considered as one of the major challenges that research institutions are required to face. The strategies to attract public interest, the choice of the correct language, and the tools to trigger curiosity are a matter of debate. Research claims a concerning disaffection in older students toward science, which suggests that children are one of the major targets to whom the world of science and research should appeal. “Scientist as a game” is an experience of a hands-on approach that is combined with game-related challenges in the field of geoscience, where effective teaching methods require extensive research. This activity was held for the first time in the ‘Giacomo Doria’ City Museum of Natural History in Genoa as an open day laboratory, and it was linked to an interactive exhibition realized by Italy’s Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). We set up four laboratory activities that were focused on: (1) where and why earthquakes and eruptions occur on Earth; (2) how volcanoes happen; (3) what the effect of shaking on buildings is; and (4) how to behave correctly in the case of an earthquake. Children were teamed up to score points according to the challenges included within each activity. The feedback of this experience was very positive, as shown by the questionnaires handed out to the participants immediately after each activity, and it reinforces the reviewed research on using games and hands-on activities in education.



Science outreach; Education; Seismic and volcanic hazard

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-6695
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X