The Fibonacci Framework The Project provides a framework for the approach to science practical work, as illustrated on the right. The Fibonacci Project are clear that the framework is meant to be flexible and open to adaptation. Importantly, it forces practical work to be meaningful and not simply busy.
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What about the evidence? So far so good? A clear framework that obliges science practicals to be meaningful, and ensures that learning is planned rather than ‘busyness’? Does it actually work? Does it lead to increased achievement? Unfortunately the Fibonacci Scientific Committee state that it would be premature to attempt to measure such impact quite yet: That’s a shame. I would have thought that a project that includes a budget of nearly 5 Million Euros, a myriad of linked researchers in prestigious universities and an international scale could have squeezed in a controlled trial or two by now, and found creative ways to measure achievement of performance beyond factual recall?! Effect Sizes Hattie (2009) considers the significance of inquiry-based teaching: Hmm... Now don’t get me wrong- I love practical lessons, and I believe that they are invaluable. An effect size of d=0.31 however is pretty low compared to other teaching strategies. Hattie quotes a number of studies by Ted Bredderman from State University of New York. Brennerman gives an effect size of d=0.35 for the use of inquiry-based teaching in science. He recorded big differences in effect size between the achievement in science process domains (d=0.52) and science content (d=0.16). These effect sizes don’t suggest that inquiry-based learning approaches yield big dividends in terms of achievement gains. However, the Fibonacci Project aims to develop a pedagogy for practical work, and it may be that this well-researched pedagogy, when tested, could yield more impressive effect sizes than nice, busy science practicals. The trouble is- we don’t know if that is the case- we don’t have the evidence. Teacher training Finally, in defence of the Fibonacci Project’s preference for teacher training rather than impact evaluation voiced in the extract above, Hattie states that, “Where Science teachers received in-service training in inquiry methods, students significantly outperformed students in traditional programs. The Fibonacci Project- one to watch.  
The Fibonacci Project- Inquiry-based education in Science & Maths  The Fibonacci Project was initiated in January 2010, and now involves more than 2,000 teachers across Europe. The project’s aim is to develop and disseminate the use of inquiry-based education in the sciences and maths. This is no small educational project- the European budget driving it is nearly 5 Million Euros, and we are told that: A solution to science practicals that are simply ‘busy’? I commented recently on the Guardian article that made the case that, “Pupils generally enjoy carrying out experiments - but do teachers overuse them when they should in fact be teaching more theory?”. The Fibonacci Project provides an approach to practical work in Science that offers remediation for these assertions. The rationale behind the inquiry-based approach that the project is disseminating is reproduced below: This fits well with the educational model that states that learning is more than the reproduction of facts, but is about understanding and the development of constructs in the minds of learners.
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