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.
Click to enlarge
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
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
Hattie (2009) considers the significance of inquiry-based teaching:
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
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
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.