Science & Education

, Volume 18, Issue 9, pp 1277–1283 | Cite as

Introducing the History of Science at the French Middle School



In scientific teaching, especially in physics and chemistry, some historical aspects have been introduced at the secondary level in France, since 1993. Particularly, in 2007, the syllabuses of 11′–15′ years old level (collège) propose precise activities in history of science and technology. Detailed guidance has been distributed in official ministerial literature. The invention of Volta’s battery in 1800 is one of the examples proposed, which is detailed here.


Middle School Electrical Organ Pedagogical Sequence Pedagogical Team Copper Disc 
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Official Sources

  1. Bulletin officiel (BO) (2007) Mise en œuvre du socle commun de connaissances et de compétences, vol 2. Programmes de l’enseignement des mathématiques, des sciences de la vie et de la Terre, de physique-chimie du collège. Hors série 6, 19 avril 2007, 1–156. Official college-level syllabuses (intermediate or middle school, 11′–15′)Google Scholar
  2. Ministère de l’Éducation nationale (MEN) (2006) École et collège: tout ce que nos enfants doivent savoir. Le socle commun des connaissances, Scérén, CNDP, Xo éditions, Paris, France. With an introduction by Gilles de Robien who at the time was minister of national educationGoogle Scholar

Original Sources

  1. Nicholson W (1797) Observations on the electrophore, tending to explain the means to which the torpedo, and other fish, communicate the electric shock. J Nat Philos Chem Arts 1:355Google Scholar
  2. Volta A (1800) On the electricity excited by the mere contact of conducting substances of different kinds, in a letter to Sir Joseph Banks. Philos Trans part II:403–431, with a plate (letter in French)Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Académie des sciences (1984) Pour l’histoire des sciences et des techniques dans l’enseignement secondaire, Report, November 1984. Still an important sourceGoogle Scholar
  2. Blondel Ch (1994) Histoire de l’électricité, Explora, Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, Pocket sciences, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  3. Fauque D (1997a) Introduire la dimension historique dans l’enseignement secondaire scientifique. In: Rosmorduc J (ed) Histoire des sciences et des techniques. Centre régional de documentation pédagogique de Bretagne, Rennes, pp 89–112Google Scholar
  4. Fauque D (1997b) Les sciences en cycle terminal littéraire. In: Rosmorduc J (ed) Histoire des sciences et des techniques. Centre régional de documentation pédagogique de Bretagne, Rennes, France, pp 113–126Google Scholar
  5. Fauque D (1998a) Introducing the history of science and technology in the secondary curriculum in France. In: Debru C (ed) History of science and technology in education and training in Europe, Strasbourg 25–26 June 1998, European Communities, Luxembourg, pp 193–202Google Scholar
  6. Fauque D (1998b) La dimension historique dans l’enseignement scientifique secondaire en France, Bulletin de l’Union des Physiciens (BUP) 803:623–636Google Scholar
  7. Fauque D (2006) La longue marche d’un enseignement de l’histoire des sciences et des techniques. Trema 26:35–47. Study on the history of the teaching of history of science in the secondary curriculum in France, with a large bibliographyGoogle Scholar
  8. Fauque D (2007) Introduire la dimension historique au collège en France. In: Review of science, mathematics and ICT education, Revue en Éducation des sciences physiques et naturelles, des mathématiques et des TIC, vol I, 2, pp 5–39Google Scholar
  9. Galdabini S (1986) Using historical papers in ordinary physics teaching at high school. In: Thomsen PV (ed) Science education and the history of physics, 3–9 May 1986, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark, pp 170–174Google Scholar
  10. Guillerme A (ed) (2001) L’électricité dans ses premières grandeurs (1760–1820). Revue d’histoire des sciences, 54/1 (special issue): 5–9Google Scholar
  11. Guyon É (ed) (2006) L’École normale de l’an III, Leçons de physique, de chimie, d’histoire naturelle: Haüy, Berthollet, Daubenton, Éditions de l’École normale de la rue d’Ulm, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  12. Pancaldi G (2005) Volta, science and culture in the age of enlightenment, 2nd edn. Princeton University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Piccolini M, Bresadola M (2003) Rane, torpedine e scintille: Galvani, Volta e l’electticità animale Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  14. Sonneville M, Fauque D (1997) La Gravitation, Centre national de documentation pédagogique, Paris, France. Presentation of original texts with an introduction and questions suitable for secondary pupilsGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Groupe d’Histoire et de Diffusion des Sciences d’Orsay (GHDSO)University Paris-XIOrsay cedexFrance

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