Science & Education

, Volume 20, Issue 7–8, pp 761–795 | Cite as

Pupils Produce their Own Narratives Inspired by the History of Science: Animation Movies Concerning the Geocentric–Heliocentric Debate

  • Panagiotis Piliouras
  • Spyros Siakas
  • Fanny Seroglou


In this paper, we present the design and application of a teaching scenario appropriate for 12-years-old pupils in the primary school aiming to a better understanding of scientific concepts and scientific methods, linking the development of individual thinking with the development of scientific ideas and facilitating a better understanding of the nature of science. The design of the instructional material supporting this scenario has been based on the study of the history of astronomy and especially on: (a) The various theories concerning the movement of Earth, our solar system and the universe. (b) Key-stories highlighting the evolutionary character of scientific knowledge as well as the cultural interrelations of science and society. The design of the teaching scenario has focused on the participation of pupils in gradually evolving discourses and practices encouraging an appreciation of aspects of the nature of science (e.g. the role of observation and hypothesis, the use of evidence, the creation and modification of models). In this case, pupils are asked to produce their own narratives: animation movies concerning the geocentric–heliocentric debate inspired by the history of science, as the animation technique presents strong expressional potential and currently has many applications in the field of educational multimedia. The research design of this current case study has been based on the SHINE research model, while data coming from pupils’ animation movies, questionnaires, interviews, worksheets, story-boards and drawings have been studied and analyzed using the GNOSIS research model. Elaborated data coming from our analysis approach reveal the appearance, transformation and evolution of aspects of nature of science appreciated by pupils and presented in their movies. Data analysis shows that during the application pupils gradually consider more and more the existence of multiple answers in scientific questions, appreciate the effect of culture on the way science functions and the way scientists work as well as the effect of new scientific interpretations that replace the old ones in the light of new evidence. The development of pupils’ animation movies carrying aspects of the history of astronomy with a strong focus on the understanding of the nature of science creates a dynamic educational environment that facilitates pupils’ introduction to a demanding teaching content (e.g. planet, model, retrograde motion) placing it in context (key-stories from the history of science) and at the same time offers to pupils the opportunity to engage their personal habits, interests and hobbies in the development of their science movies.


Science Teaching Instructional Material Retrograde Motion Short Film Teaching Scenario 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The development and evaluation of the teaching scenario described in this paper took place in the context of the European Research Program HIPST–History and Philosophy in Science Teaching supported by FP7 (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Panagiotis Piliouras
    • 1
  • Spyros Siakas
    • 1
  • Fanny Seroglou
    • 1
  1. 1.ATLAS Research Group, School of Primary Education, Faculty of EducationAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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