We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. Biological museums can promote interest in evolution and contribute to its understanding. Modern exhibitions generally emphasize the main concepts of evolutionary theory: biodiversity and adaptation. In at the Zoological Museum of Rome, to celebrate Charles Darwin, a pilot didactic project was carried out for schools and the general public in order to involve people in evolutionary issues, to stimulate interest and at constructing knowledge about evolution. An exhibition consisting of exhibits and laboratory settings was created.
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We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. Biological museums can promote interest in evolution and contribute to its understanding.
Modern exhibitions generally emphasize the main concepts of evolutionary theory: biodiversity and adaptation. In at the Zoological Museum of Rome, to celebrate Charles Darwin, a pilot didactic project was carried out for schools and the general public in order to involve people in evolutionary issues, to stimulate interest and at constructing knowledge about evolution.
An exhibition consisting of exhibits and laboratory settings was created. The communicative and didactic strategies were all participative and interactive, based on the personal questioning and restructuring of preexisting knowledge. Behaviors, conversations, and comments by the participants were monitored in order to record any possible change of ideas, interests, attitudes, and learning.
It represents one of the cornerstones of modern scientific thought and provides a precious conceptual framework for interpreting natural phenomena and life on Earth. The evolutionary vision of the world is fundamental, not only for biological scientists but also for lay people, because it improves critical, causal, historical, and relational skills in mental cognitive processes.
Furthermore, it can promote the formation of an ecological conscience as well as an ethical approach toward other living beings in consideration of common relatedness. Therefore, knowledge of biological evolution should be the patrimony of all people. Despite all this, even in countries where evolution is taught, problems are frequently revealed in its understanding and learning. This didactic project consisted of the creation of a participative exhibition composed of some exhibits with showcases and laboratories where observations and various experimental activities for schools and the general public could be carried out.
In this paper, the theoretical framework that inspired the choice of the contents and methodological aspects, some practical experiences performed with schools and the general public, and the impact of this didactic project are reported. I express our vision that the detected widespread lack of knowledge, conceptual confusion, misconceptions, and naive ideas about evolution have to do not only with school education but also with the lack of other opportunities to gain a deeper knowledge of this theme after school training.
In fact, evolution is not an issue covered by the media with the exception of particular events or periods such as the Year of Darwin , nor for life-long learning projects with the exception of those developed by biological museums. Aside from when evolution is popularized, the divulgation approach is lacking in didactic attention toward lay people.
This question was asked to a sample of about adults of various ages, over the course of this didactic pilot project on biological evolution. Charles Darwin is the man who worked towards the discovery of evolution and natural selection. Biological evolution is evolution from a physical point of view. Charles Darwin should be the man who discovered the evolution of the human species but what does species mean? In our research dossier, we have a large number of responses similar to these.
With the exception of people directly involved in scientific studies or professions, all the other Italian citizens interviewed revealed a lack of knowledge, conceptual confusion, or misconceptions and naive ideas. The sample is not very large, but it is enough to suggest a worrying nation-wide ignorance regarding biological evolution. Similar conceptual problems were reported in numerous studies conducted in other countries throughout the world as well; see, e.
The knowledge of evolutionary phenomena is entrusted to scientific teaching, which, in Italy and elsewhere, faces many difficulties, such as few available dedicated hours and tools, few opportunities for teacher training, and few possibilities for integrative curricular experiences. Teaching is generally theoretical and based on the historical aspects of evolutionary theory history of evolutionary thinking; from Lamarck to Darwin to modern evolutionary biologists.
Moreover, in the last few years, biological evolution has occupied less and less space in our curricula. This fact is worrying because only a valid teaching approach can introduce the theory and help to face the difficulty of the theory itself.
Mayr points out that, in reality, we should consider evolution inclusive of five theories. In fact, the understanding of biological evolution requires not only basic scientific knowledge about the organization of living beings but also a good mastery of the concept of species, classification criteria, principles of genetics, and also of the nature of science, as noted by Nadelson Moreover, understanding evolution is made more difficult by a quantity of conceptual and epistemological obstacles, like finalism Aroua et al.
These obstacles prevent the shift from common sense and lay knowledge to scientific understanding. This is confirmed by the fact that, even after scholastic teaching, people young and adult tend to provide teleological or Lamarckian explanations for evolutionary processes and persist in thinking in a finalistic and deterministic manner, as tested, for example, by Bishop and Andersen , Demastes et al.
These models of thinking are probably closer to common sense and usable without having a grasp of scientific knowledge.
Misconceptions and conceptual difficulties have also been verified in teachers—e. Even textbooks often contain misconceptions about Darwin and his ideas Rees Teaching and learning about evolution remains a problem; therefore, experiments should be done using new conceptual pathways and didactical models. Biological museums are involved in most scientific research in evolutionary biology and are interested in public naturalistic education scholastic and life-long education , including evolution.
As a consequence, they are in a singular position and are responsible for observing and studying the obstacles that hinder the understanding of evolution and for proposing innovative techniques to answer the challenge.
The starting point of the theoretical frameworks of this didactic project was the awareness of some common conceptual obstacles about evolution recognized also in the explorative interviews performed for this project. Among these, the difficulty of imagining the unverifiable evolutionary changes of environments and living beings over geological time was recorded in fact it is difficult to master spatial and temporal scales. It is not simple and spontaneous to imagine that environments and living beings change, since the perceivable changes that happen in a human life span are generally physiological ones occurring throughout a life cycle: birth, growth, sexual maturity, and old age death.
Another conceptual obstacle is connecting without finalistic interpretation shapes, structures, physiological functions, and behaviors of living beings to environmental fitness and seeing the reciprocal ecological interactions between environmental factors and living beings. Lay people classifications of biodiversity generally are based on practical and daily use of natural resources like berries, shellfish, healing herbs, etc.
If it is difficult to perceive and classify biodiversity, it is still more difficult for lay people to imagine and explain its origins. According to popular cultures, the origin of biodiversity is explained by means of various traditional myths or cosmogonies based on religious doctrines, among which is also divine creation.
In default of convincing scientific knowledge, these explanations are permanent. Some of these beliefs, such as creation, remain even after scientific instruction Valente et al.
The purpose was to facilitate the introduction to evolution by stimulating conceptual change of previous ideas and beliefs with the help of framing concepts to which evolutionary phenomena could be connected. Framing concepts are ideas or mental images which have the potential to operate as cognitive organizers, to promote the restructuring of cognitive system, and to connect pre-existing knowledge to the new Gagliardi , According to Ausubel , learning is meaningful only if new knowledge is connected to the pre-existing.
Living beings and natural environments change and are changed repeatedly over time. This can be a framing concept to understand evolutionary changes and to wonder how they happen.
So it could be convenient, before teaching Darwinian theory, to emphasize change and to provide some evidence of it, in order to make it acceptable that all living beings evolved in the past and are evolving in the present. The environment and living beings interact. This constitutes a framing concept to understand adaptation and natural selection, given that it is not spontaneous to connect shapes, structures, and behaviors of living beings to environmental factors and, vice versa, environmental organizations and transformation to the living beings.
As a consequence, it could be didactically convenient to provide experiences that favor this reflection and help learners to connect shapes, functions, and behaviors with environmental fitness. Diversity is an emerging property of living beings and it exists at all different levels of life organization. The ability to perceive diversity and the awareness of biological diversity can facilitate the comprehension of evolution. Without these compentencies, it is impossible to recognize the potential and the result of evolutionary processes in biological diversity new species and adaptations, new vital strategies.
The comprehension of this model depends not only on the personal perception and awareness of diversity—on social cultures—but also on the ability to organize living beings in categories outside common sense, and finally on the mastery of evolutionary classification and genetics. We can spontaneously perceive macro-differences among living beings.
However, only through teaching can we learn different categorizations of diversity to understand scientific concepts for example, the species concept , to attribute to biodiversity a role in evolution and fitness, and to questioning oneself about the origin of this diversity.
The genetic fundamentals—which can be learned only by teaching—are essential to master in order to understand post-Darwinian interpretations genetic mutations and causality, genetic heredity, etc. Biological museums can be considered learning environments that facilitate the understanding of scientific concepts because they stimulate interest and motivation, personal inquiry, and reflection.
In modern museums, natural specimens, objects and samplings are displayed following standards that emphasize the diversity of life and the relationships between living beings and their environments. For example, many exhibitions show different specimens belonging to the same species to facilitate the comprehension of intra-specific diversity by the comparison of individual traits, as other exhibitions show different levels of taxonomic—inter-specific biodiversity. Other exhibits show adaptations to illustrate the influence of ecological factors and natural selection.
Many important naturalistic museums have dedicated entire exhibitions to biological evolution e. A special learning context and setting were organized in a large hall of the Museum to display the four conceptual frameworks by means of museum expositive facilities. According to Bruner and Bateson , the narrative dimension is more suitable because we all think through stories; narrative weaving gives sense to our life.
Knowledge should be contextualized. Context gives meaning to the educational experience Bateson The contextualization of a cognitive experience, a sort of setting or background, is essential to direct and facilitate learners to recall pre-existing ideas, to connect those to the new ones, and to move from common to scientific perspective.
In another showcase, one of the case studies reported in The Origin of Species , the Viola Tricolor and the bumblebee, was shown through the display of the natural specimens and the original Darwinian description. In another showcase, some naturalized specimens described by Darwin a Rhynchops nigra , an armadillo, and an iguana were displayed along with panels reporting the original Darwinian explanation, to exemplify his adaptive interpretation.
This exhibit aimed also at confirming the relevance of Darwinian theory and its impact on modern science and at explaining why a naturalistic museum was paying homage to Darwin. In this section of the exposition, visitors students and general public were received by museum educators and began their visit; they were free to explore the showcases, to converse with each other and with the museum educators.
The latter invited visitors to write their ideas about Darwin and evolution if any on special sheets of paper. This strategy aimed at facilitating visitors in understanding the conceptual context an exhibition dedicated to Darwin and his scientific work and at reminding them of their pre-existing knowledge in this field.
The completed sheets remained available to the visitors to verify eventual changes of ideas at the end of the visit. After this initial exploration, visitors were guided by museum educators through the four exhibits by means of which the four conceptual frameworks were put on display, and there they were engaged in practical experiences and debate.
The four framing concepts see above were presented in as many exhibits composed of single showcases and laboratory spaces for practical experiences. The brief texts simply provided starting points to spark personal reflection or short notes for the identification of the objects on display. Images and pictures were also displayed, emphasizing their communicative and expressive values rather than as explanations and information as commonly happens in books and museum exhibitions.
The four exhibit areas were equipped with stopping places and empty exhibition spaces, to be filled with participant creations: drawings, diagrams, and models. In each exhibit, visitors observed biological specimens, saw simulated scientific research; and discussed the themes in working groups, helped by museum educators. They observed the fossils found in the dig and discussed research, questions, and hypotheses about the biological traits and life environments of these organisms. Diagrams, drawings, molds, and models were created by visitors to reconstruct fossil animal shapes and paleoenvironments.
The main concept in this section of the exhibition was the relationship between structures, functions, life environments, and fitness. Here visitors played the role of an entomologist.
They observed numerous naturalized specimens and various models of insects, compared structures, and debated on the fundamental and most successful elements of the evolution of insects: the exoskeleton, wings, mouth apparatus, etc. One exhibit was dedicated to the vertebrate classes, generally more recognizable by visitors because more present in their daily lives.
The museum educators invited the visitors to classify the specimens, stimulated the debate on common classification criteria and on their limits, and suggested the scientific approach based on systematic phylogeny. This experience stimulated reflections not only on common origin and relatedness of living beings but also on their diversity and its origin.
Models of chromosomes and DNA were also put on show. Intra-specific diversity was at the core of this section.
Gnavi Alessandro. Carriere e Curia romana : l'Uditorato di Rota Attraverso un'indagine di carattere quantitativo, basata sull'esame delle carriere di uditori della Sacra Romana Rota la presente indagine indaga sulla fisionomia del tribunale romano dal al Alcune esemplificazioni di carriere di singoli uditori descrivono le strategie familiari, i complessi giochi in Curia romana, per l'assegnazione di uffici diversi, in rapporto alle politiche nepotistiche dei pontefici. L'importanza rivestita dalla carica di uditore di Rota e il fatto che tale ufficio fosse uno dei canali privilegiati di accesso al cardinalato era, d'altro canto, ben chiaro ai trattatisti contemporanei come si evince rileggendo quanto scrive, a questo proposito, Giovanni Battista De Luca alla fine del XVII secolo. A differenza di quanto avviene per altri uffici curiali, dei quali mancano liste complete di funzionari, per la Rota romana si dispone di elenchi di giudici e di atti relativi all'ingresso nel tribunale dell'aspirante uditore. Inoltre l'aspirante uditore deve avere al suo attivo un triennio almeno di insegnamento presso una istituzione universitaria.
Selected Bibliography of Secondary Sources
Fondazione Card. Giumanini Giupponi Tommaso F. Un ordine fragile Ius17 unibo. La grammatica e l'errore Il viaggio oltre la vita I filologi e gli angeli Pier Luigi Nervi La fabbrica dei sogni ius17 unibo. Studi e materiali di diritto penale I racconti di Villapluvia In parti eguali Rivista di fenomenologia, pedagogia, formazione Cincinnato Baruzzi
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