IP-2018-01-9085 (INVESTIGATE) - finished project

Principal investigator: Maja Planinić, PhD, Assistant Professor

Institution: Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Research group: Katarina Jeličić, PhD, (Faculty of Science, Zagreb), Ana Sušac, PhD (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, Zagreb), Lana Ivanjek, PhD (Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, Austria), Karolina Matejak, MSc, (Faculty of Science, Zagreb)

Project duration: 22. October 2018. – 21. July 2023.

Funding: Croatian Science Foundation

The current reform efforts in Croatia in the field of physics education are aimed at promoting the inquiry–based teaching to replace the dominant practice of teaching-by-telling in Croatian secondary schools. The new approach should include many more investigative students' experiments than is currently the case. It would therefore be important to investigate the effects of their inclusion, and to assess the possible benefits as well as problems. The research will be focused on wave optics, which is taught in the fourth year of the secondary school (age 18-19 years). The students will be selected from gymnasiums of general education type in the Zagreb area. The existing physics education research studies concerning wave optics point to many student conceptual difficulties, and suggests that this topic is hard to master without experiments. The additional problem of the lack of the adequate experimental equipment in most secondary schools, as well as the lack of physics teachers experienced in inquiry-based teaching, presents a huge obstacle for the introduction of this type of teaching in Croatian secondary schools. The aim of this project is therefore to first provide the necessary equipment, training and support for the participating teachers, and then to estimate the effect of the teaching intervention on the students' scientific reasoning and conceptual understanding.

The expected results of the project include the construction of a new diagnostic test for wave optics, the development and testing of the secondary school inquiry-based teaching materials related to wave optics, an overview of Croatian gymnasium students' difficulties regarding this topic, and an assessment of the effect of investigative experiments on students' scientific reasoning and conceptual understanding. The project may also contribute to the introduction of the inquiry–based physics teaching in Croatian secondary schools. Its results may provide valuable information for the Croatian educational authorities regarding the costs and benefits of the implementation of this teaching approach.


An introductory seminar was held for teachers as part of the HRZZ project INVESTIGATE

On February 27. 2019, at 7:30 p.m. (until 9:30 p.m.), an introductory seminar for high school physics teachers who expressed interest in participating in the implementation of the project IP-2018-01-9085. The seminar was held in lecture hall F102 at the Physics Department of the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, Bijenička 32. The full title of the project is "Effect of inclusion of students' investigative experiments in secondary school physics teaching on the development of scientific reasoning and conceptual understanding",and it is financed by the Croatian Science Foundation. The principal investigator is Assistant Professor Maja Planinić, PhD from Faculty of Science in Zagreb.

There were 26 high school physics teachers from Zagreb and the surrounding area at the seminar together with the senior advisor for physics of the Education Agency Gordan Pihač, prof. The seminar was led by Maja Planinić together with her collaborators on the project: Katarina Jeličić, PhD, Assistant Professor Ana Sušac, PhD and Karolina Matejak Cvenić, prof. The participants of the seminar were informed about the project itself and the possibilities of their participation in it. The participants asked numerous questions about the project and the ways to get involved in it, and then they applied for the desired ways of participation. The dynamics of project activities involving the involvement of high school teachers were discussed with those who applied.

Results of the seminar:

- 11 teachers signed up to participate in the teaching intervention,

- 23 teachers signed up to participate in the research-oriented teaching of wave optics,

- 15 teachers signed up to test the Conceptual Survey on Wave Optics (CSWO) for the school year of 2018/19. 

- 13 teachers signed up to test the CSWO for the school year 2019/20,

- 13 teachers signed up for testing teaching materials.


Announcement of teacher training as part of the INVESTIGATE project

Venue: Department of Physics at Faculty of Scienc.  Bijenička 32, Zagreb

Time of performance: August. 29th until August 31tg 2022, every day 10 a.m. - 4 p.m

Application method: via the platform of the Education Agency (ettaedu)

Participants: 50 high school physics teachers from all counties

Workshop managers: Assistan Professor Maja Planinić, PhD (Faculty of Science), Associate Professor Ana Sušac, PhD (FER), Jun. Prof. Dr. Lana Ivanjek (Technische Universität Dresden), lecturer Katarina Jeličić, PhD. (Faculty of Science) and Karolina Matejak Cvenić, mag.educ.phys.et inf. (Faculty of Science).

Within the INVESTIGATE project, our research group has prepared a teaching sequence of wave optics for 8 teaching hours, which includes several student research experiments (the topics included are interference, diffraction and polarization of light). The equipment for the experiments was acquired and the corresponding teaching materials were developed. During the three-day training, the participants would be introduced in detail to the research teaching approach, student and teacher experiments, and teaching materials related to the topic of wave optics in high school. After the introductory lecture, we would work in small groups every day (analysis of teaching materials, performing experiments and parts of the teaching sequence), and each day would end with a joint discussion of what was covered. The participants would receive all the necessary teaching materials so that they can carry out that teaching sequence with their students later. Lunch is also provided for the participants every day. This inter-county meeting will be published on ettaedu platform 2-3 weeks before the date of the meeting, and after publication, interested teachers will be able to register (we cannot accept earlier pre-registrations).


Held teacher training within the HRZZ project IP-2018-01-9085 INVESTIGATE

The meeting was held at the Physical Department of the Faculty of Science, Bijenička 32, 10000 Zagreb. Here you can find the program of the meeting.

As part of the meeting, a series of lectures was held on the results of the INVESTIGATE project, which investigates the impact of including student research experiments in high school physics classes on students' conceptual understanding and scientific reasoning in the context of the Wave Optics curriculum. A series of workshops were held in which the new teaching sequence of wave optics, developed as part of the project, was presented, as well as the equipment for school experiments acquired as part of the project. The purpose of the meeting was the education of a large number of high school physics teachers about research-oriented physics teaching and the results of the project, as well as the training of teachers involved in the project. 46 teachers from all regions of Croatia participated. The participants received all the teaching materials as well as the necessary experimental equipment for implementing the new teaching sequence in their schools.

Workshop managers: Assistan Professor Maja Planinić, PhD (Faculty of Science), Associate Professor Ana Sušac, PhD (FER), Jun. Prof. Dr. Lana Ivanjek (Technische Universität Dresden), lecturer Katarina Jeličić, PhD. (Faculty of Science) and Karolina Matejak Cvenić, mag.educ.phys.et inf. (Faculty of Science), and senior advisor for physics Ivana Katavić, prof. (AZOO, Zagreb)

Workshop co-managers: Mirjana Dabac, prof. mentor (Gymnasium Sesvete), Marko Movre, prof. mentor (XV. gymnasium, Zagreb), Ivana Fundurulić, prof. mentor (II. gymnasium, Zagreb), Boris Štimac, prof. (IV. gymnasium, Zagreb), Jelka Delić, prof. (Vladimir Prelog School of Natural Sciences), Ivana Božičković Peričić, prof. mentor (I. gymnasium, Zagreb), Emil Šatalić, prof. savjetnik (Ruđer Bošković Technical school, Zagreb)

Note: The teaching materials available on this website were developed within the HRZZ project IP-2018-01-9085 INVESTIGATE. The materials can be freely downloaded and used in classes, but it is not allowed to transfer them (in whole or in parts) to printed or electronic materials such as textbooks, manuals, etc. or to publish them on other websites. For additional questions regarding the materials and their application, methodical instructions or sharing your experiences with the application of the materials in class, feel free to contact us at the following addresses: maja.planinic[at]phy.hr kjelicic[at]phy.hr karolina[at]phy.hr