Despite its importance for urban and rural populations, and the environment, often the content "soil" is often relegated to a position of less importance or even ignored in environmental education. The University Extension Program Soil at School/UFPR postulates the scientific and technological knowledge related to soil science promoting awareness that soil is a component of the natural environments. In addition, contributes to the update of the science education, biology and geography, stimulating curiosity and experimentation in the teachers and students of primary and secondary education. This general objective is reached through the interrelated actions of four University extension projects, namely: a) environmental education in soils; b) continuous formation in soils for educators; c) Didactic Exposure of soils; d) Didactic Resources for Education in Soils.

This program seeks to improve the training of undergraduate students in biological sciences and geography, by participating as students with a scholarship or volunteers in the project, and the elective discipline "Soils in basic education" in these degrees. The Soil at School Program deployed in 2003, a Didactic Exposition of Soils, which was open for internal and external community of UFPR. More than 15,000 people have visited this exhibition, which works as a tool to support teaching of soils on the fundamental, medium and higher level. Up to this date, the project has produced more than two dozen University extension courses, as well as University extension events, aimed at transmitting knowledge and skills to middle and high school teachers, especially in the areas of science and geography. Based on the experience of the courses already carried out, the project intends to conduct distance courses free of charge, in view of the great demand that was observed. 

 

A - General information

 

START: January 2002 (in progress)

EXECUTING ENTITY: Soil and Agricultural Engineering Department of the Federal University of Paraná - UFPR

PARTNERS: State Paraná Core of the Brazilian Society of Soil Science, Science team of the Municipal Secretary of education of Curitiba, Environmental education team of the State Secretariat of Education of Paraná

PRESENTED BY: Marcelo Ricardo de Lima and Fabiane Machado Vezzani

RESOURCES: Own

VALUE RANGE: Between U$ 10.000 and U$ 15.000

CATEGORY: Project

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Environment

KEYWORDS: Teaching, Extension, Professors, students, Science, Education in Soils, Environmental Education, Teacher Education, Scientific Popularization, UFPR

TARGET AUDIENCE: Professors and students of fundamental, high, technical education, Students of the undergraduate courses related to the theme soil (agronomy, forest engineering, animal husbandry, life sciences, sciences, environmental engineering, geography, etc.)

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE: State

SPECIFIC AREA OF DEPLOYMENT:

The Soil at School Program of UFPR has as priority activities in the State of Paraná. However, the actions of the program reach other States and countries where the official language is Portuguese, via the Internet. Almost all the material produced by the program is available on the website www.escola.agrarias.ufpr.br, and other repositories, and used by teachers of basic and technical education in various regions of the country.

 

 

B - Description of practice

 

1- BACKGROUND

The University Extension Program "Soil at School of UFPR" continues the experience of "Soil at School project" (LIMA et al., 2008), which was recorded in Extension and Culture Rectory of UFPR, 2002 to 2013, and turned into Soil at School Program - UFPR, in 2014. 

Throughout its existence, the project provided relevant contributions to formal education in soils. However, the growth in the number of activities covered by the project and the increasingly relevance in the national context, demanded the need to expand the same turning it into a University Extension Program, which encompasses the four projects, namely: a) environmental education in soils; b) continuous formation in soils for educators; c) Didactic exhibition of soils; d) Didactic resources for education in soils.

 

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

The Soil at School Program of UFPR aims to popularize scientific and technological knowledge related to soil science. Promoting the awareness that the soil is a component of the natural or anthropized environments, the program contributed to the update of science education, biology and geography, and stimulates curiosity and experimentation in the teachers and students of elementary, middle and technical education.  

Specific objectives:

  • Organize courses of University extension on soils for technicians and teachers at middle and high school in the Paraná State;
  • Develop and disseminate educational material for the popularization of knowledge of the science of soil, primarily aimed at teachers and students of primary and secondary education;
  • Enhance the visitation of the students to the University to experience the soil theme with the Didactic Exhibition of Soils;
  • Systematize strategies and materials for environmental education in soils;
  • Continuing the researches developed about the perceptions and attitudes of teachers and students of primary and secondary education on the topic of soil and on the teaching materials produced by the Soil at School program of UFPR;
  • Improve the training of students of UFPR, in the courses in biological sciences and geography, through the elective discipline "Soils in basic education".

 

3 - SOLUTION ADOPTED

This University Extension Program wants to establish a series of coordinated actions among the four projects, namely: "environmental education in soil"; "Continuing education in soils for educators"; "Didactic exhibition of soils" and "Didactic resources for education in soils".

Within this scope, while some actions aim to produce experiences, teaching materials, teaching procedures, other actions are privileged environment to test, evaluate and validate the same.

To achieve the specific objectives of the program, the actions are distributed between projects as follows:

A) The University extension project "Didactic resources for education on soils" develops, enhances, evaluates and validates educational material on soils for teachers and elementary schools, middle schools and technical schools. Based on current scientific and technical knowledge, with an appropriate and accessible language in order to facilitate its understanding. This goal is to be achieved through the following actions: 1) Develop educational supports (videos, booklets, posters, manuals, etc.) on soils for the elementary, middle and technical levels; 2) integrate the project to publishers and authors, aiming at the improvement of textbooks used in elementary, middle and technical schools; 3) Disseminate the educational media developed by the project primarily through the Internet; 4) Evaluate, critically, the existing or developed teaching material/support. 

B) The University extension project "continuing education in soils for educators" develops continuing education, through training activities (courses) for teachers and future teachers of basic education. This goal is to be achieved through the following actions: 1) Carry out University extension courses; 2) systematize and pass on the accumulated experience in the preparation and deployment of these courses; 3) Offer University extension course through distance education (DE); 4) Evaluate the experiences produced in these courses.

C) The University extension project " Didactic exhibition of soils" maintain a scientific popularization space that can receive students and teachers of different educational levels, formal or non-formal, and test and validate didactic experiences on soils. This goal is to be achieved through the following actions: 1) Develop and continually improve the " Soil experience space "; 2) Elaborate didactic panels on the subject soil and environment and make them available in different media in which the program operates; 3) Broaden the collection of soil monoliths; 4) Assess the didactic experiences produced.

D) The University extension project "environmental education in soils" develops, evaluates and validates strategies and teaching materials for environmental education on soils. This goal is to be achieved through the following actions: 1) Systematize strategies and develop teaching materials on the subject soil and environment for use in environmental education; 2) Undertake environmental education actions; 3) Awareness of professionals for infrastructure works regarding soil as environmental component; 4) evaluation of the strategies and learning materials produced.

All projects have, for their development, the participation of scholars and student volunteers, as well as teachers from the Department of Soils and Agricultural Engineering from UFPR.

 

 

4 - RESULTS ACHIEVED

Throughout its existence, first as project and then as a Soil at School Program of UFPR, the program has achieved most of its goals. Some of the significant results within its four distinct strands.

  • Continuing education for educators – the Soil at School Program of UFPR has carried out 27 continuing training courses for teachers, for more than 1,000 professionals in early childhood education, elementary, middle and technical school. At the end of each course, the participants respond to a questionnaire with questions relevant to what has been learned;  
  • Production of teaching resources for education in soils;
  • Availability of videos – there is a video library of the Soil at School Program of UFPR (https://vimeo.com/user8999548/videos), which provides useful material for teachers of basic education. Only the video "Knowing the soil", in partnership with TV Paulo Freire had more than 155,000 views only on YouTube ® in July 2015;
  • Production of didactic panels on the subject soil and environment: 14 banners are available on the page of the Soil at School Program of UFPR (www.escola.agrarias.ufpr.br/index_arquivos/banners.htm), with the potential to be replicated and used as support for the teaching of soils in fundamental, high and technical school;
  • Preparation of publications on the subject soil and environment: the Soil at school Program of UFPR has produced the books " soil in the environment, approach for middle and high school teachers", "Know soils: approach for elementary school educators in distance mode", and the booklets "Knowing the main soils of Paraná: approach for primary and secondary school teachers" and "Knowing the main soils of the coast of Paraná : approach for primary and secondary school teachers ";

These publications are useful as supplementary materials to support the teaching of the subject "soil" for primary and secondary school teachers, and are available on the website of the Soil at school Program of UFPR (www.escola.agrarias.ufpr.br).

The booklet of soils of Paraná was distributed to all State schools of Paraná, and the booklet of soils of the coast was distributed to all teachers of science, geography and biology of the coastal region of the State.

  • Development of simplified soil map of Paraná-this map was produced with other educational partners (EMBRAPA, EMATER, Brazilian Society of soil science), and was distributed to all State schools of Paraná, as well as is available on the Internet;
  • Preparation and provision of scripts of the Soil Experience Space: the provision of 15 scripts is done through files in PDF format of the program (www.escola.agrarias.ufpr.br/index_arquivos/experimentoteca.htm), in order to help teachers to develop the experiences with his students;
  • Maintenance and expansion of the site and the fanpage of the project on the Internet –with issues related to teaching and sharing activities of other similar programs. The program has a website (escola.agrarias.ufpr.br) and a fanpage on Facebook (facebook.com/solonaescola) used as channels of communication with the community interested in education on soils;
  • Didactic Exhibition of Soils – each year the Didactic Exhibition of soils of the Soil at School Program of UFPR receives between 1,000 and 2,000 visitors. In 2014, for example, 1,361 visitors were welcomed in this space of popularization and scientific dissemination. At the end of the activity, visitors answer a questionnaire. 

 

 

5 - RESOURCES NEEDED

The Soil at School Program of UFPR works with a team of 10 students with scholarship, who are students of Agronomy, animal husbandry, forestry, geography, biological sciences and Visual Arts of the UFPR. However, smaller groups can also perform various activities of the program on a smaller scale. The remaining materials for the literary and audiovisual productions are provided and have common usage in the institution (UFPR) 

 

A physical space is required for deployment of the Didactic Exhibition of soils. Most of the materials used in the demonstrations of this space of scientific dissemination are simple, since they seek to enable the reproduction by the teacher in the classroom.

 

6 - TRANSFER

The methodology used by the Soil at School Program of UFPR was used as a reference for other projects developed in other higher education institutions in the country. Among which we highlight: 

  • Soil at School Project/USP Geography-http://solonaescolageografiausp.blogspot.com.br/ E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Phone: (11) 5077-6312/ Institution: USP- Department of Geography / City: São Paulo (SP)/ Coordinator: Déborah de Oliveira;
  • Soil at School Project /UFPA/ E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Phone: (93) 35151079 Ext: 243/ Institution: UFPA / City: Altamira (PA) / Coordinator: Jaime Barros dos Santos Junior;
  • Soil at School Program /ESALQ - http://solonaescola.blogspot.com/ E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Phone: (19) 3429-4305/ Institution: USP/ESALQ/ City: Piracicaba (SP)/ Coordinator: Antônio Carlos de Azevedo;
  • Soil at School Program /UDESC - http://facebook.com/Pages/Solo-na-Escola-UDESC/ E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Phone: (49) 2101-9184/ Institution: UDESC/ City: Lages (SC)/ Coordinator: Letícia Sequinatto;
  • Soil at School Project /UFCG -http://www.cdsa.ufcg.edu.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=809:solo-na-escola-ufcg-proposta-para-contextualizacao-do-ensino-de-solos-no-ensino-fundamental&catid=93:projetos-em-andamento&Itemid=462/ E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Phone: (83) 3353-1850/ Institution: UFCG/ City: Sumé (PB)/ Coordinator: Adriana de Fátima Meira Vita;
  • Environmental education in soils project - https://www.facebook.com/solosnaescola; Institution: UFRA/ City: Belém (PA)/ Phone: (91) 3210-5123/ E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Coordinator: Vânia Silva de Melo
  • Soil at School Project - http://solonasescolas.blogspot.com.br/ E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ Institution: UNIPAMPA/ City: São Gabriel (RS)/ Coordinator: Mirla Andrade Weber

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

The Soil at School Program of UFPR is directly related to the community. Both the teachers and students who participate in the courses, as the didactic exhibition visitors interact actively. There is always a positive exchange in this interaction. Being able to pass on the acquired knowledge about soils to the participants is rewarding. At the end of each job, there are activities to get feedback from participants and this way increasingly improve the work.

There are still some obstacles like:

a) Lack of autonomy in the management of financial resources, because there is dependency of UFPR in obtaining permanent material or consumables;

b) Difficulty in obtaining transportation for extension workers, due to the limitations of the UFPR Transport Center and priority for teaching and non-extension activities;

c) Limitations of financial and labor resources of public partner institutions of the program. Nevertheless, having as a basis an existing project since 2002, some relationships were already established, this also contributed to the success of the program. 

It is believed to be a good practice because of the positive feedback of the participants and congresses carried out and awards already received. In addition, several similar projects mirrored on the program, spreading so, increasingly, the subject of soil in the communities, popularizing this subject and obtaining the expected result.

 

The visits can happen in the Didactic Exhibition of Soil throughout the year, by appointment, in the morning and in the afternoon. The days and times vary each semester, depending on the availability of scholarship students.

The visits involve a maximum number of visitors of 30 persons, whereas the physical space, and an average number of 10 visitors per schol

 

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