Fostering Inquiry-Based Practices in Science Teaching of Italian Middle School Teachers

Physics Education Research Doctoral Student Proposal


Interest in science is a crucial component of the scientific literacy, and several studies show the effectiveness of Hands-on and Inquiry-Based learning activities in fostering the students motivation in school science [1].

HOP, Hands-on Physics, is a project developed by the CERN Science Gateway Education Labs team aiming at empowering Italian middle school (grades 6 to 8) science teachers to adopt an Inquiry-Based approach in their teaching.

HOP started in 2019 with the development of a collection of teaching units on different physics topics, including a series of experimental activities put together in all-in-one education kit ready to be used in classroom. The second phase of the project will focus on the development of professional training sessions for teachers to reactivate their physics knowledge and to encourage them to include physics experiments, like the ones in the education kit, in their classroom.

In order to evaluate the impact of this project on teacher practices, a comprehensive study should be conducted.

This thesis will focus on the effect of the HOP training sessions on the attitude of teachers towards the education kit, and the implementation of the experimental practices in their science teaching on a long term.

Training Value

The successful candidate will get familiar with the methods used in physics education research, will learn about statistics, and will have the opportunity to take part in the activities of the CERN Science Gateway Education Labs team.


[1] Swarat, S., Ortony, A. & Revelle, W. Activity matters: Understanding student interest in school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 49, 515–537 (2012).

Application Information

Please find all information regarding the formal application below. Please mention “PER-HOP” in your motivation letter, so that your application reaches us directly.

Please find all information on CERN’s DOCT programme at