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King D Carlos, a naturalist oceanographer
A Naturalist Who Became a Pioneer of Experimental Marine Oceanography in Portugal
Assets for Science Education
Keywords: History of Science; History of Oceanography; Nature of Science; Biology Education; Science Education; Science Museums
2. Author(s) and Institution
Cláudia Faria, Gonçalo Pereira, Isabel Chagas
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Institute of Education, University of Lisbon Campo Grande, Edifício C6, Piso 1, 1749-016, Lisbon, Portugal
This case study results from a partnership between the Institute of Education of the University of Lisbon and The Aquarium Vasco da Gama.
3. AbstractThe case of D Carlos de Bragança, King of Portugal from 1889 to 1908 and a pioneer oceanographer, serves as an occasion to explore biological classification, specimen collecting and scientific illustration (biological drawing). The proposed activities help students to develop a deep understanding about the nature and methods of science and an awareness of the complex interactions among science and society.
The activities are focused on the work of King D. Carlos, who dedicated himself to the study of Portuguese coastal fauna, and were addressed to Secondary Biology students (levels 10 and 11). They include a pre-visit orientation task, two workshops performed in a science museum (Aquarium Vasco da Gama) and a follow-up learning task. In class, students have to analyse original historical excerpts of the king’s work, to discuss and reflect about the nature of science. In the museum, students actively participate in a set of activities related to biological classification and specimen drawing.
The general proposition underlying this case study is that engaging students in an activity that involves a field trip to a science museum, extending it by adding a historical dimension, constitute a compelling context for learning about scientific practices and concerns over time. Additionally, it highlights the importance of the use of science museums as an excellent context to develop activities embedded by history of science, since many of them possess historical collections that represent unique resources, rarely available in schools.
4. Case Study descriptionThe central theme of the activities is the work of D. Carlos de Bragança, king of Portugal (1889-1908), a pioneer oceanographer who dedicated himself to the study of Portuguese coastal fauna and leaved a legacy of scientific knowledge. The king dedicated himself to the study of the sea and tried to accumulate data in a systematic mode. During 12 years of oceanographic campaigns (1896 to 1907) along the Portuguese coast, D. Carlos collected a large zoological collection with great historical and scientific value. Besides their biological value, this collection is largely valued by D Carlos numerous personal observations about some aspects of the ecology of the species, their economical value and fishing methods used, as well by the drawings and water-colors he produced. In addition, the King also had an extraordinary role in scientific public divulgation. He organized a large number of national and international exhibitions, representative of the biological diversity of Portuguese coast.
The activities are designed to run both in class and in a local Aquarium, the Vasco da Gama Aquarium. In a pre-visit orientation class, students analyse two excerpts of the king’s diary related to the 1897 oceanographic campaign, and respective laboratory reports, in order to discuss different forms of scientific reporting and to compare different methods of collection and preservation of biological specimens. In the Aquarium, students participate in two workshops about biological classification and specimen drawing. In the follow-up activity, students analyse excerpts of texts of a contemporary Portuguese oceanographer, Luíz Saldanha, about the king’s scientific work and about the scientific historical context of the time, in order to discuss and reflect about the nature of science and scientific work.
In the beginning of the twentieth century the study of the sea was giving its "first steps". For example, life at great depths was not accepted by the scientific community, even in the presence of numerous evidences, because of the work of Edward Forbes, in 1841 in Egean Sea. According to this researcher, life wasn't possible below 660m depth because of the absence of light and low temperature, characteristic of these depths ("azoic zone theory"). Scientists were so convinced about this wrong idea, that Barbosa du Bocage, another Portuguese dedicated to the study of the sea, in 1864, when describing a new species collected by local fishermen, didn´t refer that it was collected deeper than 660 m. Only 7 years later, in 1871, he disclosed that information, after a number of similar evidences similar came out all over the world. One of these evidences was obtained in Portugal, where local fishermen (from Setubal and Sesimbra) were used to catch sharks at 1200m depth.
5. Historical and philosophical background, including the nature of science
D. Carlos de Bragança, King of Portugal from 1889 to 1908, dedicated himself to the study of the sea and tried to accumulate data systematically. During 12 years of oceanographic campaigns along the Portuguese coast, D. Carlos collected a large inventory of the Portuguese faunal coast. The King made numerous personal observations, concerning the geographical distribution, behavior, fishing methods and economical value of the described species. He also made drawings and water-colors illustrating rigorously specimens and natural phenomena. In addition, the King also had an extraordinary role in scientific public divulgation. He organized a large number of national and international exhibitions with the zoological specimens and the oceanographic instruments used for collection (e.g. 1897, Science Museum of Lisbon; 1898, Aquarium Vasco da Gama; 1902 and 1903-1904, Science Museum of Oporto; 1904, Geographical Society of Lisbon; 1906, Science Museum of Milan, Italy). Some collected specimens were also sent to Natural History Museums of Paris and London.
D Carlos’ legacy was remarkable for scientific knowledge and methodological innovation, setting together a naturalistic point of view through scientific illustration, and an experimental approach with a range of collecting procedures whose data he systematically registered. The logs filled with beautiful water-colours, field notes, data and calculations, the zoological collection, and the instruments from oceanographic campaigns he leaded are part of the permanent exhibition of the Vasco da Gama Aquarium located near Lisbon.
The Vasco da Gama Aquarium is a scientific and pedagogical institution, which opened its doors to the public in 1898, during the 4th centenary celebrations of the discovery of the sea-route to India by the renowned navigator Vasco da Gama. 100 years later, the Aquarium still plays a fundamental role in the divulgation of Aquatic Biology in Portugal.
6. Target group, curricular relevance and educational benefits
The activities are addressed to secondary students of Biology, with an age between 15 and 18 years (10th and 11th grades), and are related to the curriculum themes of biological diversity, systematics and the nature of scientific investigation.
General learning objectives are:
Substantive and procedural knowledge
- To develop a better understanding of the diversity of Portuguese coastal fauna
- To understand the importance of the observation and data report in Biology
- To understand the role of scientific illustration in the study of life
- To understand the importance of taxonomy and systematic by the use of dichotomic keys
- To know the work of the King D Carlos
- To contact directly with original documents and features
- To develop a deeper understanding of the nature of science
- To understand the relations between science and society
- To understand how the scientists work
- To understand the transitory nature of the scientific knowledge
- To use scientific language
- To analyze and interpret different sources of information in different media
- To present and discuss different ideas
- To use technology for information search and presentation
- To solve problems
- To interpret data
- To carry out inference
- To evidence relationships
- Aesthetic sense
- Value evidence
- Critical reflection
- Capacity of observation
- Scientific accuracy
- Respect for the others opinion
7. Activities, methods and media for learning
Pre-visit orientation class
Students analyse two excerpts of the king’s diary related to the 1897 oceanographic campaign and respective laboratory reports in order to:
- discuss different forms of scientific reporting either in the laboratory or in the field;
- deal with methods of collection, preparation and preservation of biological specimens, and compare the methods used in past with present ones;
- reflect about the psychological qualities of scientists.
Aquarium Workshop 1: Biological classification
Students are introduced to the king’s work, collection and scientific methods. Furthermore, they compare actual biological classification methods with those developed by the king, and classify a group of marine organisms, present in life exhibition of the Aquarium, with a dichotomous key.
Aquarium Workshop 2: Biological drawing
Students are introduced to biological illustration and drawing techniques, based on observation. Furthermore, they observe and draw some marine organisms, present in life exhibition of the Aquarium.
Both workshops have a theoretical session and a practical session.
Follow-up activity Students analyse excerpts of texts of a contemporary Portuguese oceanographer, Luíz Saldanha, about the king’s scientific work. They are asked to reflect about how scientific knowledge is constructed and about the importance of scientific publication.
The main strategies used in these activities are collaborative work, discussion, interpretation of historical documents, internet research, analysis and contrast of different ideas (biological classification systems) and methods for collecting data, use of dichotomous keys, observation and description of living beings, scientific drawing.
The main difficulty is related with the analysis of the historical documents because of the old fashioned writing style characteristic of the Portuguese language used in the end of the XIX century.
8. Difficulties in teaching and learning
9. Pedagogical competenciesConcerning school activities teachers are asked to:
- Supervise students’ collaborative work which involves document analysis (in the activity sheets), discussion, and information search on Internet;
- Update both their knowledge about history of science (in particular related to the topic in study), and experience about how to integrate history of science in science teaching;
- Dialogue with the museum staff in order to promote an adequate integration of in school and in museum activities.
10. Documentation research evidence of studiesSeveral methods of data collection were applied in order to assess the effectiveness and applicability of the activities under study. All the sessions in which the activities were implemented were video and audio recorded. In addition, a record of students’ behavior was registered by one of the researchers in the context of participant observation. All documents produced by the students were collected and subjected to content analysis.
When activities concluded students answered to a questionnaire in order to present their perception towards the activities. This questionnaire was inspired in one developed by the European Project PARSEL - Popularity and Relevance of Science Education for Scientific Literacy (www.parsel.eu) and included 20 questions. A Likert scale of five terms was used to register the intensity of response. The terms ranged between 1, total agreement and, 5, total disagreement. The questions were organized in five dimensions: general perspective about science teaching and the importance of teaching history of science; feelings towards the activities; perception about the relevance of biological sketching/drawing activities, the importance of the history of science, and the promotion of affective and cognitive competences. The questionnaires’ responses were submitted to a statistical descriptive analysis. At the end of the activities one student (n=5) of each group (chosen by the group) was interviewed with the purpose to obtain in-depth profiles of students’ views about the following dimensions: popularity and relevance of this type of work for learning science, relevance of the scientific subject, relevance of the historical approach and their impact in students’ ideas about the nature of science. These interviews were video and audio-recorded. Records were transcribed for content analysis in which coding categories emerged from searching the different meanings in students’ answers, which were subsequently organized into different categories. The creation of these categories was influenced by the objectives and the theoretical scaffolding of the study.
11. Further professional development of users
- Bragança, C. de (1897). Yacht Amélia. Campanha oceanográfica de 1896. Imprensa Nacional, Lisboa, 20 pp.
- Bragança, C. de (1899). Pescas marítimas, I - A pesca do atum no Algarve em 1898. Resultados das Investigações cientificas feitas a bordo do yacht “Amélia” e sob a direcção de D. Carlos de Bragança. Imprensa Nacional, Lisboa.
- Bragança, C. de (1902). Rapport préliminaire sur les Campagnes de 1896 à 1900. I - Introduction, Campagne de 1896. Bulletin des campagnes scientifiques sur le yacht “Amélia” par D. Carlos de Bragança. Imprensa Nacional, Lisboa.
- Bragança, C. de (1904). Ichthyologia. II - Esqualos obtidos nas costas de Portugal durante as campanhas de 1896 a 1903. Resultados das Investigações cientificas feitas a bordo do yacht “Amélia” e sob a direcção de D. Carlos de Bragança. Imprensa Nacional, Lisboa.
- Braganca, C. de (1957). Diário Náutico Yatch Amelia. Marinha Portuguesa, Lisboa.
- Carpine_Lancre, J. and Saldanha, L. (1992). Dom Carlos I Roi de Portugal, Albert Ier Prince de Monaco. Souverains océanographes. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa.
- Carvalho, A. and Fernandes, C.V. (coord) (2007). Mar! - Obra artística do Rei D Carlos. Sete Mares, Estoril.
- Deacon, M. (1997). British Marine scientists in Portuguese seas 1868-1870: 65-110 In: Saldanha, L. & P. Ré (eds), One hundred years of Portuguese Oceanography. In the footsteps of King Carlos de Bragança. Publicações avulsas do Museu Bocage (nova série), 2.
- Magalhães Ramalho, M. and Antunes, M. E. (eds) (1996). D Carlos de Bragança – A paixão do mar. Parque Expo 98, Fundação da Casa de Bragança, Marinha Portuguesa, Lisboa.
- Markham, C.R. (1908). Oceanographic researches of His Late Majesty King Carlos of Portugal. The Geographical Journal, 31, 514-518.URL: books.google.com/books?id=_qcMAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA514
- Rice, A. (1997). The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and the development of oceanography: 111- 124. In: Saldanha, L. & P. Ré (eds), One hundred years of Portuguese Oceanography. In the footsteps of King Carlos de Bragança. Publicações avulsas do Museu Bocage (nova série), 2.
- Ruivo, M. (1957). D. Carlos de Bragança Naturalista e Oceanógrafo. Conferência, Fundação da Casa de Bragança.
- Saldanha, L. (1980). King Carlos of Portugal, a Pioneer in European Oceanography: 606-613. In: Sears, M & D. Merriman (eds.). Oceanography, The Past, Springer-Verlag.
12. Written literature resources
1. Scenario of the school activities with the worksheet:
2. Workshops at the Aquarium (Brief description of the workshop activities to be developed in the Aquarium)
3. Students' questionnaires
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