Teaching science through mystery

The universal appeal of magic tricks, myths and mysteries are being harnessed to help school children across Europe develop a passion for science in a new project coordinated by Queen Mary, University of London.

Teaching Enquiry with Mysteries Incorporated (TEMI) is a €3.2m EU-funded initiative, which over the next three years will transform how STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) are taught in classrooms. 

Scientists from Queen Mary, with extensive experience of public engagement and outreach, will coordinate TEMI with input from numerous teaching institutions and networks from across Europe, including Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Vice-Principal for Public Engagement and External Partnerships, Professor Peter McOwan and project leader said: “People love solving mysteries, the popularity of TV shows, books and films where the plot unfolds revealing new and previously unknown facts have universal appeal. Our project aims to harness the power of magic tricks, myths and mystery to allow teachers and pupils across Europe to develop their investigative stills and explore some fascinating hidden science.”

TEMI will develop new teaching methods and support science teachers to improve their ability to capture an audience, including through the use of theatre techniques.

Professor McOwan added: “The project hopes to create a range of new teaching materials and classroom training resources for science teachers, such as Smartphone apps, videos and printed materials. We will work closely with established teaching networks to develop activities that use local myths and mysteries to explain and hopefully get students excited about the STEM subject.”

Find out more about the project or keep up to date with progress temi@qmul.ac.uk.

The first teacher training seminars will start in January 2014.