94336 - History of School and Teaching of Sciences

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Mirella D'Ascenzo

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-PED/02

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Teaching and Communication of Natural Sciences (cod. 5704)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student: (a) knows the evolution of the Italian school system from the Unit to today; (b) knows and understands the historical dimension of scientific teaching tools such as school manuals and pioneering and commercial scientific collections, often still present today in school archives as a historical-educational heritage; (c) knows and understands the history of the teaching profession, especially of secondary school; (d) knows how to structure didactic paths in a critical and historically founded way.

Course contents

The course includes the study of the essential historical coordinates of the Italian school system from the nineteenth century to today in the regulatory-institutional, cultural and pedagogical-didactic aspects, with particular attention to the aspects of the genesis and development of science teaching in the Italian school, especially for secondary school, and of the professor / professor of scientific area. The structure and evolution of the educational programs of the scientific disciplines of the different school levels will therefore be examined, identifying continuity and discontinuity. Another part of the course will focus on the historical-critical deconstruction of the 'black box of schooling', that is, the complex didactic device used by teachers between past and present and which is sedimented in teaching practices, often unconsciously, even today. In particular. we will discuss the specific school manuals, which played an essential role of didactic mediation between academic culture and the world of school. Texts, editors, authors and moments in the history of the secondary school teaching profession will be identified as fundamental in the history of science teaching between positivism, pedagogical activism and post-World War II renewal, up to the birth and development of a more modern scientific and environmental and technological education. is open air. A specific space will be dedicated to the history of open-air schools and educational innovation promoted by them also for scientific teaching. Further attention will be devoted to the birth and development of the didactic tools created for the development of the specific scientific school culture. Specifically, we will focus on some pioneering museums for the teaching of science in schools that arose in the second half of the nineteenth century in Italy and Europe, as well as the scientific collections of a commercial nature present in the editorial catalogs for schools, nowadays the historical-educational heritage of the institutes. older secondary schools, on which comparative research is undertaken at an international level.


M. D’Ascenzo, R. Vignoli (a cura di M. D’Ascenzo), Scuola, didattica e musei tra Otto e Novecento. Il Museo didattico ‘Luigi Bombicci’ di Bologna, Bologna, CLUEB, 2008.

M. D’Ascenzo, I musei didattici tra Ottocento e Novecento in Italia come fonte per la storia della scuola e patrimonio storico educativo, in A. Ascenzi, C. Covato, J. Meda (a cura di), La pratica educativa. Storia, memoria e patrimonio. Atti del 1° Congresso nazionale della Società Italiana per lo studio del Patrimonio Storico-Educativo (Palma de Mallorca, 20-23 novembre 2018), Macerata, Eum Edizioni, 2020, pp. 171-190.

M. D’Ascenzo, Innovazione didattica per la scuola di oggi. Il Giornalino della scuola all’aperto (1921-1924), Roma, TAB Edizioni, in press.

Further texts will be provided in class by the teacher.

Teaching methods

We propose the use of power points, videos, text analysis and, if the pandemic conditions allow it, guided visits to museums, schools and meetings with privileged witnesses from the school world of the seventies and eighties, protagonists of the renewal of teaching of the sciences.

Assessment methods

The exam will consist in an oral test.

The evaluation criteria will follow these indicators:

  • ability to analyse a topic properly, synthetically and exhaustively;

  • theoretical clarity, linguistic accuracy and the use of the specific discipline language;

  • ability to re-elaborate critically and personally, also with references to the lessons.

PLEASE NOTE: to attend the exam it is necessary to enroll through the platform "Almaesami" respecting the deadlines. Those who failed to enroll for technical problems by the deadline, must communicate promptly the problem to the teaching secretariat before the official closure of the enrolling list. It will be faculty of the professor admit them to attend the exam.

Teaching tools

Power point, videos, text analysis.

Office hours

See the website of Mirella D'Ascenzo