Science, society and sustainability for a critical and inquiry approach at school

Science and technology play an important role in society, giving the possibility to address significant issues of modern times, but also raising ethical and philosophical questions that deserve to be explored. The aim of the course is to combine practical laboratory activities with critical thinking debates in order to better align the scientific research with the values, needs and expectations of modern society.

The course is open to teachers from both scientific and humanistic background. 

The program begins with hands-on activities and the deepening of scientific techniques, such as the synthesis of bioplastics and the creation of edible coatings for food applications. In the second part, the group of participants will turn itself into a community of inquiry, whose aim is to investigate a question of common interest. The community is guided by a facilitator that allows them to deepen and address the question that drives their inquiry. 

The outcomes will be:

  • share ideas to design school activities bridging science and society
  • learn scientific and technical knowledge for a better understanding of science and society issues
  • test and try scientific and lab activities, to be replicated at schools, introducing and launching significant science and environmental topics 
  • learn and test debate models, to be replicated at school, in order to discuss techniques and assumptions and to promote dialogue among different scientific disciplines, science and society
  • provide a critical perspective to support teachers (and students) to face ethical challenges  that contemporary science and society open up

Designed by Fondazione Golinelli in cooperation with Uniser.

4 days programme & 2 day travel: dates to be agreed

Venue: Fondazione Golinelli, Bologna- Italy

Language: English

Indicative Daily Programme

Day 1


  • Partner and project presentation
  • Get to know and workshop on expectations and background experiences


  • Science with and for Society: food technologies.
  • Antioxidants and oxidation reactions in fruits: evaluation and resulting transformation reactions. 
  • Edible coating: techniques, preparation and coating of the organic matter.

Day 2 


  • Evaluation of biochemical parameters related to fruit oxidation and the consequent transformations. Analysis of results.
  • Difference in the use of various edible coatings.


  • Community of Inquiry: introduction to the methodology (what is it, how to initiate it, how to transfer in the classroom?)
  • Workshop of philosophical dialogue centered around the scientific activities and techniques of the morning.

Day 3


  • Science with and for Society: the future of plastics.
  • Chitin: the several forms and derivatives. Investigation about chitin characteristics and its applications in biomedical field.
  • Process of chitin extraction and synthesis of bioplastics. Evaluation of the results.


  • Introduction and presentation of bioethics and science philosophy issues to be presented and discussed with students.
  • Workshop of philosophical dialogue centered around the scientific activities and techniques of the morning.
  • Meta-reflection on the workshop sessions.

Day 4

  • What I’m bringing home?
  • Final evaluation and debriefing session