Research GRoup on Astronomy and Physics Education  (GRAPE)

Research GRoup on Astronomy and Physics Education (GRAPE)


Ornella Pantano, Giuseppe Tormen, Sandra Moretto, Sofia Talas

Research fellows

Stefania Lippiello, Marta Carli, Mario Perona, Fanny Marcon

Research activities

The group’s research has two main focuses:
- The learning of physics and astronomy, highlighting both students’ difficulties and potential, also from the point of view of personal development;
- The teaching of physics and astronomy at different educational levels, with a focus on pre- and in-service teachers training.
In this context, the group participates in different national and international projects and actively collaborates with physics and general education research groups of other Italian and European universities (Università di Bologna, Università di Pavia, and the Universities of HOPE and CALOHEE network) and networks of local schools.

At the different educational levels, the main research activities of the group are described below.


The group participates in the following projects:
- European project HOPE (Horizons in Physics Education, 2013-2016), aimed at increasing the impact of Physics on the European socio-economic area.
- European project CALOHEE (Measuring and Comparing Achievements of Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Europe, 2015-2017), aimed at comparing and measuring bachelor and master students’ performance Europe-wide across a range of disciplines. O. Pantano coordinates the Physics area work group with F. Cornet from the University of Granada (Spain).
- FisicaMente project (coordinated by G. Tormen and O. Pantano), aimed at analyzing the difficulties of first-year science and engineering students in applying mathematics to physics, and developing empowering actions.
- PRAT project Formative tutoring: an integrated tutoring model for the empowerment of university students (scientific supervisor C. Biasin, coordinator L. Da Re, FISPPA department): within this project the group follows the tutoring activities for preventing first year dropouts in physics, astronomy, and optics and optometry degree courses.

Secondary school

The research focuses on the experimentation of personalized learning paths, training for both students and teachers, and students orientation programmes. Many activities are organized within the Piano Nazionale Lauree Scientifiche project (PLS-Physics, local coordinator O. Pantano), funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) with the aim of motivating and supporting the interest of students towards scientific degrees. The group coordinates the pre-service teacher training and qualification courses for secondary school in the following teaching classes: Mathematics and Physics (A27) and Physics (A20).

Pre-school and primary school

The group develops learning modules for pre-school and primary school mainly by supervising theses and internships on physics and science education for the degree in Primary teacher education.