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Teaching Science Through Mystery
11 July 2013

Teaching Enquiry with Mysteries Incorporated (TEMI) is a €3.5 million European Union funded initiative, which over the next three years will change how science is taught in classrooms. Leiden Observatory is the coordinator of the TEMI project in the Netherlands.

The universal appeal of magic tricks, myths and mysteries are being harnessed to help school children across Europe develop a passion for science. A joint collaboration of 13 European institutions will create new science education materials and organise training sessions for secondary school teachers. The TEMI main coordinator, Peter McOwan from Queen Mary in London expands: “People love solving mysteries. The popularity of TV shows, books and films where the plot unfolds revealing new and previously unknown facts shows the 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.”

The TEMI project will use an enquiry-based approach to the resource and teacher training development: a scientific problem will be presented to the students by the teacher, after which the students will themselves come up with a method of solution, followed by a guided explanation by the teacher.

Pedro Russo, TEMI project manager in Leiden explains: “For the TEMI programme, Leiden Observatory will build on the success of the current primary education project EU Universe Awareness and expand it to secondary education. Astronomy is one of the oldest fundamental sciences and it continues to unveil mysteries of our wonderful Universe.” In collaboration with the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA), Leiden Observatory will develop astronomy resources and teacher training methodologies based on the TEMI approach.

TEMI will work closely with established teaching networks to develop activities that use local myths and mysteries to explain science and hopefully get students excited about the subject. In December, a pilot activity will be implemented during the Dutch Physics Teachers Conference (Woudschoten Conference).

For more information about the TEMI programme in the Netherlands, please contact Erik Arends ( 



Teaching Science Through Mystery
Teaching Science Through Mystery