Why do kids lose their enthusiasm for science? It seems to me in preschool and elementary school that science excites children. They love to explore their world and learn why things are the way they are. So what happens to this innate curiosity?
I believe it is still there. For some reason, interest seems to wane in middle school. But, the kids I have worked with love science. They want to know more. They loved learning music through science and math. Many claimed that those are their favorite subjects. Yet, at the same time, I know the interest lessens, and as a result, the aptitude is not developed.
Is it hard? Is it a lack of thorough teacher training?
Are teachers intimidated or afraid to seek outside help with more advanced science concepts?
Is it peer pressure? Science is only cool for some. Does it make you a geek or a nerd? Is there just not enough real science in mass media or pop culture?
Have we forgotten to watch the latest rocket launch and be appropriately in awe? Did we forget that our eco system is in need of repair? Do sports take precedence for coolness?
I think all the above are problems. I would love to know what you think are the problems. What is your experience? Are your students motivated by learning about science and math?
STEM education is a buzz phrase in today’s public education rhetoric. Learning about STEM subjects can open a variety of doors for vocations and careers for students, both for career or college after high school. Many teachers claim they are adding STEM curriculum and projects to their daily work. My fear is that only a few are doing this as the training, especially for elementary teachers, isn’t comprehensive as a part of traditional teacher training. Teachers get “methods” courses in science and mathematics–what does that exactly teach them? No wonder they shy away from STEM! Stem education must begin in the early grades to encourage students, build confidence in their skills, and prevent the attrition of interest in science and math that happens in middle school.
There is loud lip service paid to the need for STEM education. But what is the real follow-through? Are parents supportive, or are they intimidated? Do we figure that students will get this sometime later in their education? Do you think it’s okay to try to go to engineering school or be an architect with three years of high school math that may only take you through advanced algebra?
One of the questions to answer is how did my generation all turn out OK? Well, did they? Do we have enough scientists and engineers? Are we thinking? Are we creative and innovative in business? Do we have high unemployment with many people wanting jobs, and there are jobs, but workers are not qualified to fill them?
I fear that we as a society, or many of us, do in fact fear science. We shy away from facts and prefer the pop culture take on the world. We have not learned how to discern fact from fiction. Just watch the news.
So I call you to action! Please comment and help me to understand and to try to make things change. I know there are a lot of people who want to encourage science and math, STEM or STEAM education. If science has an “image”problem, it is time to bring it into the cool, creative and innovative realm. Talking about it is simply not enough. Let’s make science the new black!
An interesting article :
Spotlight on STEM: http://www.mediafire.com/?lh459b2c52d1q7d
My chart on science and art and how the two are similar and how the two are different.