It seems the longer I take science courses, the less fun they become. I remember being a kid and excited about science class and new things I would learn about the world. Now as I am taking my graduate studies in optometry, I dread going, have trouble paying attention, and just try to memorize information for the next test. Part of it is the huge amount of material and the other part is the explicit detail of the material that can put an average PhD to sleep. So, what happened and how can we prevent the decline of zest for learning.
Younger students are generally more excitable than their older classmates. The simple things as outlined in my last post (blog 4) are good solutions to keep learning fun for the younger ages. As the child gets older, museums may actually begin to make more sense and be a better tool for learning than the simple trip to the zoo or nature walk. As the young scientists begin approaching high school or graduating high school, I think this is a more critical time to keep science fun. If the students don’t like science during high school, then college and their career won’t be focused towards science. I believe more attention should spent keeping these students fascinated with science. We do a great job early on but as mentioned in my previous post (blog 3) I don’t feel we maintain that fervor towards math and science.
Science and math have a huge function in today’s worldwide economy. The jobs of the future will continue to be geared towards technology which incorporates a lot of math and science. Keeping learning fun may be beneficial for the high school student but perhaps an understanding of how he/she will have to provide for themselves in the future may provide better motivation. Older students tend not to give into gimmicks and stunts that work well with younger kids but showing them how they can apply the lessons of math and science to improve their own lives will not fall on a deaf ear.
Field trips to working plants, factories, and research labs will show the older students the opportunities that can be theirs if they continue to develop as scientists. Bringing medical professionals to speak in class or visits to local hospitals can show the students how science and math will benefit them as they begin to ponder their career paths. Keeping it fun is great for the younger grades but keeping practical may show more results as the young scientist ages.