Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 11

The paper by Quinn and Bell is an extension of on the topic of new science standards from last week. Here the concept of designing, making, and playing (DMP) is introduced in which students on their own initiative go through a process of design and investigation to make something. This lends well into helping students go through the steps of engineering and also making them think about scientific principles and how they fit to an applicable problem. As such engineering projects are not something one associates with traditional classrooms, the authors segue into informal educational opportunities, which in many ways complement traditional schooling and more often allow students to make connections between what they are learning to what exists in the real world. It helps students to develop the ability to think scientifically outside of the classroom and it meshes well with the common core standards of helping students develop practices. The paper by Braund and Reiss also follows the idea of informative learning, this time focusing on out-of-school activities such as filed trips to zoos and chemistry trails. One important point that the authors try to make is that such activities are designed to engage students and retain student interest, so that their attitude towards science does not decline drastically as they get older. It’s an interesting point as society has moved past the age of great discoveries and explorations and that people in general, not only students, are less likely to be wowed by a spacecraft launching than people from decades ago. Thus there is no better time than now to develop ways to help students stay interested in science. The authors also bring up a point about high interest/low learning and variations of this combination to out-of-school activities. It is imperative that educators find the right balance between keeping students engaged and also helping learn about science, as engagement and learning don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.

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