• The Logic of Hands-On Science Instruction

    Hands-on science instruction seems like a self-evidently good idea. Letting students observe and manipulate objects puts science concepts right in front of them, and sometimes literally in their hands. Not only is 500 ml of water twice as much as 250 ml on paper, in the lab it looks like twice as much. The concept of density is almost impossible to “grasp” without holding different objects of the same size but different weights (a plastic and a steel marble, for example) in our own two hands—once we do, the concept becomes entirely clear. Yet a hands-on approach to science education also has particular developmental value to elementary school students.
  • Developmental Considerations in Science Education

    Elementary school teachers face a unique challenge as educators. Every good teacher must cater their teaching strategy to the cognitive developmental level of his or her students. However, in the case of elementary school, teachers must do so for students that are essentially developmentally moving targets!
  • Our Senses and Observation

    We often speak of the power of observation. Why do we refer to observation as a power? A keen sense of the world around us was undoubtedly an essential power of our early human ancestors. Sensing or observing the world around them meant their—and our—survival. Avoiding dangerous animals, sharp objects, steep drop-offs, poisonous plants, and aggressive gestures from other humans all required observation. 
  • Science: Magnificent Progress and Missed Opportunities

    The history of science is largely a history of growth and discovery. Since the scientific revolution near the end of the Renaissance, scientific thought has produced an unending string of achievements, from milk pasteurization to moon landings. It has also, however, had its share of missteps and missed opportunities. 
  • Do laptops in the classroom really help students learn?

    Many college professors believe that laptops in the classroom are distracting to students. Emails and texting communications as well as extraneous Internet information compete with the professor’s words and illustrations for their attention. While studies indicate that students are aware of such distractions, most nonetheless feel that the advantages of laptop note taking exceed the disadvantages.
  • Natural Born Scientists

    Imagine holding a spoon in your hand. You hold your arm out and feel a slight, gentle pull on the spoon, seemingly coming from the very air around ...
  • It is not enough to prepare our students for the future. We must prepare them to change it if necessary.

    The subject of science stands on its own. It’s thinking is unique and wonderful. Nonetheless, it is likely to be most useful when practiced by well-rounded, thoughtful and compassionate individuals. By encouraging these traits in our students we give them the tools to change their world for the better.
  • Tadpole Tails, Cancer and Science Education

    As this story shows, scientific concepts can develop over a long period of time. They can lead anywhere, perhaps into areas of study only remotely related to the original concept. Further, at any point in the development of a scientific concept, one need not know the ultimate destination of the conceptual journey. Likely, there is no end to the journey!