We’ve heard the same story for years now: American students are falling behind in the sciences and becoming less competitive in the global workforce. But what can we do about it?
It seems that teachers and parents can agree that this is, in fact, happening — but where we struggle is finding ways to close the gap and really get kids to excel again. Nearly a quarter of American parents believe that their child’s school doesn’t place enough emphasis on science curricula. But is it really a lack of emphasis that’s occurring or a lack of resources? Or simply that a variety of approaches are called for in order to get kids to better engage with the subject matter?
Ben Mardell, Ph.D. and researcher with Project Zero at Harvard University, believes that kids need to have better access to hands-on learning techniques. “Kids learn through all their senses, and they like to touch and manipulate things.” Research suggests that this method of learning helps kids not only to engage better with the subject matter, but to help them retain the information with better clarity and for a longer amount of time. For example, engaging in a simple, hands-on task, like doodling or cutting out shapes, prevents restlessness during a learning experience.
Lynn D. Dierking, interim associate dean for research at Oregon State University’s College of Education, says, “Hands-on learning can be exceedingly powerful. What these opportunities do for children and adults is they help them understand at a deeper level some of the things that they have learned.”
Teachers on the ground agree. Paul Revere Elementary teacher Jessica Huang said in an interview with NPR, “When [my students] explore, they’re excited. They find things they are interested in.”
So if you want to get your students to engage with and retain material, the answer is simple – give them hands-on activities! We at HMNS want to help, which is why we have programs like Science Night where our outreach programs come to your school and help kids get excited about science!
With Science Night we bring the museum to you with fun interactive activities:
And choose from the following activity stations:
How Much Is A Million
Butterfly Life Cycle
Shaving Cream Marbling
Venomous vs. Poisonous
To learn more, download our flyer here.
Click here to book Science Night today!