Touching souls: Using Science as a Tool for Empowering Children

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will end up somewhere else.”

What are the goals of Science Education? In most countries these goals are determined by the authorities.
A survey of Science Education Programs indicates that since the 1950s the main goal has always been to teach scientific content and skills to achieve scientific literacy: "…what students need to know, understand, and be able to do to be scientifically literate at different grade levels)"U.S. National Science Education Standards).

In my mind, sometimes we have to look just a little further in the past to see that there are alternative approaches. For example, Albert Einstein once said:

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.  Most teachers waste their time by asking questions that are intended to discover what a pupil does not know, whereas the true art of questioning is to discover what the pupil does know or is capable of knowing”.

This approach embodies the need to transform Science into an empowering tool of our children.
Quoting John Tyndall (1820-1893):
“Regarding the education of the human mind as the improvement and development of the mental faculties, I consider the study of Physics to be a means towards the attainment of these objects. Of course, from this point of view, I degrade Physics into an implement of culture, and I mean to do so, to a great extent”.

Aiming to degrade Physics into an implement of culture , I developed a novel educational approach called "Active Science". In this approach, science is used as a tool to assist children in achieving their full potential. This includes, but is not limited to, the development of their creative and intellectual, investigational outlook, and inter-personal relationships. Nothing less than "full development" will be good enough.

"Active Science" provides an open, free and encouraging environment which allows the mind to play. Through this “mind playing”, students experience how to connect the apparently unconnected and to develop the ability to surprise.
In "Active Science" we don’t deal with Physics, Chemistry and Biology as separate (and disconnected) subjects. Instead, we choose context-rich, multidisciplinary themes where children will be motivated to empower their mental faculties and creativity skills. By combining the themes of sciences with those of the arts and creative disciplines we are able to reach a deeper, more elaborate way of thinking. I.e.:

 

•         Science and Music

•         The Science of Toys

•         The Art of Measurement

•         The environment and us

•         Lights, Shadows, Color and Photography

•         The connections between Astronomy, History, Arts and Culture…

 

It is important to accentuate that "Active Science" is transportable and could be easily adaptable to different environments and cultures. Therefore, the “Active Science” approach is spread in regular classes when science teachers use our methods and approaches to increase motivation and students’ involvement. We evaluate the processes and results on a regular basis through documentation, reports, questionnaires and interviews.

After ten years of implementation and continuous development and evaluation I can say this: By using Science as a tool to empower children, we can touch children's souls and produce a significant educational impact on their lives, changing the very way they think and perform in different areas and situations. 


Dr. Oved Kedem
Davidson Institute of Science Education


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