The importance of a science-based education

The importance of a science-based education

When children learn to think as scientists do — by questioning things and considering new approaches — they gain independent thinking skills that can help them develop into savvy consumers, voters and citizens.

When children learn to think as scientists do — by questioning things and considering new approaches — they gain independent thinking skills that can help them develop into savvy consumers, voters and citizens.

by Marilyn Eisenberg — 

Why is science education so important for every child? All children need the knowledge and skills that constitute what is known as “science literacy” — the ability to make sense of the world around them. By helping kids learn how to observe, collect evidence and draw conclusions, science helps students sharpen their thinking about the ideas and events they encounter in everyday life.

A strong science foundation helps students understand and appreciate our world. When children explore and learn how the world around them works, they gain a better understanding of, and appreciation for, nature and the interdependence of living things and their environments.

Science knowledge provides a healthy dose of skepticism. When children learn to think as scientists do — by questioning things and considering new approaches — they gain independent thinking skills that can help them develop into savvy consumers, voters and citizens.

Scientific education promotes strong communication skills while teaching collaboration and conflict management. Whether by working on independent science projects that require written or oral reports, or through group experiments — involving discussion and debate, cooperation and consensus — students must employ effective communication skills when reporting on their research. Communication abilities can foster creativity and translate into effective personal relations and business presentation skills.

Children who study science develop research skills. Students learn through science how to arrive at hypotheses, collect data, test assumptions, study prior research, look for patterns, communicate their findings to colleagues, write articles, make presentations and conduct further testing — skills all crucial for success in school and work.

Science education produces more responsible citizens. Students who have learned to think critically and have a healthy dose of skepticism can better make their own informed decisions. This makes them more enlightened, informed voters and stronger consumers. The sense of responsibility and caution that science provides — along with an understanding of how things work (be they chemical reactions, human development or nutritional needs) — can help future parents provide safe, healthy environments for their children and be more responsible pet owners and neighbors.

An emphasis on science education helps build a strong economy. The communication, research, reporting and collaboration skills that science education provides can produce a generation of individuals better prepared for any career. They can make greater contributions to society. Students who have knowledge in science will later be more open to emerging technologies and ideas that can boost businesses and stimulate the economy.

Science education contributes to global health. Scientific achievements have led to longer, healthier, better lives. A generation that understands, honors or celebrates past achievements will welcome future discoveries and inventions to improve physical and mental health. A healthier society means a more productive society.

Finally, science education contributes to informed decisions that impact the world. By emphasizing and explaining the dependency of living things on each other and on the physical environment, the study of science fosters an intelligent respect for nature that can inform decisions about using technology to improve the world for all living things.

 

Marilyn Eisenberg, MFA, is director of public relations and marketing for The Sonoran Science Academy, in Phoenix, Ariz. 602-244-9855.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.

, ,
Web Analytics