Suppose you are looking at your community calendar and you see two events that you could attend with your children. The first is
an opportunity to do some supervised
experiments at the local community college. The second is a debate about whether or not we should use genetically-modified;foods.;For;most;children,;the
interesting. As a parent, however, you
want them to attend the one that will end
education. Which do you choose?
Based on several studies, the debate
will impact your children’s education
more profoundly than the chance to do
some experiments. Just three years ago,
Dr. Jonathan Osborne, professor of sci-
ence education at Stanford, published
an article in the journal Science entitled,
“Arguing to Learn in Science: The Role of
Collaborative,;Critical;Discourse.” 1 In the
article, he reviewed several studies that
nesses of different methods of science
education. In the end, the studies agree
that the best way to help students learn
and remember science is to present it in
the context of a controversy.
For example, in a series of experiments,
They found that the students who partici-
pated in the activities involving argumen-
tation were the ones who best learned and
remembered the material in the lesson.
Those involved in the group projects were
second, and those involved in the experi-
ments were dead last.
Does that surprise you? As someone
who has taught science at many different
me. Doing experiments can be valuable
in science education, and group projects
can also be valuable. However, if you re-ally;want;to;hold;the;students’;attention
and make a lasting impact, give them
something to debate. Show them two
sides to an issue, and discuss how the
their minds in a way that no other educational activity ever will.
Making Learning Stick
By Dr. Jay L. Wile
engage their minds in a way
that no other educational
activity ever will.