"Analyse more, memorize less - A new approach to teaching challenges students to think like scientists," writes Tom Spears in today's Ottawa Citizen, describing Youth Science Canada's Smarter Science initiative.
"That means the students are challenged to find ways to analyse a topic - by developing hypotheses and designing their own lab work to test them, for example. The teacher then evaluates students on how well they have analysed, and it doesn't matter whether their hypothesis was right or wrong." notes Spears.
Smarter Science provides teachers with a framework, examples, and workshops to support the implementation of inquiry and investigation activities in K-12 classrooms.
Spears writes, "At St. Pius X high school, teacher Kay Stephen brought lemons to her special education class. She let the students look, sniff, taste, and discuss. "We came up with a whole bunch of questions and we finally narrowed it down to one that they really wanted to investigate, and that was whether lemons had any antibacterial properties."A long lab ensued. "The reports these kids came up with me blew me away."
The project, which was officially launched in November 2009, is already active in 50 of 60 Ontario school boards and is beginning to expand across the country, with English and French workshops in BC, Manitoba, and PEI this school year.
Click the link to read Tom Spears' full article.
For more information on Smarter Science, click the link to visit the Smarter Science web site.