Tuesday, October 14, 2014


It is already mid-October in the science classroom and you can find my students in both physics and physical science classes preparing to initiate long-term research projects.  I make the contention that my high school students can complete real research by dong science and become active self-motivated learners. This effort by my students reflect my belief in students' abilities to create their own self-motivated learning experience.

Connecting with students takes an investment by the teacher of time, effort, fortitude and a never ending expression of eagerness to learn.   I find that my biggest challenge is getting students to ascend a steep learning curve with respect to becoming intrinsically aware of their own abilities and of the opportunities offered to them to learn.

My students bring into the classroom aptitudes such as inquisitiveness, creativity and openness to new ideas and are presented with a project-based learning environment that challenges their abilities to solve problems.  I help students by scaffolding for them material resources, peer-supported and team orientated lab designs which contribute toward successful completion of  investigative processes when doing science.

Project-based science is most effective when a teacher's pedagogy lends to the implementation of a growth mind set for learning.  This becomes the best practice for continued student success as students become more self-motivated and take charge of their own learning when they perceive that the teacher is working for them and not at odds with how they perceive themselves doing science.

The accent up the learning curve toward growth orientated thinking begins with the recognition that students abilities are as diverse as is their backgrounds and personal experiences.  It is therefore important to address this, diversity of thought, by differentiating the delivery of the curriculum within the same classroom.  It is not a one-size-fits all.  Opportunities to learn have to be as broad and diversity as are methods humans perceive and employ to solve similar problems.  Long-term research projects, conducted in the science classroom, are well suited to engage and promote this growth orientated thinking and perspective of students.

Everyday in the classroom has to connect and capitalize upon previous efforts and momentum in learning.  The cognitive discourse created by asking questions, probing for greater understanding and communicating findings and outcomes are effective tools used by the scientific investigators and researchers.  Engaging in science projects is the genius of real cognition and real discourse for our students.  Doing science breeds inspiration and innovation that is currently so lacking in our science education programs today.  This is an act of breaking down the disciplinary silos, in conventional education models, and letting the light of acknowledgement into the learning process.  The shear act of displacing the focus of teaching content with teaching learning becomes a vindication for positive change in the 21st century classroom.