Designing Educational Models for Learning Science
Embracing the Realities of the World in the 21st Century
By Greg Reiva, Streamwood High School, Streamwood, IL
Designing new educational initiatives, through project-based models for learning strategically places rigor, relationships, and relevance into the science curriculum and emphasizes the integration of three important aspects in human development; critical thinking, creativity and cooperation. Project-based models for learning science can be achieved through a three-tier pedagogical approach to education in both the primary and secondary grade levels.
Initially, long-term research projects in the science classroom, investigating the problems and solutions needed to mitigate climate change helps students to develop scientific investigative abilities that will help them to champion sustainable ways of living their lives. This problem solving mindset motivates students’ to engage and embrace a commitment to the consumption of renewable resources, to the development of hydroponic systems to grow food, and to energy efficiency as a means to reduce both demand for energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
The second approach to learning acknowledges the need to provide equity in the educational opportunities provided for both female students and disenfranchised minorities groups in our schools. Project-based learning is an educational investment into a commitment to increase the human capacity of our children to learn and to prosper in the 21st century. Therefore, project-based models for learning become the means to create a differentiated science curriculum that will appreciate and capitalizes upon the abilities, talents and skills that all students bring with them to school every day.
The final aspect of project-based models for learning is the commitment to the research and avocation for the development of carbon-free sources of energy. This effort, to reduce the carbon footprint across the board, embraces all of humanity. It is the epicenter of new and dynamic 21st century science curriculum initiatives that tap into new teaching strategies and methodologies, new technologies and a greater awareness and understanding of brain development and how students learn. This focus upon energy and its transformation into light, heat and work is addresseed through a cross-disciplinary methodology that promotes deep understanding and commitment to solving problems in the science classroom. This educational experience provides the rigor and resiliency that students need as they adapt and develop to becoming inquisitive and learned problem solvers.