One of the biggest challenges for elementary, middle, and high school teachers is keeping students engaged in learning. This becomes even more complicated when the subjects of science and engineering are taught. According to a study completed by Kaplan Early Learning Company, about a third of all elementary students lose interest in science and engineering by the time they are in the fourth grade.
Part of the reason for the disinterest comes from students not understanding how science and engineering relate to their daily lives. As students become older, they start to consider their future career options based upon their personal interests and the subjects they prefer at school. By the time students reach high school, students start to disregard these subjects because they do not see the value of learning them, in regards to their career choices, unless they are interested in becoming a scientist or engineer.
Overcoming these learning obstacles is further complicated by school budgets, teacher-to-student classroom ratios, and other political factors. Elementary and secondary educators often complain they lack the necessary tools and resources to properly teach students about science and engineering. As a result, fewer students are selecting careers in science, mathematics, and engineering fields. This is creating a shortage for these high-value jobs, which is expected to continue to grow as the demand for engineers and scientists continues to increase well into the next decade.
Keeping students interested in science and engineering starts by making the subjects more interesting and fun. Instead of lecturing to students about a specific science or engineering topic, turn the lesson into a hands-on exercise. For instance, if an elementary class is learning about our solar system, have the students build a model using poster board, cotton balls, and other materials. If the topic is learning how plants absorb water, create a science experiment where students put white carnations into a cup of water mixed with food coloring.
At the high school level, hands-on instruction can still be used to teach students, as well as focusing the learning on subjects the students like. For instance, most teenagers like video games. Both engineering and science are used to develop modern games. Challenge the students to take their favorite video game and discuss where engineering and science would be used for the game’s development, and record their findings in student notebooks. You could also seek out a professional video game developer, and ask him or her to come in and speak to your class about how science and engineering relate to their career.
When students can see how science and engineering relate to their daily lives and the things they enjoy doing, they are going to be interested in learning more. You can supply your students with the same types of engineering notebooks and scientific notebooks scientists and engineers use, to further create interest in science and engineering. Order the notebooks you need for your students today, from Scientific Notebook Company, by calling 800-537-3028.