Memorizing is out, thinking like a scientist is in, thanks to Michigan’s proposed new science standards, reports Lori Higgins in the Detroit Free Press.
Instead of “memorizing the ins and outs of life cycles, photosynthesis and matter,” Michigan students will “ask questions, investigate, analyze data, develop evidence and defend their conclusions,” writes Higgins. “In short, they’re going to have to think, act and learn like scientists.
What does this mean? Projects.
“There’s a lot more hands-on activities, a lot more getting your hands dirty, trying things out, taking the core ideas and scientific and engineering practices and putting them together,” said Brian Peterson, a fifth-grade teacher at Musson Elementary in Rochester Community Schools.
Take a popular balloon rocket experiment, he said. Nowadays a teacher might give students the basic materials (a balloon, string, straw and tape), then step-by-step instructions. Under the new method, a teacher might provide kids with different sizes of balloons, different lengths of straws, and different materials for string, then turn them loose.
The kids design their own balloon rocket — then defend why they made the material and size choices they did.
“Scientists think like scientist because THEY #$%@! KNOW SCIENCE!,” writes Robert Pondiscio on Facebook.
This isn’t new. In The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill promised Iowans their sons would learn to play music via the “think system.”