Science education in the 21st century provides opportunities for teachers to connect the knowledge and skills of the science academic content standards to their students’ real world. Students’ worlds can be as close as the inside of their home to as far away as the other side of the world through use of the Internet. Real-world connections are as diverse as understanding what generates the energy of a sports car, discovering the depths of the sea, to exploring the vastness of space.
The world of science is changing. All learners – children and adults – are flooded with data that must be absorbed, filtered and organized and then used to make informed decisions. Showing learners how to navigate their way through data, discern valid and reliable information, and render the data useful requires a deliberate and concerted effort. In the past, learners with rich agricultural backgrounds came to school with firsthand knowledge of life cycles, cycles of the moon, topography and simple machines.
Today, the challenge lies in providing enriching experiences for those students lacking opportunities related to science and connecting each student’s background to a meaningful classroom experience. Teachers who know how to motivate students, who know how to connect the content to the student’s world, can succeed in raising students’ science academic achievement. Connections made through application of science knowledge, skills and effective classroom instruction can contribute to the goal of narrowing the achievement gap and improving students’ academic success.
It may be an educator’s challenge, at any level, to provide learning opportunities that ignite students’ enthusiasm for science. Students can play an active role in learning when science inquiry and investigation occurs both in and outside the classroom. Links to the student’s own experiences will strengthen the connections between the classroom and life outside the classroom. Such active learning opportunities and instructional methods can be aligned with the Ohio science academic content standards.
Real-world connections through science literacy is important to the understanding of science which can offer personal fulfillment and excitement for all. Americans are confronted increasingly with questions in their lives that require scientific information and scientific ways of thinking for informed decision-making. The collective judgment of our people will determine how we manage shared resources – air, water, and land such as national forests (National Research Council, p. 11). The world we live in has been shaped in many important ways by human action. We have created technological options to prevent, eliminate, or lessen threats to life and the environment and to fulfill social needs. . Many parts of our world are designed – shaped and controlled, largely through the use of technology – in light of what we take our interest to be. ” American Association for the Advancement of Science, p. 181. Science helps in solving problems and understanding the world.
Create links between each learner’s needs and his or her interests. Making Real-World Connections •Provide opportunities for students to collect water samples from a nearby stream for monitoring purposes. •Discuss current events, topics that relate to and link with the science standards through newspapers, journals and other valid and reliable resources. •Invite professionals from a local business or industry to discuss and describe what they make, what they do and the science involved in the process. Investigate the physics behind sports, such as the way the ball is shaped, its composition and how these factors effect speed and direction. •Explore the science demonstrated in the entertainment industry: the science behind special effects, discovering science for designing and building robots, and making machines that move from junkyard finds.