If you ask a student if he or she were interested in math and science, statistics say they would more than likely give a resounding no over a yes. However, if you ask them if they are curious, they might be more apt to give a positive answer. A new site, CuriosityintheClassroom.com, capitalizes on this spirit of inquiry that children have by providing engaging learning materials for them, their parents, and their teachers.
Curiosity in the Classroom, a venture between Discovery Education and Intel Corporation, encourages students in grades 6-12 to ask questions and find ways to answer them.
Does our brain store all the memories we’ve ever had?
How many texts does an average teen send per month?
Are robots “intelligent”?
The answers may surprise you, and this website answers all of these questions and more.
This interest in scientific findings is more than just a way for kids to pass the time, it may be essential to their later success in finding employment, a career, and the good of the country as a whole. Resources on the website for teachers include troubling research about students’ perceptions of their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills, which are fields in which the demand is increasing, the unemployment rates are low, and the pay is great.
Other countries outrank the U.S. in math and science, and not just Japan and China. Slovakian students are better mathematicians than Americans, students from Hungary and New Zealand outperform us in math, and the list goes on, according to a CNN report. Not only do we under-perform compared to other countries, we fail ourselves, as proficiency scores of high school students in these subjects consistently rate in the 20 percent range. Research on the teacher portion of the site says that teens believe they are more likely to be on reality TV than graduate with a math or science degree. The need for interest in math and science is decidedly critical.
Curiosity in the Classroom provides lesson plans for teachers and videos and web links to go along with them. “Profiles in Curiosity” are biographies for students and teachers to inspire them by looking at the lives and accomplishments of scientific visionaries such as astronauts, web entrepreneurs, and researchers.
A critical link in the advancement of learning, the parents, are not forgotten on the website. Their space includes links to episodes of the “Curiosity” television series with family discussions based on each and ways to encourage curiosity in their children.
Curiosity is essential, and a little guiding students in the right direction can do wonders for their future wellbeing.